Share This Episode
Summit Life J.D. Greear Logo

Jesus Was a Charismatic?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 7, 2021 9:00 am

Jesus Was a Charismatic?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1093 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 7, 2021 9:00 am

The word “charismatic” has very strong connotations for Christians today, and it can be extremely divisive. But Pastor J.D. reveals what the Bible really says about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers.

Baptist Bible Hour
Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
More Than Ink
Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Jesus and the apostles were charismatics. And if you really understand the word charismatic, you'll see that it is impossible to be a genuine follower of Jesus and not be a charismatic, at least in some sense. Now there's going to be variations on what we think that looks like in action, but essential to being a Christian is operating in the power of the Spirit. The word charismatic has some strong connotations for Christians, and it can be extremely divisive.

But the question we should ask is why? Today on Summit Life, pastor, author, and theologian J.D. Greer gives us clarity on this issue, revealing what the Bible really says about the important role of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers.

It's part of our new teaching series called Rushing Wind. And if you'd like to catch up on any of the previous messages, you can listen online free of charge at But for now, let's dive into today's message. Here's pastor J.D. If you have your Bible, I would invite you to take it out and open it to the book of Luke. We're going to be between there and Acts, and we are tracing a theme here through the Bible that is exhilarating and that is exciting, at least to me and I believe to many of you. One of the reasons that Jesus died on the cross was so that you could be filled by the Spirit.

And so this is very important, this topic that we are discussing. I asked you a few weeks ago how many of you lean more toward the charismatic side, and then I also asked how many of you are more, you know, a little less on the charismatic side. And some of you were courageous enough to raise your hands and pick a side, but a bunch of the rest of you looked around nervously at what everybody else was doing to get kind of the general consensus of the room before you chose a side. For those of you that did raise your hand about being a charismatic, or maybe your hand was just still up, you know, kind of from worship or whatever, but for those of you that did raise your hand, I have very good news for you, great news in fact, and that is that Jesus and the apostles were charismatics, all right? So I'm going to try to show you that today, and for the rest of you, I'm going to try to show you that if you really understand the word charismatic, you'll see that it is impossible to be a genuine follower of Jesus and not be a charismatic, at least in some sense.

Now, there's going to be variations on what we think that looks like in action, and we're going to talk about those in weeks to come, but essential to being a Christian is operating in the power of the Spirit. Now, some of you immediately, when I start talking about this, you're like, charismatic, what are you talking about? The word charismatic comes from a Greek word, charismatic, which means simply a gift of grace.

A charismatic is one who operates in the gifts of the Spirit. Now, the word has become associated today in kind of our common parlance with one stream of the church, one type of church that is characterized by really emotional Christians and really emotional worship, you know, people raising their hands all the time, and I know that for some of you that are not from that kind of background, that might freak you out a little bit, and you're like, I don't know if that's me, and you come here, and there's people with their hands in the air. I understand I came out of a very traditional Baptist background, and that wasn't something that we did at my church.

In fact, I've told some of you this before, but my first experience after God had called me into ministry being in a non-Baptist context, I was speaking at this, I think it was a prayer conference, and there were a couple hundred people there. I was really young, a couple hundred people there from different denominations, and there was a woman in the middle of my talk about three rows back. I noticed she kept getting this pained look on her face and kept putting her hand up like this, and I kept looking at her thinking like, she's got a question, you know, but this is a really inappropriate time to ask a question because I'm in the middle of a sermon, you know, and so I'm looking at her, I'm like, what's wrong with this lady? And then, you know, this pained look, I was like, is she, does she disagree with what I'm saying? Does she want to raise her hand and challenge me?

Does she have gas? I'm just not sure what's going on. So finally, I probably, I was really irritated, I finally stopped and said, what?

You know, do you have a question or whatever? And she got this, just this ghostly white face, this look on her face, and then it just occurred to me, I was like, you idiot. She was, she's a charismatic, that's the way that she says amen.

She raises her hand like that, that's what she was doing, she was testified. So I know that that confuses some of you, and that's what you think when we say the word charismatic. For some of you, you know, the word has scary connotations that go with it. A lot of times that's what we associate, you're like, charismatic, those are, you know, people that do crazy stuff, we're like, you know, we're gonna be pulling out the snakes here in a minute.

