Making Difficult Choices


How do we make difficult choices and stick with them?


There are many factors involved in a difficult choice, but let’s look at a very important place to start.


Let’s look at Jesus’ instructions in Luke 9:51-62 and learn a very important consideration in making difficult choices.
Luke 9:51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Are We Pilgrims? (vs 57-58)

We used to speak of Christians as pilgrims, people on a journey in a foreign land traveling to a sacred place. Jesus alluded to this aspect of the Christian life when he said he had no place to lay his head. Paul wrote that our citizenship is not of this world (Philippians 3:20). Like the children of Israel freed from slavery, we wander like nomads not yet having reached the promised land. We don’t always know where we are going, but we do know who is leading us. We are wandering nomads but also pilgrims on a journey to a holy eternity, like the ancient Israelites traveled to their pilgrim festivals three times a year to worship God.

What are Difficult Choices? (vs 59-61)

Is everything is either black or white, good or bad? Jesus reminds us that some choices are between two good things. Easier choices are between good and bad. Yet, sometimes we must choose between two evils, like a mother’s death or her unborn baby’s. Another example is Rahab who had to choose between the death of two Israelites and telling a lie, the lesser of two evils. Jesus set before us the choice between several good things, burying a parent versus following him, or saying goodbye to family versus following him. All are good, but one is a greater good. The kingdom of heaven has priority over all other good things that we could be doing. What is our choice?

Can We Choose between Good Things?

Some Christians talk about “family values” as a euphemism for “Christian values.” Jesus seems to challenge that idea. A man wanted to go and bury a parent and another wants to say goodbye to family. They are perfectly good choices. Jesus did not ask them to sever family ties, but used the situation to teach a valuable lesson. Many family values are also Christian values, but they are not always the same thing. A family name can be an idol. A family business can be worshiped as a god. Family relationships can come between us and God. While family is very important, it is God who made family and God is more important. Kingdom values are higher than family values.

Can We Plow a Straight Line? (vs 62)

Not many modern western farmers plow with oxen any more, although some have experiences which indicate a far greater return on investment than expensive farm machinery. One farmer said he was much happier. Older farmers reminisce about farming with horses and tell stories of how to keep a straight line. Just like the story Jesus told, a plowman can’t remove his hand from the plow or take his eye off a marker. To plough a straight line the farmer would choose a tree branch or other marker at the end of the field and stay fixated on that until the row was done. As farmers in God’s field, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and our hands on the plow.

What Priority is God?

Jesus told a story of distractions and the priority we must place in him. Do we squeeze Jesus into our plans or does he shape our plans? Do we allow things to distract us from church? There are many wonderful and even righteous things to be doing in this world. They may not be evil things, but they can distract us from the priority of the Gospel. Most of us spend hours feathering our nests and preparing a home. This too is not an evil thing, but can the comforts of home distract us from the priority of Jesus? Honoring parents has a very high priority in the Bible, but can family distract us from an even greater priority, Jesus?


How do we make difficult choices? A choice between good and evil is easy. Choose the good. When the only choices are between several bad things. We may ask what is the lesser of all the evils. When all our choices are good, we certainly want to start by choosing God first and plowing a straight line to him without wavering.

Freedom from Our Demons


Can we be free in a world of insanity and self-destruction?


Salvation is often seen as only for eternity. But, salvation is also for today.


Let’s examine Luke 8:26-39 and Jesus saving a gentile from his insanity.
Luke 8:26 So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. 27 As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town. 28 As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.
30 Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. 31 The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. 32 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. 34 When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran.
35 People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. 36 Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37 And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. 38 The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, 39 “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Does Evil Possess Us?

From the Old Testament Girgashites, Gerasa is modern Jerash in Jordan, southeast of Galilee, where Jesus found a man who had allowed evil to possess him. We have all experienced a fleeting bad idea. When wrong thoughts fester, they can turn into evil actions. Who will bring us back from the brink of destruction? Evil is a dangerous downhill path towards insanity. We witness it in public among murderous world leaders, terrorists and greedy bankers and industrialists who enthusiastically destroy their families and the environment in worship of money. Not every insane person ends up as a drooling wreck living in a graveyard. The insanity around us is widespread and varied, but there is someone who can heal it, Jesus.

Can We be Free?

Like many biblical stories, the tale of the Lunatic and the Pigs can be broken down into three similar scenes.1 We could call them the struggle, announcement and freedom. A biblical theme is liberation coming from divine resources. In the struggle between worship of dead idols and the living God, God gave Elijah victory over 450 prophets of Baal. God delivered Israel many times from her enemies. In the Gospels, we see Jesus as the deliverer from all human bondage. After deliverance came living free and that involves taking the announcement to others who are captive. As Elijah and Moses announced freedom so do all who have been set free. The free must tell others how to be free.
1Brueggemann, Walter. Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism: Living in a Three-Storied Universe. Abingdon Press. 1993.

