SCRIPTURE

INFLUENCE OF SCRIPTURE

“Our convictions and values will come from society around us (the world), or they will come as our minds are renewed by the Word of God.  There is no third option” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p167-168).

FATHER, like no other book Your words change my very nature.  Externally I conclude, by the actions of the HOLY SPIRIT, that the Bible is unique in that every book in it agrees with every other book in it.  I also grasp the internal evidence.  I feel in my reading that it is Your Word explicitly.  The HOLY SPIRIT too, brings this to me. (ref#189, Dec 14th)

“The human task of thinking about God on the basis of his Word is the place where God ‘grants understanding.’  It is a gift….(Prov 2:2-6)” John Piper (ref#220, p285).

“…the word of God…performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thes 2:13 NASB).

“Many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 19th PM).  “…the Holy Scriptures cannot be penetrated by study and talent is most certain.  Therefore our first duty is to begin to pray, and to pray to this effect that if it please God to accomplish something for His glory—not for yours or any other person’s—He very graciously grant you a true understanding of His words….You must, therefore, completely despair of your own…ability and rely solely on the inspiration of the Spirit” John Piper (ref#220, p291).

“The Word of God…is the weapon that God designs to use in penetrating the kingdom of darkness and gathering the children of light…His whole redemptive plan for the universe hangs on the success of his word…” John Piper (ref#220, p222).  “The great design…is to reveal the love of God to His people, and thereby recover their love to God, that they may love Him again who first loved them” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p128).

SCRIPTURE

AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE OR AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH?

“If the Word derived its authority from the church, then we would have to hold the church in higher esteem than God Himself.  For whoever gives the credence and emphasis to someone’s words is superior to the person who speaks them.  God has no superior, and therefore no one is in a position to give authority to His words” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#247, p29).

Thus, we acknowledge the Word to have divine authority solely because God is the One Who speaks:…(Isa 1:2).  The Church merely functions as a herald” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#249, p29).

“If the Scriptures be not clear in themselves to all believers, but that all its perspicuity depends on the interpretation of the church, then our faith is to be ultimately resolved into the testimony of man.  But that cannot be, for human testimony is not infallible and authentic, and therefore cannot [establish] divine faith and an infallible persuasion” Thomas Boston (ref#245, p40).

“…no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion.  And why?  Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart.  Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word” (2 Pet 1:19-21 MSG).

“Deny that the Bible is, without any qualifications, the very Word of God, and you are left without any ultimate standard of measurement and without any supreme authority” Arthur W. Pink (ref#245, p1).

SCRIPTURE

BIBLICAL WRITERS

FATHER, now is the time I sit before a large table full of paper slips placed into subject piles all containing quotes about Your Holy Scriptures.  Thank You for the honor to record what Your godly people have said about Your Book.  But, all these quotes are written by men and women who don’t possess the SPIRIT in order to write Your exact words.  Only men who have written the Bible fit that category.

“Sermons, and tracts, and theological writings of all kinds, may be sound and edifying, but they are only the handiwork of uninspired man.  The Bible alone is the Book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p3).

“All the words in Scripture are God’s words” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p73).  “Its first line, its last line, all its teachings, understood or not understood, are by the same Author…Whoever may have been the writers—whatever their circumstances, their impressions, their comprehension of the book, and the measure of their individuality in this powerful and mysterious operation—they have all written faithfully and under superintendence…under the guidance of the same Master, for Whom a thousand years are as one day; and the result has been the Bible” Louis Gaussen (ref#246, p8-9, “God-breathed Scripture”).

“The apostles and prophets were the people to whom God revealed spiritual truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 7th).

“…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21 ESV).

“…when these…were written, it was not a case of a man in control of himself, using his natural powers and propensities and abilities, thinking things out and then writing as best he could.  Not at all!  The whole time, he was controlled by…the Spirit…this divine energy.  This divine [creative impulse] came upon him, it held him and carried him, and he was borne along by the Spirit.  And it was as a result of that process that…prophecies and…Scriptures came into being” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#250, p45).

“If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word, then it is worthless; for it claims to be God’s Word” A.W. Pink (ref#250, p3, “The Impregnable Rock”).

SCRIPTURE

INERRANCY

“…Scripture is divine in its origin, character, and authority, it must bear the marks or evidences of that divinity.  If ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’ (Psa 19:1) and therefore bear witness to their divine Creator, the Scriptures as God’s handiwork must also bear the imprints of His authorship” John Murray (ref#250, p41, “Witness of the Spirit”).