For the record, just so you know, we do not do that at our church, so if you brought a snake this weekend, you keep it in the bag, all right, because we are not going there. That is unfortunate that the word has really been regulated to only one stream of the church, because every Christian is supposed to move and operate in the power of the Spirit. Now we might, again, come to disagreements about what that looks like exactly in action to be charismatic, but whether or not we are supposed to be charismatic is not in question. So when I say that I want all of you to become charismatics, I do not mean, okay, that you're gonna all go out and get a Benny Hinn tattoo and a charismatic haircut, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not saying that at all, all right, I'm not talking about you necessarily learning how to speak in tongues, that's not the goal of this series. What I do want you to do is discover the power that God has made available not to a select group of you, but the power that God has made available to all of you, because there is an extraordinary power, a stream of power that runs throughout the Bible that I want you to be able to tap into so that whether you're parenting your children, loving your spouse, sharing Christ with the person you work with, or learning how to deal with sin in your own life, you are not facing this on your own, you are tapping into the limitless power of God that is at your disposal.

That is what it means to be a charismatic. Again, don't associate it with the way we painted it in one stream of the church, it just means that we live and move in the power of the Spirit. Today what I'm gonna try to show you is that Jesus operated in the power of the Spirit. The Gospel of Luke, Luke goes to great lengths to show you that. Every Gospel, every one of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are obviously about the same character, Jesus, and they all tell the same story and they don't disagree with each other, all right, so they're all, you know, telling the one story, but every one of the Gospels has different themes that they will bring out about Jesus.

Think of it like a diamond, you know, that you're kind of turning the diamond and you're looking at it through a different angle. One of the themes that runs through the Gospel of Luke is that the miraculous stuff that Jesus did, the source of his power was the Holy Spirit. Now I know that a lot of you hear that and your initial reaction is, well, I thought the source of his power was the fact that he was God.

Yes, but Luke goes to great lengths to show you that a lot of the miraculous stuff that he did, whether that's healing, seeing in the people's hearts, preaching and praying with power, resisting sin, that he did in the power of the Spirit. Let me really quickly take you to whole crush depth in theology. You know what I mean by that? We'll take the submarine down deep.

Just hang with me for about two minutes. And this is a very deep concept that is going to make some of your head hurts, but it's very important in understanding what we're talking about this week. The Bible teaches us in places like Philippians 2, something called the kenosis. And what it means literally is the emptying. And it means that when Jesus was on earth, he emptied himself, Paul says in Philippians 2, of access to his godness. Now that didn't mean that he ceased to be God.

It just means that at times he limited himself, he limited his access to his God power. So in other words, Jesus was not sitting around in middle school every time a question was asked thinking, well, I know the answer to that one because I'm on this shit. Jesus was not a baby in the crib contemplating, you know, quarks and the nuances of particle theory in physics. That's not what he was thinking when he was in the crib. He was thinking in the crib baby thoughts. And he was thinking when he was in middle school, sinless middle school thoughts.

Now, some of you didn't know that was possible, did you? Yeah, but Jesus did it. Because he limited his access to his godness. That's why Luke 2 52 says, for example, that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. You ever read that verse and think about like, how could God grow in wisdom? I mean, God is infinitely wise. The only way that verse makes sense is if you understand that Jesus had limited his access to his infinite wisdom, therefore he grew in it the way that you and I grow in wisdom. Or when Jesus makes a statement like the one he does in Matthew 24 36, when he says, I don't even know the day or the hour of my return.

Only the father in heaven knows that. You read that and you're like, well, wait a minute, how could God not know the time of his own return? That's because Jesus had limited access to that knowledge. He limited himself and that's what we call the kenosis.

So here's the question. If Jesus limited access to his godness, how did Jesus do a lot of the things that he did? How did he overcome sin, for example? How did he resist the devil? How did he do miracles? How does he see right into people? How does he have such communion with the father that he always knows exactly what to pray and exactly what to say at just the right moment? And Luke's answer is the power of the spirit. And that is great news for you.

Let me tell you why. Because you weren't born the son or daughter of God. None of you in here were virgin born.