What About the Crazy Gerasene?

We don’t often experience demons in our pristine western shopping centers like Jesus did. We isolate the mentally ill in institutions. Ancients blamed mental illness on demons. Moderns blame it on physical causes. Some modern professionals will admit that there is a mysterious and little-understood spiritual dimension to psychopathology. While some mentally ill people are diagnosed as having physically caused organic brain syndromes, others are not as easily explained by the physical alone, such as schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. Southeast of the Sea of Galilee, a mentally ill man lived in a graveyard. Jesus did not make a scientific diagnosis but asked a question, commanded the impure spirits to leave and gave them permission to enter a herd of pigs.

Is There a Spiritual Dimension in Psychotherapy?

Are Bible demon stories ancient ignorance? Carlton Cornett writes that ‘For a professional pursuit that prides itself on its uncompromising search for “the truth” of psychological functioning, psychotherapy has often gone to seemingly absurd lengths to avoid considering the possibility that the spiritual dimension deeply affects human life.’ 2 Jesus made no apologies for his dealings with a man with obvious mental problems. We would perhaps diagnose it today as dissociative identity disorder (multiple or split personality). Some experts are open to the idea of demon possession even arguing for possession syndrome as a separate category of mental illness.3 Rather than dismiss Bible stories like the Madman and the Pigs as fables, perhaps we ought to be more open-minded.
2Cornett, Carlton. The Soul of Psychotherapy: Recapturing the Spiritual Dimension in the Therapeutic Encounter. Simon and Schuster. 1998. vii.
3Spiegel, David. Dissociation: Culture, Mind, and Body. 1994. American Psychiatric Press, Inc. 131.

What about Your Story?

The story of the Crazy Man and the Swineherd is also everyone’s story. We all experience crazy times struggling against wicked forces. From the moment of conception we fight to survive against evils. Success is an up and down struggle against unyielding forces of evil that seek to possess us: steal from your sibling, lie on a test, get drunk, experiment with sex, steal from your boss or employee, lie to your clients, lust after someone else’s spouse or house and cheat your neighbor. In our struggle we have tried to do it alone and failed. Sometimes, we have asked for God’s help and in those moments, we have had a story of victory to tell to the whole world.


It’s a crazy world. To some extent the insanity of our generation has affected all of us. Jesus offers us healing and freedom from all the madness. All we need to do is ask.

A Sinner Comes to Jesus


When we look at people what do we see? Do we see others as a super righteous person might or as Jesus would?


Let’s discover how to see people as Jesus sees them, for the love in their hearts and not for the mistakes they may have made.


Let’s look at Luke 7:36-8:3 and that love that Jesus discovered in a former immoral woman’s heart.
Luke 7:36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” 40 Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.
41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. Luke 7:47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?” 50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
8:1 Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2 along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What May a Forgiven Sinner See? (vs. 36-38)

The polarization between the super righteous Pharisees and sinners is a familiar contrast. We have similar contrasts in our day in politics and religion and the media is well-known for highlighting the differences to make a story. The sinner here is a woman with an immoral reputation. She intrudes where she would not normally be welcomed and performs an extreme act. Do we readily dismiss such people in our world? Jesus did not. Do we not even consider that the need to eat may have driven her into immorality? A Pharisee does not care about the poor, but only about doing what is right according to the letter of the law. What do the woman’s actions reveal about her heart?

What May a Righteous Person Not See? (vs. 39-43)

How can a righteous person lack insight into Jesus’ purposes? There are two kinds of righteousness, a righteousness of the law and a righteousness of faith. The righteousness of the law opposes God’s purposes. The Pharisee asked how could Jesus be a prophet and allow such a woman to perform an act with suggestively erotic overtones? Jesus proves that he was a prophet by knowing Simon’s thoughts. Jesus also saw what Simon did not, a broken heart and tears of repentance. Jesus explained it using the familiar economic system of enslavement to debts which as in our day is not a system based on love. Speaking of forgiving debts, Jesus contrasts the greater love of one forgiven a large debt.

What Kind of Love Can Former Sinners Have? (vs. 44-47)

The woman that Simon wanted to reject had one of life’s most important lessons for him. Is that also true for us? Simon saw the sin. He did not see her love. He did not see the boldness and the gratitude of one who is forgiven much. How would Simon treat the woman from that day forward? Would he continue to treat her as a sinner or as an equal among God’s people? We do not know. The woman’s extravagant love revealed her new life. The Pharisee’s judgmentalism revealed that he had not yet experienced new life. Would he recognize God as one who cancels debts or would he continue to hold others’ sins against them as an unforgiven debt?


When we look at others, do we see what they were or what they are in Christ? How much do we see their mistakes as a judgmental Pharisee might, and how much do we see what God is doing in their hearts as Jesus does?