“…the omniscient God, is the One who announces events beforehand.  That is the proof of His deity” Alfred Martin (ref#260, p77).  “Prediction of the future is the prerogative of God alone…prophecy is the seal which God has put on His Word to show its genuineness.  It authenticates the Scripture” Alfred Martin (ref#260, p70).

“The Old Testament, written over a 1,000-year period, contains several hundred references to the coming Messiah.  All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ…” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p141).

“Reformed theologians uphold the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative, and fully sufficient communication of truth from God to us.  When they say the Bible is ‘inspired,’ they mean that the Bible was actually written by God through the agency of human authorship in a miraculous way that preserved the thoughts of God from any taint of human sinfulness (2 Peter 1:20-21) Carole J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p145-146).

“When they say the Bible is infallible, they mean it is incapable of error, and when they say it is inerrant, they mean the Bible, in actual fact, contains no errors.  The Bible is authoritative because it comes from God whose authority over His creation is absolute (Isaiah 46:9-10).  And it is completely sufficient because it contains everything necessary for us to know and live according to God’s requirements (2 Peter 1:3-4)” Carole J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p146).

“…the Bible is (in its original manuscripts) inerrant and infallible…” Arthur W. Pink (ref#245, p1, “The Impregnable Rock”).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A GUIDE

“The Holy Spirit is our Guide, not only to show us the way, but to go with us by continued aids and influences.  To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but the relish, and savour, and power of it in our hearts” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]). 

“…the Helper, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things…” (John 14:26 ESV).

“The abiding Indweller…the Spirit, is perpetually admonishing, leading, drawing, and constraining the soul…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 9th).

“It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into the right path for us to walk and convicts us of our sin if we stray from that path.  It is the Holy Spirit who reminds us of the truth of God’s Word and teaches us how to apply God’s Word to our daily lives.  It is the Holy Spirit who works in us to conform us to the image of Christ Jesus, and who works through us to minister the presence and power of Christ to others” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p ix).

“And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules”(Ezek 36:27 ESV).  “God does this by combining together invincible might and gentle inducements.  God works upon us morally, not physically, because He will preserve our nature…He does not force us against our wills, but sweetly draws us.  He presents weighty reasons, casting into the mind one after another, till the scales be turned and then all is made efficacious by His Spirit. Yet this is not a work which He does in the soul once and for all, but is often renewed and repeated; and that because the ‘flesh’ or sinful nature remains in us, unchanged, even after regeneration.  Therefore do we need to ask God to continueinclining our hearts toward Himself” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p120).

“…there are many…people who do that which is grossly dishonoring to God under the plea that they were ‘prompted by the Spirit’ so to act.  To be ‘led by the Spirit of God’ does not mean being influenced by unaccountable suggestions and uncontrollable impulses which result in conduct displeasing to God….There is a safe and sure criterion by which the Christian may gauge his inward impulses, and ascertain whether they proceed from his own restless spirit, an evil spirit, or the Spirit of God.  That criterion is the written Word of God, and by it all must be measured” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p121).

FATHER, I must ask daily for the SPIRIT not because I don’t have Him or He is elusive but I ask for Him to constrain me—to move me—to stretch me that I might, by experience, live in fellowship with CHRIST—that I might benefit from His presence—enjoy Him—revel in who He is.

HOLY SPIRIT

UNSEEN WORKINGS OF THE SPIRIT

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.…” (Eph 3:20-21 MSG).

“The Spirit is the Author of everything in us which goes out after God” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p129). “The Holy Spirit not only gives us the power from time to time to function in miraculous ways for the benefit of others, but He gives us the enduring, persevering, lasting power to withstand any persecution until God defeats our enemies” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p24).

“…the Holy Spirit imparts to us the divine energy of God to enable us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to do what God calls us to do.  This power is not only a burst of power to accomplish a given task, but a sustaining power that gives us the ability to persevere and to overcome. The power of God at work in us over time brings us to a place of great inner strength that others may perceive as confidence or boldness” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p72).

