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Isaiah 63:8-10 1
8 He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Savior. 9 In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. 10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

clip_image045Background 2

The 66 chapters of Isaiah consist primarily of prophecies of the judgments awaiting nations that are persecuting Judah. These nations include Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Israel (the northern kingdom), Ethiopia, Egypt, Arabia, and Phoenicia. The prophecies concerning them can be summarized as saying that God is the God of the whole earth, and that nations which think of themselves as secure in their own power might well be conquered by other nations, at God’s command.

The judgments, however, are not only against those who persecute Isaiah’s country, Judah. Chapters 1-5 and 28-29 prophesy judgment against Judah itself. Judah thinks itself safe because of its covenant relationship with God. However, God tells Judah (through Isaiah) that the covenant cannot protect them when they have broken it by idolatry, the worship of other gods, and by acts of injustice and cruelty, which oppose God’s law.

Some exceptions to this overall foretelling of doom do occur, throughout the early chapters of the book. Chapter 6 describes Isaiah’s call to be a prophet of God. Chapters 35-39 provide historical material about King Hezekiah and his triumph of faith in God.

Chapters 24-34, while too complex to characterize easily, are primarily concerned with prophecies of a “Messiah,” a person anointed or given power by God, and of the Messiah’s kingdom, where justice and righteousness will reign. This section is seen by Jews as describing an actual king, a descendant of their great king, David, who will make Judah a great kingdom and Jerusalem a truly holy city. It is traditionally seen by Christians as describing Jesus, who was, according to Christian genealogy, descended from David, and who began a non-political kingdom of justice which will one day encompass the whole earth. A number of modern scholars believe that it describes, in somewhat idealized terms, King Hezekiah, who was a descendant of David, and who tried to make Jerusalem into a holy city.

The prophecy continues with what some have called “The Book of Comfort” which begins in chapter 40 and completes the writing. In the first eight chapters of this book of comfort, Isaiah prophesies the deliverance of the Jews from the hands of the Babylonians and restoration of Israel as a unified nation in the land promised to them by God. Isaiah reaffirms that the Jews are indeed the chosen people of God in chapter 44 and that Yahweh is the only God for the Jews (and only the God of the Jews) as he will show his power over the gods of Babylon in due time in chapter 46. It is of much interest to note that in chapter 45:1, the Persian ruler Cyrus is named as the person of power who will overthrow the Babylonians and allow the return of Israel to their original land.

The remaining chapters of the book contain prophecies of the future glory of Zion under the rule of a righteous servant (52 & 54). There is a very complex prophecy about this servant that is written in a very poetic language. Although there is still the mention of judgment of false worshippers and idolaters (65 & 66), the book ends with a message of hope of a righteous ruler who extends salvation to his righteous subjects living in the Lord’s kingdom on earth.

Biblical Truths 3

Here are the places in the Bible in which the three members of the Godhead are mentioned together:

  • Isaiah 48:16; 63:8-10
  • Matthew 3:16, 17; 28:19
  • Luke 1:35
  • John 15:26; 14:26
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
  • 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • Ephesians 2:18; 3:1-5, 14-17; 4:4-6; 5:18-20
  • 1 Peter 1:2
  • Jude 20, 21
A Scriptural Summary
a. Three Are Recognized as God.

(1) The Father is recognized as God. “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7). See also John 6:27; I Peter 1:2.
(2) The Son is recognized as God. “Unto the Son he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8); “We should live soberly, righteously, and godly . . . looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12, 13).
(3) The Holy Spirit is recognized as God. “Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3, 4).

b. Three Are Described as Distinct Persons.

(1) Father and Son Are Persons Distinct From Each Other.
(a) Christ Distinguishes the Father From Himself. “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:26, 27). See also John 5:32.
(b) Father arid Son are Distinguished as the Begetter and the Begotten. See John 3:16.
(c) Father and Son are distinguished as the Sender and the Sent. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). See also John 10:36.
(2) Father and Son Are Persons Distinguished from the Holy Spirit.
(a) The Son Distinguishes the Holy Spirit From Himself and the Father. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16, 17).
(b) The Spirit Proceeds From the Father. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).
(c) The Spirit Is Sent by the Father and the Son. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto von” (John 14:26); “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

c. These Three Persons Are Equal.

(1) The Father is not God as such, for God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
(2) The Son is not God as such, for God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
(3) The Holy Spirit is not God as such, for God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).

Items for Discussion

  • What does the Trinity mean to you?
  • We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, and are worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience. (Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:6-8; Isaiah 63:8-10; Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 12:29; Hebrews 1:1-3; Acts 5:3,4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Revelation 1:4-6)
  • If God is three persons, who raised Jesus from the dead? Jesus Himself, God or the Holy Spirit?
    • The Father: Romans 6:4
    • The Son: John 2:19, 21
    • The Holy Spirit: Romans 8:11
    • God: Acts 3:26; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Acts 17:31
  • Why is it important to discuss the Trinity and to believe in the Trinity?

 

2 Corinthians 13:14
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Background

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he again refers himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and reassures the people of Corinth will not have another painful visit but what he has to say is not to cause pain but to reassure them the love he has for them. It was shorter in length in comparison to the first and a little confusing if the reader is unaware of the social, religious, and economic situation of the community. Paul felt the situation in Corinth was still complicated and felt attacked. Some challenged his authority as an apostle and compares the level of difficulty to other cities he has visited who had embraced it, like the Galatians. He is criticized for the way he speaks and writes and finds it just to defend himself with some of his important teachings. He states the importance of forgiving others, and God’s new agreement that comes from the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3), and the importance of being a person of Christ and giving generously to God’s people in Jerusalem, and ends with his own experience how God changed his life (Sandmel, 1979).

Biblical Truths and Theology 4

Verse 14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. This verse contains what is usually called the apostolic benediction the form which has been so long, and which is almost so universally used, in dismissing religious assemblies. It is properly a prayer; and it is evident that the optative \~eih\~, “May the grace,” etc., is to be supplied. It is the expression of a desire that the favors here referred to may descend on all for whom they are thus invoked.

And the love of God. May the love of God towards you be manifest. This must refer peculiarly to the Father, as the Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned in the other members of the sentence. The “love of God” here referred to is the manifestation of his goodness and flavor in the pardon of sin, in the communication of his grace, in the comforts and consolations which he imparts to his people, in all that constitutes an expression of love. The love of God brings salvation; imparts comfort; pardons sin; sanctifies the soul; fills the heart with joy and peace; and Paul here prays that all the blessings which are the fruit of that love may be with them.

And the communion of the Holy Ghost. The word communion (\~koinwnia\~) means, properly, participation, fellowship, or having anything in common, Acts 2:42; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:16; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 8:4; 9:13; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:9; 1 John 1:3. This is also a wish or prayer of the apostle Paul; and the desire is either that they might partake of the views and feelings of the Holy Ghost–that is, that they might have fellowship with him–or that they might all in common partake of the gifts and graces which the Spirit of God imparts, lie gives love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Galatians 5:22,) as well as miraculous endowments; and Paul prays that these things might be imparted freely to all the church in common, that all might participate in them, all might share them.

Items for Discussion

  • This is the last communication in writing to the Church in Corinth. Why do you think that Paul ends his letter in this way?
    • Think about how the Church was struggling and the benefits of a common belief structure.
  • Can a church exist when people believe in different things?
  • How does the statement of faith that we say in our worship help our church today?
  • A statement of faith is much like a check list. Where do we use check lists in our lives? How does this help us?

Discussion Challenge

  • What happens when a church starts to vary its tenants or principles to suit society’s goals like growth, contemporary style, generational alignment, etc.?
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