Is It Too Late?


Who has the authority to give life to the dead? Is death too late for Jesus?


Let’s look at Jesus’ authority over life and death.


We will look at Jesus’ resurrection of a widow’s only son in Luke 7:11-17 and how it is different than other resurrections by other prophets.
Luke 7:11 Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. 12 A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. 14 Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” 15 Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” 17 And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Two Widows

The crowd only saw Jesus to be a prophet. Compare the story of the widow of Nain to the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17)? As she provided for Elijah, the widow of Zarephath and her son were miraculously provided for. Then her son died. Elijah cried out to the Lord and he was restored to life. In Nain, Jesus spoke to the boy with divine authority, “get up.” There is one huge difference between Elijah and Jesus. Both were prophets, but only one was God with us. The author lets us behind the scene by calling Jesus the Lord, which in the Greek Septuagint Bible of the time was the same word used for Yahweh in the Old Testament.

Healing Where We Can

We do not have the gift of healing like Jesus can. He raised a widow’s son from the dead. We would all love to do the same, such things rarely occur. What can we do? We can all heal to some extent, even if not in such spectacular ways. Like Jesus we can notice the pain and suffering of others around us and we can care enough to have compassion. In a world where self interests are the fashion, we are to be different. We have many options to bring healing to a sick world, from encouraging words to personal investment of time and money. While most people just don’t give a damn about the poor and suffering, we must.

Word Power

1. Not Magic

Do words have magical power? The belief that incantations are magic is associated with witchcraft not Christianity. We need to know the difference between magic and the power of God. Since ancient times miracles of manipulating nature, rescues from sickness, death and evil forces are recorded. Some thought that it was the words alone that caused the miracles and developed systems of magical incantations sometimes as scams, sometimes relying on self-seeking occult powers. Luke tells of Jesus reviving a widow’s dead son, but there was more going on than words of a mere incantation. There was divine authority behind the words. Our words can also be empty wishful words of incantation and magic unless we recognize God’s power behind it.

2. Encouragement

Do words have great psychological power? We know that negative words can destroy life just as readily as positive words can give life. Some people just suck the life out of others with their words. It can be disheartening. We may want to avoid them or love them at a distance. On the other hand, have you ever been around someone who just gave you energy, enthusiasm and excitement for life? My grandmother was such a person and I have met many individuals like that throughout life. They are wonderful blessings to be around. We may not all have the wonderful gifts of healing like Jesus did, but we can all encourage. Let us spread healing words wherever we go.

A Healing-Faith Fable

The idea that people are not healed because they lack faith is false. Miracles and healings come from God, but false prophets can also perform miracles (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Revelation 19:20). The difference is in the teaching. Is it false, heretical teaching or true, orthodox Christianity? In some churches people who are in wheelchairs or suffer from uncured diseases have been told that they lack faith to be healed. Is that true or just another fiction from unlearned preachers? In Nain Jesus healed a person who was already dead. What faith can a dead person exhibit? He was not even conscious and therefore unable to ask to be healed. The only criterion mentioned was Jesus’ compassion on a widow.


If Jesus can give life to a dead body, maybe he too can give life to a dead marriage, business, relationship, church, career, and even revive dead hopes and dreams. With Jesus it’s never too late. As God the Son, Jesus has authority to give new life to the dead. Death is not too late. With the same authority that granted a little boy life, Jesus can grant our dead things life including eternal life after our bodies which are wearing out finally expire.

Such Great Faith


The culture and history in the Bible are in the distant past. How can we have faith in God when the stories we read are so far from us?


Let’s understand that distance does not have to diminish faith may enhance it.


Let’s look at Luke 7:1-10 and see how one circumstance of distance was described by Jesus as “such great faith.”
Narrator: Luke 7:1 Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. 2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. 3 So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving,
Jews: 5 “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
Narrator: 6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him,
Friends: “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
Narrator: 9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him,
Jesus: “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
Narrator: 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

What was a Centurion?

First, he was the enemy. Jesus had taught to love our enemies. The Romans had occupied Judea. They were hated for their high taxation and brutality. This may be why the centurion sent a delegation of local Jewish leaders on his behalf, probably thinking that he had no access to Jesus. Secondarily, a centurion was an officer in the Roman army, commanding a century, about a hundred men — sometimes double, even up to a thousand men. Third, this particular centurion was compassionate. He had been kind to the Jewish population at Capernaum and had even funded their synagogue and now he was kind and caring towards his slave. Like Naaman the Syrian, this healing takes place at a distance.

What was the Master-Slave Relationship?

