The Spirit Of Truth

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When I was 4 years old, I heard my echo for the first time as I yelled “Hello!” to a barn on the other side of a pasture. I was totally convinced that I had a friend in that barn yelling back to me, and I ended up being a bit disappointed later when I discovered that it was just my own sound waves bouncing back to me. 

To my 4-year-old brain, a little friend yelling back from the barn was absolutely true. It was maturity and new information that taught me differently. Isn’t this an ongoing story for all of us? Many things seem true from our current perspective, but then as we get older or smarter we realize that our original belief—what we really believed to be true—is now invalidated. 

Rarely does anyone admit, “I was immature back then,” but we usually try to justify ourselves by saying, “If I would have known back then what I know now….” But the fact is it will always be an impossibility for you to know then what you know now. 

In 1880, Edwin A. Abbott wrote Flatland, a favorite book of Albert Einstein. Abbott was a college-trained mathematician and theologian; in fact, he was actually better known for his theological writings than for this book. In this fabulous little book, Square, who lives in two-dimensional Flatland, cannot perceive height or depth. So what appears to him to be a wall, would merely be a line to you and me. One day Sphere from three-dimensional Spaceland visits Flatland, trying to explain to Square what his world was really like, but Square and his other Flatlanders could never fully grasp the idea. 

When Jesus was interviewed by Pilate, it sounds as though Pilate is missing a “dimension.” Pilate tries to state things the way that he understands them, but Jesus is revealing to him a whole new dimension (see John 18:33-38). The word Jesus uses for “truth” in this conversation means objective truth: something that is always true, regardless of where or when we live. Jesus explained that He as God IS objective truth. Any of our truth statements that aren’t grounded in God are subjective truth statements at best. 

Listen to how John describes Jesus: In the beginning—before all time—was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was continually existing in the beginning co-eternally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life and the power to bestow life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it and is unreceptive to it. (John 1:1-5 AMP) 

Here’s the absolutely amazing thing: Jesus wants us to have this same insight into heavenly dimensions! Jesus said He would ask the Father to send us the Holy Spirit, Whom He called “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:6, 16-17; 15:26; 16:12-13).

The Spirit of Truth…

  • …reminds us of the words of Jesus—John 14:26 
  • …helps us testify to others about the Truth—John 15:26-27 
  • …continually reveals objective truth to us—John 16:12-13 
  • …gives us truthful words to share with other “Flatlanders” who doubt the words of God—Matthew 10:16-20 
  • …and helps us spot and refute the falsehoods of the antichrist—1 John 2:18-27  

[Check out all of these Scriptures by clicking here.]

I love the King James Version of 1 John 2:20—But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. Being baptized in the Spirit of Truth means that you have access to an eternal perspective. You are no longer bound by the dimensions and paradigms of this “Flatland” but you are seeing things from God’s transcendent perspective. 

The unction of the Holy Spirit will allow you to speak THE Truth to a world blinded by the spirit of the antichrist. 

If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series We Are: Pentecostal, you can access the full list by clicking here.

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Christianity & Pantheism

C.S. Lewis at his deskI recently re-read C.S. Lewis′ book Miracles (you can read my full book review by clicking here). As you may have noticed, after reading and reviewing books on this blog, I also like to share some quotes that caught my attention. Doing this with Lewis is difficult because in order to get the context of a particular quote, I think I would have to cite almost a full page or more. So over the next few weeks, I plan to share some quotes from Miracles that require not as much context, or I will provide a bit of background to set the stage.

In this passage, Lewis refers to Flatlanders. This is a reference to a fascinating book called Flatland by Edwin Abbott, in which a 3-dimensional Sphere visits the 2-dimensional world called Flatland and speaks with Square. It was a favorite book of not only Lewis but Albert Einstein as well.