The SPIRIT’s work is continual.  And much of it in us is not recognized.  There are incidences in Scripture where GOD appears to erupt and surprise.  For instance Matthew in his gospel tells about JESUS calling His disciples.  Peter and Andrew’s reaction was: “…they immediately left the nets, and followed Him” (Matt 4:20 NASB). James and John’s reaction was: “…they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed him” (Matt 4:22 NASB).  And Matthew: “…and He [JESUS]said to him, ‘Follow Me!’  And he rose, and followed Him” (Matt 9:9 NASB).

One does not immediately give up his livelihood and follow someone he doesn’t know.  The SPIRIT had to be working in them beforehand.

Doesn’t He work the same in us?  He does not slumber or sleep therefore can surprise us by what He does through us.

Another great example of His unseen workings is the moment we commit to trusting CHRIST.  Where did that faith enough to do that come from? It certainly was not from our flesh deciding to love CHRIST for flesh is hostile to spiritual things (Rom 8:7). The answer has to be that the SPIRIT works, unknown to us, in our hearts until we possess enough faith to believe.

FATHER, thank You for the SPIRIT’s activity—that constant activity that I am unaware of.  SPIRIT, thank You.

HOLY SPIRIT

THE GIFT(S) OF THE SPIRIT

“The greatest blessing we possess is the indwelling Spirit” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p99).  “The gift of the Spirit is the distinguishing feature of the Christian religion….In His indwelling Presence is the secret of all Christian experience, and in the abiding energy of His power is the dynamic of all Christian service” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p157).

“…love had been worked into your lives by the Spirit” (Col 1:5-8 MSG).

“…the Holy Spirit is promised under a twofold consideration: (1) As a Spirit of sanctification to the elect, to convert them and make them believers.  (2) As a Spirit of consolation to believers…” John Owen (ref#35, p359).  “…he [the Spirit] is described to us as a Fountain, whence all heavenly riches flow to us…” John Calvin (ref#113, p350).

“He maintains the life of grace in us….He is owner of the house, and not an underling…He commands and governs after His own will” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p100). My joy comes from being “…animated and motivated by God’s Spirit…” (Gal 5:16-18 MSG).

“Spiritual gifts are not the same as the gift of the Spirit.  The gift of the Spirit has been bestowed on all believers (John 14:16; Acts 2:38), and every member of the body should appropriate this gift” (Kenneth Boa, The Gifts of the Spirit,http://bible.org/article/gifts-spirit).  The SPIRIT when gifted produces fruit.  “Fruit belongs to character…fruit is the manifestation of cultivated life….fruit is a quality of life…fruit is a manifestation….fruit is implanted and is gradual development…Fruit is for all…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p145-146).

“The gifts of the Spirit, on the other hand, are distributed as he decides to each person (1 Cor 12:11)” (Kenneth Boa,The Gifts of the Spirit,http://bible.org/article/gifts-spirit).  “Gifts are an evidence of the Spirit; but they are no proof of holiness…Gifts are according to the elections of the sovereign will of the Spirit of God;…Gifts are for service…Gifts are functional…Gifts are bestowed…Gifts may be given immediately and complete…gifts are for those for whom they have been prepared…We may covet gifts, but we must bear fruit.  Gifts cannot take the place of fruit” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p145-146).  The gift of the HOLY SPIRIT bears fruit; gifts of the SPIRIT can operate without producing fruit.

FATHER, it is my human nature to desire gifts more than fruit.  For the SPIRIT to produce fruit in me I must be patient and humble.  And since fruit defines a true Christian, I desire to be patient and humble over doing something extraordinary using the SPIRIT’s gifts.

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT CALLS EVERYONE TO REPENTANCE

“…it is Christ’s blood, but the Spirit must apply it” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p90).  “All merit is in the Son…and all power is of the Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p197).  “The Holy Spirit is here to take the place…of an absent Christ…” A.W. Pink  (A.W. Pink’s Commentary on John and Hebrews, [John 16:1-11], www.studylight.org)

“It is by the Holy Spirit our eyes are opened to see and our hearts to feel the enormity of sin, and thus are we enabled to perceive our need of Christ’s blood” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p110).  It is only ‘through the Spirit’ we can, in any measure, successfully ‘mortify the deeds of the body’” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p113).  “…the soul…does not know its real weakness and deep necessity until taught it by the Holy Spirit.  This is even so after conversion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 4th).

“The Spirit shall convince…of sin, not merely tell…of it.  The Spirit convinces of the fact of sin, of the fault of sin, of the folly of sin, of the filth of sin, that by it we are become hateful to God…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [John 16:7-15]).