The word translated softly in some Bibles as servant is actually the Greek word for slave. In ancient Rome, slaves were treated as property not people and were often abused sexually, corporally, tortured and could even be executed at will. The upside was that slaves often held high positions such as accountants and doctors. They could own private property and even become freed slaves under merciful masters. Like Naaman the Syrian General who came to Elisha for healing, the centurion responded positively to ministry of Jesus. The centurion’s care of his slave was not universal. We don’t know if his concern was practical or real compassion. It was not uncommon for a genuine friendship to develop between master and slave.

Why the Jewish Elders?

It was common for Jews not to have much to do with gentiles. However, it was often the practice of Roman overlords to adopt the local religion. The centurion’s act of building the local synagogue could also have been a move to gain political favor. The centurion knew he was unworthy, even though the Jews had advertised his gifts and good deeds to them. It was perhaps more than just his gentile status. A soldier often lives with guilt and regrets. He may have been genuinely humble about his personal sins. The elders were probably not supportive of Jesus, but cooperated with the centurion. They thought he was deserving because of the good he had done. The centurion did not.

What was the Centurion’s Faith?

The gentile centurion had the faith that much of Israel lacked. He came boldly for healing not because of who he was, but because of who Jesus is. Our unworthiness does not prevent our right to pray. We pray not because we are worthy, not because of all the good things we have done for the world, but because of who God is. The centurion’s faith was based upon hearing only of Jesus. He recognized Jesus’ authority and trusted it, something that Israel did not. The gentile was a distance from Jesus both culturally and in miles. It was his faith that overcame the distance. How many of us are distanced by others, yet Jesus is there for us too.


No distance or social standing is too great for Jesus to reach into our lives and provide healing. We just need to trust that he has the authority. Faith from a distance is such great faith.

How the Holy Spirit Guides


How can we tell if an idea comes from the Holy Spirit or not?


Many people claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, but we need to test what they say and find out the truth for ourselves.


One place that we can look at is John 16:12-15 where Jesus teaches about what the Holy Spirit’s guidance looks like.
John 16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1. Jesus’ Unfinished Work

Jesus still had many things to say to the disciples, but they could not yet bear it. They would have to wait for the Holy Spirit to guide them into those matters. For example, the conversion of the gentiles would certainly be a shock to some, just as eliminating certain prejudices are a shock to us and we may not yet be ready to receive that truth. What about John 15:15 where Jesus claims that he already taught them all things? MacLaren’s Expositions explains, “There is a difference between principles and the complete development of these.” What Jesus taught would need unpacking. The Holy Spirit would guide Jesus’ disciples into that knowledge. Would the Holy Spirit’s guidance ever end?

2. First Completed in the Apostles

Would the Holy Spirit’s guidance end with those disciples or continue until our day? There is no end-point given. The principles which Jesus taught would need further explanation as they apply to non-Jewish cultures and new generations. The Holy Spirit is a teacher who guides us into all truth. As a member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit is in perfect unity with God the Father and God the Son, teaching what they would teach. The disciples were led into writing the Gospels. We are guaranteed that the Holy Spirit guided that word written down for us. The disciples lived out that divine guidance, beginning with the book of Acts and then through the rest of the New Testament.

3. And Completed in Us

The guidance of the Spirit continues in the Church. Some teachings have been more fully formulated since the New Testament was written. What the Holy Spirit teaches is always consistent with the teachings of Jesus, just as Jesus echoed the Father’s teachings. If the Spirit guides us into all truth, how can sola scriptura (the Bible alone) be our entire source of truth? Perhaps a more logical term is prima scriptura (primarily the Bible) and secondarily tradition which includes the Holy Spirit’s inspiration throughout Christian history. Let’s also add reason and experience, when they are consistent with the Bible. That means worshiping God with our minds, guided by the Holy Spirit and experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

4. Spirit of Truth

In Acts 2 the disciples spoke in foreign languages to make the Gospel plain to others. That was new. What is the Holy Spirit’s purpose today? It is to be with us forever, and teach us everything, remind us of all that Jesus said, to testify on Jesus’ behalf, to prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment, and guide us into all the truth. In our passage He is called the Spirit of truth. His purpose in the early church was to reveal that truth to other languages and cultures. His purpose today is also to guide us into the truth about the issues of our time which were unheard of among those first disciples.

5. Finish Well

King Asa of Judah, great grandson of Solomon, began well. He discouraged paganism and commanded Judah to obey God. When Ethiopia’s million man army threatened war, Asa sought God and won. Later in life, he bribed a pagan king to protect him. Hanani the seer rebuked him for not seeking God’s protection, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." Asa became a "bent" king, got gout, and still did not seek God’s help (1 Kings 15; 2 Chronicles 16). It’s not how we start, but how we finish that counts. Let’s finish well, always seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.


Even if we have been sidetracked by some kind of false ideas, the Holy Spirit will eventually guide us into all truth, if we remain humble and let Him. He is here with us today to reveal to us the things of God. He convicts our faith, leads us to Jesus, helps us reject the world and guides us into all the truth.