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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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To Know Christ

Andrew MurrayAndrew Murray:

Oh my brother, my sister! It is what I ask for you, and it is what I am sure you ask for yourself. I ask it for myself. Lord Jesus! May we know Thee in thy divine glory as the risen One, our Jesus, our Beloved and our mighty One. Oh! if there are any sad ones who cannot take this in, and who say, “I have never known the joy of religion yet”—listen, we are going to tell you how you can. All will center round this one thing, that just as a little child lives day by day in the arms of its mother, and grows up year by year under a mother’s eye, it is a possibility that you can live every day and hour of your life in fellowship with the Holy Jesus. (Andrew Murray on Prayer)

Abiding in Christ

Andrew MurrayAndrew Murray:

Abiding in Christ is just meant for the weak, and so beautifully suited to their feebleness. It is not the doing of some great thing and does not demand that we first lead a holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept—the unfaithful one casting self on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us. It is a work He does for us: the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform. (Andrew Murray on Prayer)

The Ministry of Intercession

Andrew MurrayGod grant that we may learn day by day to pray more consistently. We must pray for others and ourselves. We must give ourselves up to the ministry of intercession. We must pray more for God’s people in general, for God’s people around us, for the Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work of God in which we labor. According to Andrew Murray:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

It is only love that can fit us for the work of intercession. I have said that love must fit us for our work. Do you know what the hardest and the most important work is that has to be done for this sinful world? It is the work of intercession, the work of going to God and taking time to lay hold of Him.

A man may be an earnest Christian, an earnest minister, and a man may do good, but alas! how often he has to confess that he knows little of what it is to tarry with God. May God give us the great gift of an intercessory spirit, a spirit of prayer and supplication! Let me ask you in the name of Jesus not to let a day pass without praying for all saints, and for all God’s people.

I find there are Christians who think little of that. I find there are prayer unions where they pray for the members, and not for all believers. I pray you; take time to pray for the Church of Christ. It is right to pray for the heathen, as I have already said. God help us to pray more for them. It is right to pray for missionaries, for evangelistic work, and for the unconverted. But Paul did not tell people to pray for the heathen or the unconverted. Paul told them to pray for believers. Do make this your first prayer every day: “Lord, bless Thy saints everywhere.”

The state of Christ’s Church is indescribably low. Plead for God’s people that He would visit them, plead for each other, and plead for all believers who are trying to work for God. Let love fill your heart. Ask Christ to pour fresh love into you everyday. . . .

Have you a lack of love to confess before God? Then make confession and say before Him, “O Lord, my lack of heart, my lack of love – I confess it.” And then, as you cast that lack at His feet, believe that the blood cleanses you, that Jesus comes in His mighty, cleansing, saving power to deliver you, and that He will give His Holy Spirit. “The Fruit of the Spirit is love.” (“The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”)

Love is a Demonstration of God’s Power

Andrew MurrayIf the love of God filled our hearts, what a difference it would make! This is the power each Christian truly needs to do the work of Christ. According to Andrew Murray:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

Why are we taught that “the fruit of the Spirit is love”? Because the Spirit of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a revelation of what God can do for His children.

In the second and the fourth chapters of Acts, we read that the disciples were of one heart and of one soul. During the three years they had walked with Christ, they never had been in that spirit. All Christ’s teaching could not make them of one heart and one soul. But the Holy Spirit came from heaven and shed the love of God in their hearts, and they were of one heart and one soul. The same Holy Spirit that brought the love of heaven into their hearts must fill us, too. Nothing less will do. Even as Christ did, one might preach love for three years with the tongue of an angel, but that would not teach any man to love unless the power of the Holy Spirit should come upon him to bring the love of heaven into his heart. . . .

If we want to pray in power, and if we want to expect the Holy Spirit to come down in power, and if we indeed want God to pour out His Spirit, we must enter into a covenant with God that we will love one another with a heavenly love.

Are you ready for that? Only that is true love that is large enough to take in all God’s children, the most unloving and unlovable and unworthy and unbearable and trying. If my vow – absolute surrender to God – was sincere, then it must mean absolute surrender to the divine love to fill me. I must be a servant of love to love every child of God around me. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (“The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”)

Loving Others

Andrew MurrayThe modern church may have many faults, but there is one thing that I think grieves God most, and that is the lack of love. Andrew Murray writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

It is in our daily life and conduct that the fruit of the Spirit is love. From that comes all the graces and virtues in which love is manifested – joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness – no sharpness or hardness in your tone, no unkindness or selfishness, [but] meekness before God and man. You see that all these are the gentler virtues. I have often thought as I read those words in Colossians, “Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering” (Colossians 3:12), that if we had written this, we should have put in the foreground the strong virtues, such as zeal, courage, and diligence. But we need to see how the gentler, the most tender virtues are especially connected with dependence on the Holy Spirit. These are indeed heavenly graces. They never were found in the heathen world. Christ was needed to come from heaven to teach us. Your blessedness is long-suffering, meekness, kindness; your glory is humility before God.