Your parents told you were, they were lying to you. You're sinful, just like me. Jesus did not do what he did in the power of his own godness. He limited his access to that. He did it in the power of the spirit.

That's the same access, that's the same power that you have access to. You see, Luke wrote the gospel of Luke and he also wrote what other book? What other book? He wrote the book of Acts, that's right.

And they actually go together, it's kind of one unit. And what Luke does in Luke and Acts is he draws these parallels between the experiences of Jesus and the experiences of the early church. And he shows you that both are experiencing in strikingly similar ways the power of the spirit. Now it doesn't mean that everything that one did the other did, the church didn't die for the sins of the world the way that Jesus did. But what it does mean is that they were both operating in the power of the same spirit.

Some of you may never have seen this, honestly. Because you think of Jesus as primarily the one who died as a substitute for sins. And that is what he is, of course. But before he died as a substitute for sins, he also lived 33 years before he died. And there's a lot of things in those 33 years that we're supposed to learn from.

And a lot of times we just completely overlook that. Then we jump right to his death. Right? Now, his death is important. Don't hear me taken away from that at all.

Right? His death is the most important thing about his life. But if his death enables you to live, his life shows you how to live. And so what I want you to see is I want you to see some of these parallels between Luke and Acts.

Because what Jesus was doing, he was leaving as an example and as a model to you. And I'm going to try to show you that. Before I take you into this, I feel like I need to review, or at least clarify, what we introduced a couple weeks ago. And that is the doctrine of the Trinity. Now, again, we just touched on it. But so many people struggle with this. And they get it so wrong. So let me just review it again or clarify it with you.

Could we do that for a second? The doctrine of the Trinity is that there is one God who has existed eternally in three persons. Now, people come up with all kinds of analogies to try to explain this. I heard a number of these when I was growing up in Sunday school, by well-intentioned people, by Christian people. But the analogies, while they might on some level be helpful, usually the analogies that we use for the Trinity do as much to mislead as they do to clarify.

I'll give you a few of my favorite heretical examples that you've probably heard, too, okay? God is like water. Because water can exist as steam. He can exist as a liquid. And it can exist as ice.

So it's gas, liquid, solid. Therefore, God is like water. No, God is not like water because water does not simultaneously exist as steam, as liquid, and as a solid. What you've just done with that analogy is you've taught the heresy that we call modalism. Modalism is God changes forms. God's like, hey, today I'm the Father God. I'm executing wrath.

And now I'm going to put on my diapers, and I'm going to go as a baby. And then now I'm going to be the Holy. That's not what God does. He exists eternally as three persons.

Here's another one I've heard. Oh, well, God is like me, JD. I'm a pastor. I'm a dad.

I'm a husband. Three different roles, one guy. God's like that. No, God's not like that. God's not like that. That, again, is modalism. You got him putting on the Father hat, then putting on the Son hat, putting on the Holy Spirit.

That's bad. Or I heard God is like the eye. You ever hear this one? God's like the eye. The eye's got different parts to it. It's got the iris, and it's got the cornea, and it's got the white part.

I think that is the technical name for it, the white part. The sclera, I think, is actually. And only when all three are together is it the full eye. God is like that. No, God is not like the eye because every one of those parts is incomplete without the other ones, right? I mean, Jesus was not a third God and only fully God when he was connected to the other two persons.

He was fully God. So those are all, like, examples that, while they're good-natured, they just do a lot more to, in my view, mislead than they do to clarify. The only analogy that I'm comfortable using is actually a biblical one.

If you press it far enough, it also will break down, but, again, it's a biblical one, so I think we're on safe ground. And that is the analogy of the Word. Jesus is called the Word of God. This is an analogy that the early church picked up. In fact, one of my favorite historical personages, a guy named Timothy I, was the first Christian to ever dialogue with Muslims.

This is like the 7th century or 8th century. And he used this analogy, and I thought this was fantastic. He said, when I feel something I want to tell you about, like, if I want to tell you that I'm cold, then what happens is my mind thinks the thoughts, I'm cold, I form them into words, I am cold, and then my vocal cords vibrate the air so that it carries these vibrations to your ears, which tell you that I am cold. Now, in the act of your ears picking up on those vibrations, you would never separate out my thoughts, my words, and the vibrations. They're all one act. You would never say, I heard the vibrations that JD's vocal cords made in the air, but I didn't hear JD.

