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Archive for May 2012

Pentecost

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Tomorrow is Pentecost. Once, God espoused himself to his people through the letter at the first Pentecost. Now he has espoused himself to his people through his Spirit at the latter Pentecost.

Be filled with the Spirit. — Ephesians 5:18

How can we obey this command?

  • We pray for the Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12)
  • The Spirit is the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). Our sin quenches the Spirit and our receptivity to his work: so we are more filled with the Spirit when we pursue holiness and flee sin. Of course, it is only by the Spirit that we pursue holiness, but this is not a cruel irony because God is at work in our working. In other words, we are filled with the Spirit when we submit to him and to his will.
  • The Spirit is the Spirit of the body (1 Cor 12:13, Eph 4:4), and the purpose of the Spirit is to build up the body (1 Cor 12:7). The Spirit is about interpersonal life and ministry. This is an extension of what theologians call the “procession” of the Spirit — the Spirit proceeds between the Father and the Son (Augustine and Edwards describe the Spirit as a sort of personified love), and proceeds to us from the Father and from the Son. But in a lesser way the Spirit also proceeds from us to one another. Because of this activity of procession and ministry in the body, the Spirit is particularly associated with corporate worship. The Spirit kindled the fire on God’s altar and now kindles a fire on us as living sacrifices. The Spirit is particularly active when we gather together before the Lord’s throne on the Lord’s day for corporate worship (Rev 1:10). Putting this together, an additional way that we can be filled with the Spirit is to persevere in being joined to the body, to allow ourselves to be ministered to by one another, and in particular to participate in corporate worship so that we are ministered to by Jesus. We go up to God’s house to meet with our husband, king and commander, and are commissioned by him to go out into the world again, freshly equipped with his Spirit.

Thanks to Anthony and John for prompting some of these thoughts. Picture from Uri Brito.

Written by Scott Moonen

May 26, 2012 at 11:47 am

Posted in Biblical Theology

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Ascension

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Today is Ascension Day, the day Jesus ascended to his seat at the right hand of the Father. Psalm 24 describes Jesus’s ascension in victory and our ascension in worship:

The LORD is King of earth’s domain,
The world and all that dwell therein.
Rejoice, O Zion’s sons and daughters,
For it stands firm by His decrees;
He founded it upon the seas,
Established it upon the waters.

Who shall ascend the hill of God,
Stand in His holy place, and laud
The LORD, who lives and reigns forever?
He who withstands the wicked’s lure,
Who has clean hands, whose heart is pure,
Who keeps his oaths and does not waver.

Rich blessings shall be his reward,
And vindication from the LORD,
Who is the Rock of his salvation.
Such are the men who seek the face
Of Jacob’s God, so rich in grace.
From Him is all their expectation.

Lift up your heads, you arch and gate;
O ancient doors, rise up and wait;
Let Him come in, the King of glory.
Who is that King of glorious fame?
The LORD Almighty is His Name,
He who in battle goes before me.

Lift up your heads, you arch and gate;
O ancient doors, rise up and wait;
Let Him come in, the King of glory.
Who is that King, in glory great?
The LORD of hosts, Him we await.
The LORD, He is the King of glory!

This is from an Anglo-Genevan Psalter. You can hear Michael Owens sing the tune, although I prefer a more lively tempo. There is a great rendition in French at David Koyzis’s Genevan Psalter blog. The versification above is by Wolter van der Kamp.

Written by Scott Moonen

May 17, 2012 at 5:45 am