“The renewed heart is moved and melted when it contemplates the holy Savior having our iniquities imputed to Him…But how rarely is it considered that it is little less wonderful for the Holy Spiritto exercise Himself with oursins and hold them up to the eyes of our understanding….He rakes in our foul hearts and makes us conscious of what a stench they are in the nostrils of an infinitely pure God” A. W. Pink (ref#269, p87).

“…He does in some degree mortify and subdue the evils of the soul in which He resides….Though He kills not sin in believers, He subdues it—though He does not subdue the flesh as that it never troubles or defiles them any more, its dominion is taken away” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p101).

FATHER, the movements of the SPIRIT amaze me.  He constantly kills my pride by dropping facts of my sin in my head.  He so times His conviction that I have no words to debate Him.  I am found out before I myself find out.  Thank You for constantly proving that I am depraved and You are holy.

“…what an unspeakable mercy to have One who knows us completely, and who can acquaint us with ourselves” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 4th)!  “…forgiveness can only come through Christ’s work on Calvary, daily living for the Lord can only be done through the Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p159).

HOLY SPPIRIT

BABES IN CHRIST

GOD in His mercy has given to His human creation laws that help us navigate living in a world full of sin. GOD’s commands are moral laws recorded in the Old Testament; if followed they reconnect us back to GOD healing our break with Him caused by the Fall.  And in our depraved nature we think we are able to, on our own, keep the laws and secure GOD’s favor.  However,…

Theologians coined the phrase, “covenant of works” to define that impossible way of reconciliation to GOD. GOD established the works of the law, not to reconcile us back to Him but to prove we can’t.  It is impossible for me to do what He asks.

JESUS who followed the laws perfectly can only accomplish our reconciliation back to GOD.  GOD requires of us that we acknowledge our inability to follow His laws and put our trust in JESUS to do it for us.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church says: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 NASB).  “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all…”(John 6:63 ESV).  “The indwelling Spirit is the sure mark of the believer’s freedom from the Covenant of Works…” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p100).

 “…the greatest lack of all in Christendom today is the absenceof the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing….Until the Holy Spirit is again given His rightful place in our hearts, thoughts, and activities, there can be no improvement.  Until it be recognized that we are entirely dependent upon Hisoperations for all spiritual blessing, the root of the trouble cannot be reached” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p7). “The issue is not our ability but rather our availability to the person of the Holy Spirit” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p45).

FATHER, I pray against defaulting back into the “covenant of works” where I try to reach and please You using my born-with abilities.  I am trusting You to remind me of the power and love of the SPIRIT so that I might walk daily with His blessing.

“The preservation of God’s people through all the vicissitudes of their pilgrim journey is accomplished, immediately, by the Holy Spirit.  He it is who watches over the believer, delivering him when he knows it not; keeping him from living in the world’s sinks of iniquity, lifting up a standard when the Enemy comes like a flood against him (Isa 59:19).  He it is who keeps him from accepting those fatal heresies which deceive and destroy so many empty professors [faux Christians]. He it is who prevents his becoming contented with a mere ‘letter’ ministry or satisfied with head-knowledge and notional religion” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p171, brackets mine).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A SOMEBODY

“…you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified…by the Spirit of…God” (1 Cor 6:11 ESV).

“…the Holy Spirit…is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, all-loving God” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p16).  “All the promises of God are made possible by the Holy Spirit.  All our needs are met in His supply.  He is the all-inclusive gift” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p33).

“By His gracious aid the believer is preserved from being totally submerged by his doubts and fears….the…Christian is kept from sinking into complete skepticism, abject despair, and infidelity.  By His quickening power hope is still kept alive…” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p142-143).

FATHER, the SPIRIT certainly is Somebody—Somebody with power to accomplish all His will and Your will (Heb 2:4)—to save me from myself.  He strengthens me inwardly so I have the ability to obey You outwardly. If the SPIRIT would not influence me I would always fall to satan’s temptation and faith would be nonexistent.  The SPIRIT “silently, invisibly, yet sympathetically and effectually” moves me.  Without Him my soul would be without CHRIST.  I would hear no whisper of His love, my grief would be magnified and courage suppressed. A. W. Pink (ref#269, p143)

“The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God…The Holy Spirit is the living personhood of God,not manifested in a fleshly body—that manifestation was Jesus—but manifested nonetheless as the full personality and identity of God resident in us as believers….He is a Somebody” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p14-15).