That would be ridiculous. In one sense, they're separate, but in another sense, they're the same. He said, God the Father is like the mind, Jesus is the word, and the Spirit is like the vibrations that carry the word to our ears. Now, again, that analogy, if you press it hard enough, will break down also, but it is a biblical one, so I would counsel you to limit your analogies to that one, and otherwise, just embrace the mystery that is the Trinity. All right, God the Father like the mind, Jesus like the word, the Spirit like that which carries the knowledge to our ears, but there is one God who has existed eternally in three persons. I will tell you what I always tell you.

If your head is not hurt, then you are not thinking about it correctly, because it is something wonderful, and it is mysterious, and it is awesome, because it is God. All right, now, here we go. Let me lay out now for you the case that I told you I was going to lay out, and that is, really quickly, the parallels between Jesus and Luke and the church in Acts, because Luke is doing this intentionally. Now, let me say this also. Some of you, I love it that you take notes. All of you should take notes, okay, but if you try to write down everything I am about to say, you are going to scribble your poor hand off. So, let me tell you that every week I put the full transcript of the sermon, word for word, jokes, lame jokes, all of it, are in the transcript, and I make that available on my blog on the upper right-hand corner.

It is always there on Saturday afternoon. You can have a word for word transcript of what I am about to say or what I said, so I would tell you if you are going to take notes, just write down for notes right now. Just write down the warm and fuzzy things I say.

Whatever makes your heart, you know, feel happy, write that down, and then if you want some of the details that I am about to share with you or that I will skip over, then go back and get the transcript and you can plunge in as deeply with sources. It is awesome, okay? Here we go. Here is the parallels. In Luke, you listening? In Luke, Jesus' birth comes through the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary. Jesus' ministry begins at His baptism when the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in bodily form like a dove.

In the same way, the church is born in Acts 2 through the baptism of the Holy Spirit who descends upon them. Jesus' first sermon, Luke chapter 4, was about how the Holy Spirit had come upon Him to set the captives free. Peter's first sermon was about how the Spirit's power had come upon the church to testify about Jesus. Immediately after Jesus' baptism, Jesus was driven out into the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan, and Luke makes sure to note, he's the only Gospel writer to put this detail in there, Luke makes sure to note that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, right? Acts chapter 4, right after the apostles do all the baptizing, they're dragged in front of the Sanhedrin, which is a kind of temptation, and Acts 4 says they were filled by the Holy Spirit that enabled them to respond to their accusers and to overcome that temptation. In Luke, Jesus gets sent out by the Spirit to travel around Israel preaching the Gospel. In Acts, Jesus tells the apostles that the Spirit will come upon them to take them around the world with the Gospel. Luke draws a number of different parallels between things that Jesus would do in the power of the Spirit and the same identical things that the church would do in the power of the Spirit. Here's a handful of them, okay?

If you're going to take notes, jot these down. Miracles, that'd be letter A, miracles. Now again, let me kind of flesh this out with you a little bit because I think it's a pretty cool thing to see. Luke 5, 17, Jesus heals a paralytic. But in Luke's account of this miracle, he includes the strangest little phrase, Luke 5, 17, and the power of the Lord was present to heal. Now, I used to read that verse and be like, well, of course it was present to heal, Jesus was there. But what Luke is showing you is that there was a power that Jesus would tap into, the power of the Holy Spirit, and when the Holy Spirit's power was there, Jesus would use that power to heal. So there were times when the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to heal. Well, in the same way, in the book of Acts, the power of the Spirit comes upon the church at different times, enabling them to do some pretty miraculous things.

Sometimes it's to interpret tongues, sometimes it's to see into heaven. Paul is able through the power of the Spirit, Acts chapter 13 says, to blind one of the people who's about to persecute him. The Spirit of God teleports Philip across the desert, all kinds of miraculous stuff.

So miracles. Here's your second thing, prophecy. Prophecy, and by prophecy, I mean speaking God's blessing into people's lives, or making God's plans known to other people.