You know what John says: “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another; God dwelleth in us” (I John 4:12). That is, I cannot see God, but as a compensation. I can see my brother, and if I love him, God dwells in me. Is that really true? That I cannot see God, but I must love my brother, and God will dwell in me? Loving my brother is the way to real fellowship with God. You know what John further says in that most solemn test, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John 4:20). There is a brother, a most unlovable man. He worries you every time you meet him. He is of the very opposite disposition to yours. You are a careful businessman, and you have to associate with him in your business. He is most untidy, unbusiness-like. You say:

“I cannot love him.”

Oh, friend, you have not learned the lesson that Christ wanted to teach above everything. Let a man be what he will, you are to love him. Love is to be the fruit of the Spirit all the day and every day. Yes, listen! If you don’t love that unlovable man whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen? You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart, you will love your brother. The fruit of the Spirit is love. (“The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”)

Temper and the Fruit of the Spirit

Andrew MurrayThe fruit we receive from the Holy Spirit is brought to us from heaven out of the heart of Christ and it is first and foremost – love. Andrew Murray applies this to the human temper:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

How often, when we speak about the consecrated life, we have to speak about temper, and people have sometimes said: “You make too much of temper.”

I do not think we can make too much of it. Think for a moment of a clock and of what its hands mean. The hands tell me what is within the clock, and if I see that the hands stand still, or that the hands point wrong, or that the clock is slow or fast, I say that something inside the clock is not working properly. And temper is just like the revelation that the clock gives of what is within. Temper is a proof whether the love of Christ is filling the heart or not. How many there are who find it easier in church, or in prayer meeting, or in work for the Lord – diligent, earnest work – to be holy and happy than in the daily life with wife and children. How many find it easier to be holy and happy outside the home than in it! Where is the love of God? In Christ. God has prepared for us a wonderful redemption in Christ, and He longs to make something supernatural of us. Have we learned to long for it, ask for it, and expect it in its fullness?

Then there is the tongue! We sometimes speak of the tongue when we talk of the better life, and the restful life, but just think what liberty many Christians give to their tongues. They say:

“I have a right to think what I like.”

When they speak about each other, when they speak about their neighbors, when they speak about other Christians, how often there are sharp remarks! God keep me from saying anything that would be unloving. God shut my mouth if I am not to speak in tender love. But what I am saying is a fact. How often sharp criticism, sharp judgment, hasty opinion, unloving words, secret contempt of each other, secret condemnation of each other are found among Christians who are banded together in work! Oh, just as a mother’s love covers her children and delights in them and has the tenderest compassion with their foibles or failures, so there ought to be in the heart of every believer a motherly love toward every brother and sister in Christ. Have you aimed at that? Have you sought it? Have you ever pleaded for it? Jesus Christ said: “As I have loved you that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). And He did not put that among the other commandments, but He said in effect:

“That is a new commandment, the one commandment: Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). (“The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”)

Love One Another

Andrew MurrayBefore Christ promised the Holy Spirit, He gave a new commandment, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV) Andrew Murray writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

When man sinned, why was it that he sinned? Selfishness triumphed – he sought self instead of God. And just look! Adam at once begins to accuse the woman of having led him astray. Love to God had gone; love to man was lost. Look again: of the first two children of Adam, the one becomes a murderer of his brother.

Does that not teach us that sin had robbed the world of love? Ah! What a proof the history of the world has been of love having been lost! There may have been beautiful examples of love even among the heathen, but only as a little remnant of what was lost. One of the worst things sin did for man was to make him selfish, for selfishness cannot love.

The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven as the Son of God’s love. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). God’s Son came to show what love is, and He lived a life of love here on earth in fellowship with His disciples, in compassion over the poor and miserable, in love even to His enemies. And, He died the death of love. And when He went back to heaven, whom did He send down? The Spirit of love, to come and banish selfishness, envy, and pride, and bring the love of God into the hearts of men. (“The fruit of the Spirit is love.”)

The Spirit of Love

Andrew MurrayWithout the fruit of the Spirit, we cannot live a daily life of love. We desperately need to be filled with the Spirit of love if we are to render any service to God or become more like Christ. Andrew Murray writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

Why is a lamb always gentle? Because that is its nature. Does it cost the lamb any trouble to be gentle? No. Why not? It is so beautiful and gentle. Has a lamb to study to be gentle? No. Why does that come so easy? It is its nature. And a wolf – why does it cost a wolf no trouble to be cruel, and to put its fangs into the poor lamb or sheep? Because that is its nature. It does not have to summon up its courage; the wolf nature is there.

