The Masculinity of the Holy Spirit:

In Greek, the word for Spirit is Pneuma (πνεύμα). It is what is translated into English as the Holy Spirit in the Bible. In Greek, the word Pneuma (πνεύμα) is gender neutral. However, it is referred to by several pronouns in the Greek which are masculine. (John 14:26, John 16:13) This would be grammatically incorrect in the Greek, but it is theologically accurate to the nature of God. The Holy Spirit is a He not an it. The Holy Spirit is not some mystical force like in Starwars, or something that is a part of all creation (pantheism). The Holy Spirit is a person/being. Ephesians 4:30 says that when we sin we grieve the Holy Spirit. You can’t grieve an impersonal force, you can only grieve a person. Additionally, Hebrews 10:29 says you can insult him. You can’t insult a force. We can conclude from the Greek, and from descriptions of the essence of the Holy Spirit that He is a Person not an it.


Pneuma (πνεύμα) is an ancient Greek word for "breath," and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul."


John 14:26 (English Standard Version)

26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 16:13 (English Standard Version)

13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Ephesians 4:30 (English Standard Version)

30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Hebrews 10:29 (English Standard Version)

29How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

The Church : Hospital for Sinners

The Christian church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of Saints. It’s a common misconception for a secular view of a religious establishment to be a place where a bunch of people who think they're good get together to be with other good people. Yet one of the central tenants of Christianity is that everyone is a completely, corrupt, depraved sinner. Anything and everything that has any moral value or of intrinsic good comes down from above. James 1:17 says "Every good and perfect gift comes down from above ... from the father of lights." This is what we in Christ call common grace. All abilities and moral intuition, all true love and beauty is given to everyone and everything for the preservation and enjoyment of the world, pointing back to the creator. All true Christian churches believe that man is evil. Therefore the transforming of Christians into being more Christ-like is a gradual process that begins at the worst and most broken point. By God's grace Christians are transformed from one aspect of glory to another, slowly changing the pattern of their lives to become more Christ-like by a work that is not of their own.

So when society see's the glaring character flaws that exist within the Church, they see rightly, that Christians are completely messed up, jacked up, and fouled up. Just like society is. It's the misconception that the Church should be a museum of Saints, when in reality it is God's hospital for sinners, that causes them to scoff.

Moral Reletivism:

            In our post-modern society, and particularly culture hubs like Seattle, often times there are particular views and ideas which are labeled as "enlightened" or "transcendent." A particularly popular and heeded philosophy is moral relativism.

 As a definition moral relativism is: an action “X” (performed by a particular culture group “G”) is right if and only if the moral norms that are accepted by “G” permit the performance of that action.

With this, the “enlightened” individual is able to make many arguments that on the surface appear to be quite compelling.  The argument must say something like “there are no correct moral norms or principles that are valid for all cultures at all times; but rather only moral principles that are accepted by a culture group at a particular time and that those accepted principles make actions right. Often times this is the basis for an argument that often takes a self-righteous tone of accusing a lesser “enlightened” being of judging where they have no place to judge.

However, when examined, this particular argument has serious logical problems.

1) This argument says that there are no absolute moral norms or principles, or absolute truth. Yet the argument itself makes an absolute claim. In other words, from what absolute vantage point does the moral relativist theory make the claim that there is no absolute truth?

2) This argument gives us no logical way in which societies view’s change. In fact, by definition, a culture’s views should stay constant under this theory. How is it that different cultural principles come about (as is evident that they do)

3) By this theory, what a society believes is right is right, and it’s right because the society believes it is. From this vantage point, the moral relativist must succeed that if one country, call it invasia, had moral principles that called it to invade other countries, it is right for them to do so. By this theory, if it is granted that Nazi Germany as a culture held the moral principle that killing Jews was a good thing, then for Nazi Germany, killing Jews was the right thing to do.

4) Does the rightness or wrongness of an action simply come from what the majority of a culture believes? Is the morality of abortion really stem from just what we believe as a society? I’m not sure this is something that would hear a resounding yes even if you did believe abortion was morally permissible. If it was so, why not put everything to a vote and be done with it?

Works consulted: "Disputed Moral Isssues" by Mark Timmons & "The Reason for God" by Timothy Keller


In light of last week’s discussion, and today’s sermon, I found this text to be helpful in getting a functional definition for idolatry.

Source Text – Death by Love, by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears:

" …Furthermore – and it may surprise you – the opposite of the gospel is idolatry. Idolatry is worshiping someone or something other than God. By worshiping I mean that we make sacrifices (e.g. time, energy, money, emotion, thought) so that we can give ourselves to someone or something because it is our highest priority. Everyone is a worshiper for the simple reason that we are made by God to worship and cannot help ourselves. But because we are sinners, we are prone to worship created things rather than God the creator. Romans 1:25 teaches that this is at the root of all paganism/idolatry, saying, ’They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator." This is a complete inversion of the purpose of our creation, which is to worship God and rule over created things as shown in Genesis 1:26-28.

Martin Luther taught that idolatry is, therefore, not just a sin but
 THE sin that is the cause of all other sins. He went on to argue that the first two of the Ten Commandments bear this out (Ex. 20:1-17). The first two commandments tell us that there is only one God and that we are to worship only that God, which is why we are forbidden from worshiping anything in place of or in addition to the one true God. Therefore, Luther reasons, we break the other commandments and do such things as lie, covet, steal, or commit adultery only as a result of breaking the first two commandments. If we break the first two commandments, we become idolaters who then worship such things as our image, possessions, comfort, and pleasure instead of God.

The reason that idolatry is so alluring is that idols promise to make life worth living, bring us happiness, and provide for us a sense of righteousness. All of these desires are good, bu they become evil when they become our focus rather than Jesus, who alone makes life worth living and gives true joy and righteousness…”

The Pitfall of "Religion"

Source text from “Death by Love” by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears -

The Lie: God loves me (or doesn’t love me) for my works.
– Religion demands that we act in accordance with laws out of fear of guilt. Namely that God will not love you. Or transversely, God will love you if you keep these laws.

This is a lie that I find my flesh constantly trying to fall into. I feel that if I can just work hard enough, or do enough “good” works, then I’ll win God’s favor. However, its strictly unbiblical.

Rom 5:8 " But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

1John4:7-10 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be propitiation for our sins.”

The truth: It is out of God’s love for us that we wish to be like him, to keep his commandments, and love others. Jesus’ love for us frees us from the oppression of works and laws, through his atoning work on the cross. Jesus' work frees us from the tyranny of religion. When we find our Identitiy in Christ, we're given a new heart with new desires which enable us to have the proper response to such illdeserved love. The proper response is devotion for the man who gave himself up for you. So it is now our joy to follow, and listen to Jesus.