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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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  • Recommended Reading

WHEN THE SPIRIT COMES

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

When 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. (John 16:13 ESV)

See, my dear Brothers in the ministry, how little store the Holy Spirit sets by originality? We have men, nowadays, straining to be original! Strain the other way, for listen, ‘He shall not speak of Himself’—not even the Holy Spirit—‘He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak.’ He is the Repeater of the Father’s message, not the inventor of His own! So let it be with us ministers. We are not to make up a Gospel as we go along, as I have heard some say. We are not to shape it to the times in which we live, and suit it to the congregations to which we speak. God forbid! Let this be true of every one of us, ‘He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak.’” (1893, Sermon #2307)

FILLED WITH FIRE

Samuel A CainBut you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8 ESV)

When 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. (John 16:13 ESV)

An interesting feature of the modern American mainline church is its reluctance to teach on the Holy Spirit who mediates the power of the risen Christ. Perhaps they are being overly cautious because of the excesses of some television ministries.

John writes that Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth…” (14:15-17) Luke also quotes Jesus on this topic: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) There are two important steps found here: First, the Holy Spirit is sent to the church; second, the church is sent into the world. Continue reading

THE SEAL OF PROMISE

holy spiritIn him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV)

The seal of promise is the life-giving Holy Spirit who gives new life to the redeemed. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us to make us more holy as we live out our lives. He guides us into all truth. (John 16:12-15 ESV) He is the assurance of our birth right in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is our promised Helper. (John 14:15 ESV) It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to do various kinds of ministries. (Acts 1:8) He empowers our prayers. (Romans 8:26) The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome spiritual opposition as we carry out our callings and God’s work in our lives. (Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV) He is our instructor and helps us to remember the teachings of Jesus. (John 14:26 ESV) Continue reading

The Spirit of Truth and the Foolishness of Man

When 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. (John 16:12-13 ESV)

Let us note here that all truth is from above. In other words, the truth comes down to us. It is not of our own making because God is Truth and He proclaims this truth to man. Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.

God, by His own counsel, has declared what is true. What He has spoken is flawlessly consistent with His unchangeable Holiness. Should we not desire to know Him and His Word ever more deeply? The vanity of man, however, has covered his mind with darkness. He refuses to acknowledge God as God or God’s Truth as true and therefore, brings the wrath of God down upon his thinking. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18 ESV)

The feeble attempts of Darwinian anti-science to prove a chain of development from the lowest forms of life to the highest is seriously flawed by its materialist cult-like philosophy. The progress they seek from the lowest animated matter to the highest form of life is full of gaps and gaffs. Missing links are hailed for their discovery and quietly forgotten when proved false. Darwinian pseudo-science continues in its duplicity, however, despite the facts and its critics. It is a futile attempt to portray man as ascending by his own nature to the throne of God. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21 ESV)

The modern church seeks to emphasize a man-centered religion through distorting the Bible as a self-help resource. Indeed, when I first became a Christian, the Bible was often presented to me in this way. I must admit that it was very appealing to my human nature. Who doesn’t want to believe the words of W. E. Henley, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul”? Yet, the Bible is not about self-help – it is all about grace, mercy, and love.

Man cannot elevate himself to the throne of God by his own works nor manipulate God through misused Biblical promises. Such ideas are cast down by God’s glory in sending a second Adam (Jesus Christ) to answer for the first Adam’s guilt upon the cross. Therefore, the cross sweeps aside the foolishness of those who claim to be wise and exchange “the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man. . . .” (Romans 1:23 ESV)

The Self-Sufficient Minister

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I fear for preachers and congregations who appear to have renounced a holy reverence for Scripture. The Word of God is no longer their teacher, but they are its critics. The Word of the Lord is no longer given the place of honor; but it is treated as a common literary work. These men look at the books of Scripture and presume to judge the Spirit of God. God does not work through such ministers who hold the Scriptures in secret contempt. C. H. Spurgeon explains why:

Some men are too self-sufficient for God to use. . . . Oh, to be rid of self! Oh, to quit every pretence of wisdom! Many are very superior persons, and so when they get God’s message they correct it, and interpolate their own ideas; they dream that the old gospel cannot be quite suitable to these enlightened days. . . . They not only interpolate, but they omit; because they judge that certain truths have become obsolete by the lapse of time. In this way, what with additions and subtractions, little is left of the pure words of God. The apostles are generally the first to be sent adrift. Poor Paul! Poor Paul! He has come in for very hard times just lately, as if the Spirit of God did not speak through Paul with as much authority as when he spoke through the Lord Jesus. Note well how our Lord deigns to put himself on a level with his apostles when he says, “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me”; and in his final prayer he prayed for those who would believe on him through the apostles’ word, as much as to say, that if they would not believe on him through the word of the apostles, they would not believe at all. John, speaking of himself and his fellow-apostles, has said by the Holy Ghost, “He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” This is the test of believers at the present time: the rejection of the apostles condemns the modern school.

Brethren, may the Lord give us great humility of mind. It ought not to be an extraordinary thing for us to accept what God says. It ought not to take much humility for such poor creatures as we are to sit at Jesus’ feet. We ought to look upon it as an elevation of mind for our spirit to lie prostrate before infinite wisdom. Assuredly this is needful to the reception of power from God.

I have noticed, too, that if God’s power comes to a man with a message, he not only has childlikeness of mind, but he has also singleness of eye. Such a man, trying to hear what God the Lord shall speak, is all ears. He honestly and eagerly desires to know what God’s mind is, and he applies all his faculties to the reception of the divine communication. As he drinks in the sacred message, with a complete surrender of soul, he is resolved to give it out with the entire concentration of his mental and spiritual powers, and with a single eye to the glory of God. Unless you have but one eye, and that one eye sees Christ and his glory in the salvation of men, God will not use you. The man, whose eyes cannot look straight on, must not be admitted a priest unto the living God. (Sermon to Preachers: “The Preacher’s Power, and the Conditions of Obtaining it.”)

What Of Your Soul?

Charles Spurgeon

Words and thoughts are weak without the power of the Holy Spirit, but If you turn to the Lord, with full purpose of heart, he will have mercy on you. God will speak to you and send the Spirit of Truth. Charles Spurgeon implores you to consider your soul when he writes:

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

O that I may have a word with your souls. How many are there here who are born again? Some turn a deaf ear, and say, “It is all nonsense; we go to our place of worship regularly; put our hymn books and Bibles under our arm! and we are very religious sort of people.” Ah, soul! if I meet you at the bar of judgment, recollect I said—and said God’s word—” Except ye be born again ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Others of you say, “We cannot believe that being born again is such a change as you speak of, I am a great deal better than I used to be; I do not swear now, and I am very much reformed.” Sirs, I tell you it is no little change. It is not mending the pitcher, but it is breaking it up and having a new one; it is not patching the heart, it is having a new heart and a right spirit. There is nothing but death unto sin, and life unto righteousness, that will save your souls. . . .

Church people come to me sometimes to unite with our church; I show them our doctrines in their prayer book, and they have said they never knew they were there. My dear hearers, why cannot you read your own articles of faith? Why, positively, you do not know what is in your own prayer book, Men, now-a-days, do not read their Bibles, and they have for the most part no religion. They have a religion, which is all outside show, but they do not think of searching to see what its meaning really is. Sirs, it is not the cloak of religion that will do for you; it is a vital godliness you need; it is not a religious Sunday, it is a religious Monday; it is not a pious church, it is a pious closet; it is not a sacred place to kneel in, it is a holy place to stand in all day long. There must be a change of heart, real, radical, vital, entire. And now, what say you? Has your faith overcome the world? Can you live above it? or do you love the world and the things thereof? If so, sirs, ye must go on your way and perish, each one of you, unless ye turn from that, and give your hearts to Christ. Oh! what say you, is Jesus worthy of your love? Are the things of eternity and heaven worth the things of time? Is it so sweet to be a worldling, that for that you can lie down in torment? Is it so good to be a sinner, that for this you can risk your soul’s eternal welfare? O, my friends, is it worth your while to run the risk of an eternity of woe for a hour of pleasure. . . ? Is one dream, with a horrid waking, worth enjoying, when there are the glories of heaven for those who follow God? Oh! if my lips would let me speak to you, my heart would run over at my eyes, and I would weep myself away, until ye had pity on your own poor souls. (Sermon: “The Victory of Faith”)

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