“The popular ‘religion’ excludes miracles because it excludes the ‘living God’ of Christianity and believes instead in a kind of God who obviously would not do miracles, or indeed anything else. … If ‘religion’ means simply what man says about God, and not what God does about man, then Pantheism almost is religion. … The old atomic theory is in physics what Pantheism is in religion—the normal, instinctive guess of the human mind, not utterly wrong, but needing correction. Christian theology and quantum physics are both, by comparison with the first guess, hard, complex, dry and repellent. … The Pantheist and Christian agree that we are all dependent on God and intimately related to Him. But the Christian defines this relation in terms of Maker and made, whereas the Pantheist (at least of the popular kind) says, we are ‘parts’ of Him, or are contained in Him. … Pantheist and Christian also agree that God is super-personal. The Christian means by this that God has a positive structure which we could never have guessed in advance, any more than a knowledge of squares would have enabled us to guess at a cube. He contains ‘persons’ (three of them) while remaining one God, as a cube contains six squares while remaining one solid body. We cannot comprehend such a structure any more than the Flatlanders could comprehend a cube. But we can at least comprehend our incomprehension, and see that if there is something beyond personality it ought to be incomprehensible in that sort of way. The Pantheist, on the other hand, though he may say super-personal really conceives God in terms of what is sub-personal—as though the Flatlanders thought a cube existed in fewer dimensions then a square.”

For other quotes from this book, see Miracles Or “Cheating”? and Miracle And Nature.

Responding To The Voice

FlatlandIn 1880, Edwin A. Abbott wrote Flatland, a book that would later become a favorite of Albert Einstein. Abbott was a college-trained mathematician and a theologian; in fact he was actually better known for his theological writings than for Flatland. Later on Einstein would say that “things should be made as simple as possible, not simpler.” In other words, don’t dumb-down the concept, but state it on a level where more people can grasp it. That’s why, I believe, Einstein loved Flatland.

Flatland is told through the eyes of Square, a two-dimensional shape that lives in Flatland. Square has length and width, but no height. So the inhabitants of Flatland can move back-and-forth, and side-to-side, but not up-and-down. To get an idea of this, put your eye right on the level of a tabletop, and look at an item on the table. Imagine you can only see what is touching the tabletop (but nothing that rises any higher or lower than that), and you will get an idea of Square’s two-dimensional world.

One day Sphere visits Flatland. Sphere is three-dimensional, so he can move up-and-down. This means that Square can only see the part of Sphere that happens to be in his line of sight at that immediate moment. So he sees just a “slice” or “layer” of Sphere as Sphere moves through Flatland. Sometimes Sphere is nothing more than a disembodied voice when he is hovering above Flatland.

This gives us a little bit of an idea of how we perceive God. He exists in dimensions that we cannot fully comprehend, so we only see “slices” of Him as He passes though our line of sight. Sometimes He is just a disembodied Voice—or as the Bible calls Him, the Word of God.

But the Word of God compressed Himself into our dimension (John 1:14). All of the fullness—all of the other-dimension-ness—of His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience came to our “level” in the Person of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:6-7). The Word was the complete and total fullness of God (John 1:1-3; Colossians 2:9). But unlike Square who couldn’t fully know Sphere, God is fully knowable in The Word… in Jesus Christ!

The question is: What are you going to do with The Word? The Word of God (the Bible) allows us to fully know The Word of God (Jesus). But we need to be willing to let the Holy Spirit strip away our puny, smaller-dimensioned, finite thinking of God.

Alvin TofflerAlvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

I would modify this to say, “Those illiterate of The Word (Jesus) are not those who cannot read The Word (the Bible), but those who won’t let the Holy Spirit help them learn, unlearn, and relearn who God is.” 

There is so much more to learn about The Word (Jesus), so let the Holy Spirit guide you in your reading of The Word (the Bible). I pray as Paul did that you will begin to experience more of the multi-dimensional-ness of God as revealed in The Word—

I pray that out of God’s glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

Next Sunday I’ll be continuing my series called Who Is Jesus? I hope you can join me!

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