We're going to do a whole week on this coming up in two or three weeks, so I'm not going to get into it really deeply. But what you see throughout Luke is that the Spirit of God comes onto various people, and God gives them wisdom and insight, and they'll speak into somebody's life something God wants them to know. Then you see it happening in Acts. You see, for example, when the Holy Spirit baptizes the church, it says that the first thing they do is they begin to prophesy. And Peter stands up and says, this is what the prophet Joel prophesied about all of you, that you would, the sons and daughters would prophesy. You see all these places throughout Acts where the Spirit of God comes on somebody, and they say, this is what God wants you to know right now. Now I know that some of you are like, oh, miracles, prophecy. J.D., you're starting to freak me out. Are we about to become one of those kind of church, you know, when some of you are like, I got my snake right here in the bag.

I was totally ready for this moment. Keep it in the bag, okay? I'm going to get to that. I'm going to get to explaining more specifically about how we are to react and interact with this, okay?

I promise I will do it in this series, but today I'm just trying to show you a pattern and make one point. This sermon's got one point. Hallelujah, right? This sermon's got one point.

I'm just trying to build up to that point, all right? So A was miracles, B was prophecy, C is preaching. Preaching, Luke chapter four, verse 14, says about Jesus before his first sermon, and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee.

And guess what he does? He preaches a sermon. The same language is used when people in the early church preached. Peter was filled with the Spirit in Acts two, and he preached, and 3,000 were saved. Peter and John, Acts four, were filled with the Spirit, and they preached and defended what was going on in the church. Acts 4 31 says the early Christians were filled by the Spirit, and they went out everywhere, boldly preaching the Word. Acts seven says that Stephen was filled with the Spirit, and he preached a sermon that ended up with him being stoned, not stoned like the drunk sense, but stoned like the rocks coming at you sense. And that sermon was used by God to convert the apostle Paul. Jesus told the apostles, in fact, they were to depend on the Spirit that he preached with when they preached. I shared this verse with you a couple weeks ago. It's one of my favorites as a pastor. Luke chapter 12 verse 11. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or even what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. When we rely on the Spirit, he'll be there. He will teach us what to say and what to do right when we need it. We just need to tune in. You're listening to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D.

Greer. We'll hear the conclusion of this message next week. But in the meantime, you can listen again or catch up on previous messages in this study when you go to This week, we introduced a brand new resource from Pastor J.D. It's a 20-day devotional guide called Rushing Wind, Understanding the Holy Spirit.

And J.D., I know you have a specific aim in mind with this study. So what do you hope that listeners will take away? Yeah, using an interactive devotional like this will help you by directing you just a little bit of time each day to better understand the Holy Spirit. To not just take concepts that you're hearing, but then applying them. I heard one time, Molly, that people forget almost 80% of what they hear in a sermon. Now, I know our Summit Life listeners, they are a cut above.

And they're like, I'm at least, you know, I'm remembering 40% at least, double. That's great. But having something that daily takes you into the Bible and that asks you a couple of reflection questions, and maybe most importantly, leads you to pray the things you're learning back to God, to ask His Spirit for help in applying them. That's what this devotional is designed to do. It covers 20 weeks.

You can take it at whatever pace works for you. Each part is going to have a short scripture passage, a devotional, a reflection, and a prayer prompt to guide you with the goal of creating consistency and facilitating intimacy. Take a look at it at Like JD said, we'd love for you to get in touch with us today. When you call us, you'll have the option of donating to support this ministry so we can continue to equip people with gospel-centered teaching every day on your radio station. When you give at the suggested level of $25 or more, we'll say thanks by sending you Pastor JD's newest resource, our 20-day devotional that's all about the Holy Spirit. It includes teaching from Pastor JD, reflection questions, and a prayer guide for every day. And you can ask for a copy of this book called Rushing Wind, Understanding the Holy Spirit, when you donate by calling 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220. Or go online to And if you don't receive our e-newsletter yet, be sure to stop by the website to sign up. You'll get ministry updates, sneak peeks of our new resources, and Pastor JD's latest blog posts. Sign up today at

I'm Molly Bidevich. Be sure to listen again next week when Pastor JD describes a powerful source that you and I have access to to transform your spiritual life. That's Monday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-17 07:44:55 / 2023-08-17 07:56:28 / 12

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime