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Greg Thomas

United Church of God Pastor

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  • Greg Thomas
    Hi Steve. Thanks for the question. In time, one shows they either love God, or they become His adversary. Nahum 1:2 states, (NKJV) “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies.” It is their obstinate attitude against God that causes this. God is always open to sincere repentance and humility. In Isaiah 66:2 God says… "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. In the book of Psalms, it states over 30 times that “His Mercy endures forever.” An obstinate attitude from the heart is what leads to sin, separation, and ultimately rejection.
  • Greg Thomas
    Reply - Part 4, Stephen, I hope this helps you to understand that your desire to love God and seek His presence in your life shows you have not met the biblical definition of blaspheming or "speaking against" the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your continued faithfulness and love for God! Sorry for the length... but this is an important topic that deserves an explanation.
  • Greg Thomas
    Reply - Part 3, If we allow our attitudes to turn against God's calling and reject His precious "gift" by ignoring and despising it, we too could be guilty of the same attitude some of the Pharisees had during the time Jesus walked on earth. This is what Hebrews 6:4-8 is referring to. It is impossible for someone who has been "enlightened" by receiving the Holy Spirit to reject and despise it ("fall away"), and for them to be renewed to repentance. This is because their embittered persistent attitude will reject any further relationship with God, or even a desire to repent. We must be careful here not to become too judgmental. There is a big difference between a person who has allowed the Spirit to become dormant within them, and someone who has literally rejected the gift of the Holy Spirit. Again, I want to emphasize that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is based on an obstinate attitude from the heart, not a few statements or actions due to temptation or moral weakness.
  • Greg Thomas
    Reply - Part 2, This was not simply a single statement or action of some of the Pharisees, but a reflection of their persistent attitude toward the Son of God and the power that resided in Him. As religious leaders they were held to a higher-level of accountability. Jesus stated in Luke 12:48, "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required." They were in the very presence of the Holy Spirit and the One who shared it with the Father, yet they despised it stating it was Satanic. For that attitude they would be held accountable. I doubt that you have compared or likened the Holy Spirit with Satan. So how does this relate to us? God gives us the most wonderful and precious give He possibly can upon our repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands. It I the "gift" of the Holy Spirit and makes its home within us. As Christ also stated in John 14:23 (NKJV) "Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
  • Greg Thomas
    Reply - Part 1, Greetings Stephen: I am glad to hear that you found the Sermons helpful. Allow me to answer your question with some background first. In 1 John 1:9, John is talking to converted believers who have God's Holy Spirit within them. They are still human like we are and need forgiveness as they continue to struggle with their sins and carnality. This helps us to remain in a loving relationship with the Father and Son. The words by Jesus Himself (Matt 12:32 and Mark 3:29) are a warning not to abuse the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a person, so how can it be blasphemed or "spoken against?" To do this is an affront again the very one who gives and works through the Holy Spirit... God Himself. It is important to remember the context of Matt 12:31-32. A few verses earlier in V24... religious leaders (Pharisees) had compared the power that worked in Jesus to perform miracles to... Beelzebub, Satan himself! Again, this is a deep personal affront to God as the giver of His powerful Spirit to perform Good.
  • Greg Thomas
    Thank you James. I agree with you. During these dark and difficult times, it is more important than ever to focus on positive messages for the people of faith. Yes, there may be the occasional need for a corrective Sermon or world news update... but the primary message to God's people should be the Gospel... GOOD News of the coming Kingdom and their role in that Kingdom.
  • Greg Thomas
    Part 2 reply... Animals that God categorized as unclean thousands of years ago also remain unclean in the future (Rev 18:2). Tithing occurs before the Law of Moses. It is discussed as part of the New Covenant in Hebrews chapter 7. If someone wants to know “what” within the New Covenant remains from the Law of Moses, the answer is rather clear. What did the early church continue to observe after the resurrection and ascension of Christ? What is their example? They also had to make some corrections like discontinuing the need for circumcision (Acts 15). However, this also helps us to understand things no longer required. For example, tassels (Numbers 15:38). It is part of the Law of Moses not mentioned in the New Testament. There is no example of their continuance in the New Covenant. We don’t need them to “remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them.” God has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to do that. Hope this helps to clarify any confusion. Thanks again for your question.
  • Greg Thomas
    Greetings Stephen: Thank you for your question. It is a very good one. In essence, we observe the things you have mentioned because they are part of the New Covenant, observed by the early Church. Please allow me to explain. We observe the New Covenant Passover because Jesus Christ, the messenger of the New Covenant taught His disciples to observe it with new symbols (Matt 26:28), a “foot washing” example {John 13:12), and on a “different evening” that the Jews then… and now observe it. We observe the Sabbath and New Covenant Holy Days because the book of Acts in numerous places shows Paul and others continuing to respect these days decades after the death/resurrection of Jesus. Paul himself tells the gentile believers in Corinth to continue to observe the Passover and spring Holy Days about 25-YEARS after the death/resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 5:7-8). Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV) Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Similar to the 10 Commandments… “unclean meats” were designated before the time of Moses. Noah was instructed to recognize the difference (Gen 7:2,8). He took more pairs of clean animals so they could eat them. See Part 2
  • Greg Thomas

    Thank you for the kind words, Haimanot:
    We do worship a God of "second" chances. I will pray that you can break the cycle, and become a wonderful example for your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to admire.

  • Greg Thomas

    Thank you for the kind words, Haimanot:
    We do worship a God of "second" chances. I will pray that you can break the cycle, and become a wonderful example for your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to admire.

  • Greg Thomas
    Part 2 - Remember in the original Hebrew scriptures there were no chapters and verses. It was one continuous narrative. The previous verses say that Methuselah lived 969 years, Lamech lived 777 years. Faithful people are living a long time, but so are evil people who are perpetuating more and more evil. So Genesis 6:3 may have been intended to be as God’s “promise” that after the coming flood, the human lifespan will decline in a few generations down to about 120 years maximum. Today on earth, there are about 500,000 people ( ½ million) who are 100 years old or older. Yet, the number of people who live to be 120 years old is almost unheard of. No human has lived longer than 122 years old – the age reached by a Frenchwoman, Jeanne Calment, in 1997. Noah is introduced to the story when he is 500 years old (Genesis 5:32). This may be perhaps when Shem was born. The flood came in the 600th year of Noah’s life (Genesis 7:11). That is 100 years, not 120 years. My point is that verses like these are not Fundamental Beliefs or core doctrines. They are interpretations of very ancient scripture. We are best served if we are open to other possibilities. Thanks again for your question!
  • Greg Thomas
    Thank you for your question. This verse regarding the “120 years” has always had two different interpretations. In my 50-years in the Church of God I have heard it explained various ways. Two articles offered by the United Church of God state the following: Title: Lessons From the Flood of Noah – Statement: “The Bible indicates that Noah may have preached to mankind for as much as 120 years before the Flood (Genesis 6:3). “ Title: Bible Prophecy and You, Amazing Examples of Prophecies Already Fulfilled – Statement – “Genesis 6:3 appears to mean that God announced His plan 120 years before the Flood, which would mean that Noah had 120 years to warn people.” Statements like “may have” and “appears to mean” are not very dogmatic. I know that some of our other articles are far more dogmatic about the 120 years referring to the time left on earth before the flood. So why is this? It is because there are other sound interpretations that may also be true. Some Hebrew scholars say the statement about 120 years (V3) is directly related to the verses before it. Please see part 2 as I have exceeded words allowed.
  • Greg Thomas
    Thank you, Jerry: Glad to hear you found it beneficial.
  • Greg Thomas
    Thanks Peggy: I am glad to hear you found the Sermons to be helpful!
  • Greg Thomas
    Thank you Debra: Yes, God has a wonderful plan for all humanity. He also is working out a special plan for your life right now. As Paul wrote, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) I pray that you will have a rewarding and inspiring Passover this year.