And how can I learn to love? I cannot learn to love until the Spirit of God fills my heart with God’s love, and I begin to long for God’s love in a very different sense from which I have sought it so selfishly – as a comfort, a joy, a happiness, and a pleasure to myself. I will not learn it until I realize that “God is love,” and to claim and receive it as an indwelling power for self-sacrifice. I will not love until I begin to see that my glory, my blessedness, is to be like God and like Christ, in giving up everything in myself for my fellow men. May God teach us this! Oh, the divine blessedness of the love with which the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts! “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (“The Fruit of the Spirit is Love”)

To Try to Love

Andrew MurrayMany of us try hard at times to love others. We try to force ourselves to love. And what is the reason? The reason is simply that we have never learned to believe and accept the truth that the Holy Spirit can pour God’s love into our hearts. Andrew Murray writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22 ESV)

You all know what it is to wear a badge. And Christ said to His disciples in effect: “I give you a badge, and that badge is love. That is to be your mark. It is the only thing in heaven or on earth by which men can know me.” Do we not begin to fear that love has fled from the earth? That if we were to ask the world: “Have you seen us wear the badge of love?” The world would say: “No, what we have heard of the Church of Christ is that there is not a place where there is no quarreling and separation.” Let us ask God with one heart that we may wear the badge of Jesus’ love. God is able to give it.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Why? Because nothing but love can expel and conquer our selfishness.

Self is the great curse, whether in its relation to God, or to our fellowmen in general, or to fellow Christians, thinking of ourselves and seeking our own. Self is our greatest curse. But, praise God, Christ came to redeem us from self. We sometimes talk about deliverance from the self-life and thank God for every word that can be said about it to help us, But I am afraid some people think deliverance from the self-life means that now they are no longer going to have any trouble in serving God. They forget that deliverance from self-life means to be a vessel overflowing with love to everybody all the day.

And there you have the reason why many people pray for the power of the Holy Spirit. They get something, but oh, so little! Because they prayed for power for work, and power for blessing, but they have not prayed for power for full deliverance from self. That means not only the righteous self in fellowship with God, but also the unloving self in fellowship with men. And there is deliverance. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” I bring you the glorious promise of Christ that He is able to fill our hearts with love. (“The Fruit of the Spirit Is Love”)

Pursuing Holiness

As you read these excellent comments by Andrew Murray today, I would like to add that one of the best tests of holiness is to find if it produces an increasing humility in you. Humility is needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in you. Counterfeit holiness is identified by its lack of humility. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

And what work do we have to do to receive this holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit? “God bath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. The holiness of Christ becomes ours through faith. Naturally, there must first be the desire to become holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of flesh and spirit by confessing them–giving them up to God–and having them cleansed away in the blood. Then, holiness can be perfected. Then, in belief of the truth that Christ Himself is our sanctification, we have to take and receive from Him what is prepared in His fullness for us. We must be deeply convinced that Christ is wholly and alone our sanctification as He is our justification. We must believe that He will actually and powerfully work in us what is pleasing to God. In this faith, we must know that we have sufficient power for holiness, and that our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day. He gives His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in us to communicate the holy life of Jesus to us.

Young Christian, the Trinity is three times holy. And this Trinity is the God who sanctifies you. The Father sanctifies by giving Jesus to you and confirming you in Jesus. The Son sanctifies by becoming your sanctification and giving you the Spirit. The Spirit sanctifies by revealing the Son in you, preparing you as a temple for the indwelling of God, and making the Son live in you. Be holy, for God is holy.

Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, what thanks will I render to You for the gift of Your Son as my sanctification, and that I am sanctified in Him. And what thanks for the Spirit of sanctification to live in me, and transplant the holiness of Jesus into me. Lord, help me to understand this correctly, and to long for the experience of it. Amen. (“Holiness”)

Sanctification

When God saves a sinner, He justifies and sanctifies him. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him and the principle of holiness is imparted to him. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us sanctification.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

[W]hat is this holiness that I must have? Christ is your sanctification. The life of Christ in you is your holiness. In Christ you are sanctified – you are holy. In Christ you must continually be sanctified. The glory of Christ must penetrate your whole life.

Holiness is more than purity. In Scripture we see that cleansing precedes holiness. Cleansing is the taking away of that which is wrong – liberation from sin. Holiness is the filling with that which is good and divine – the disposition of Jesus. Holiness is conformity to Him. It is separation from the spirit of the world and being filled with the presence of the Holy God. The tabernacle was holy because God lived there. We are holy, as God’s temple, after we have God living within us. Christ’s life in us is our holiness.

And how do we become holy? By the sanctification of the Spirit. The Spirit of God is named the Holy Spirit because He makes us holy. He reveals and glorifies Christ in us. Through Him, Christ dwells in us, and His holy power works in us. Through this Holy Spirit, the workings of the flesh are mortified, and God works in us both the will and the accomplishment. (“Holiness”)

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