HOLY SPIRIT

BF’s COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 16:15-19

 “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you…For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it….    (Matt 16:15-18 ESV).

 This passage comprises CHRIST announcing His FATHER’s church building program.  The FATHER, through the HOLY SPIRIT gave Peter his revelation.

The close identity to the words, “Peter” and “rock” in the original language means nothing.  The only connection “this rock” has to do with Peter is that he demonstrated how “the Father in heaven” conveys His will to His chosen.  The HOLY SPIRIT is the One through whom GOD will “build His church.”  The HOLY SPIRIT is the “rock.”

And he who is led by the SPIRIT—who is learning first hand by the “Father who is in heaven,” will possess the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” and will “bind and loose” as the SPIRIT leads him because he is not doing as he wishes but as the FATHER wishes.

CHRIST was the first to demonstrate the indwelling operation of the HOLY SPIRIT.  While on earth he exhibited how the FATHER directed and implemented His will.  The prophet Isaiah speaks of it.  He “…shall not judge by what his eyes see…” (Isa 11:3 ESV).  He will not follow his human understanding, for “…the Spirit ofthe LORD shall rest upon him…” (Isa 11:2 ESV).

The HOLY SPIRIT led CHRIST through His tenure on earth and now CHRIST is announcing in this passage that the FATHER will lead His children to build His church through the HOLY SPIRIT. This “rock,” is the foundation—delivering all that is the predetermined will of GOD.  “…For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:10 ESV).  The FATHER’s reveals His will through the HOLY SPIRIT.

The FATHER, GOD was called a “rock” in the Old Testament (Ps 62:7), and JESUS was also called the ”rock” in the New (1 Cor 10:4).  And here the third Person of the Trinity is called “rock.”  The SPIRIT gave Peter the words, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.”  The SPIRIT will also give GOD’s chosen the way to build His church.

“…let us humbly suffer ourselves to be inwardly taught by the…Spirit alone…” John Calvin (Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, “Commentary on Matthew 16:17”).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS SPIRIT KNOWLEDGE

“…all that has been done by God the Father and by God the Son will be of no value to us unless the Spirit reveals these things to our souls” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Feb 29thPM).

 “’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God”(1 Cor 2:9-10 ESV).

“…our conviction of the truth of Scripture must be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons; namely, the secret testimony of the Spirit” John Calvin (ref#113, p33).

“When the Holy Spirit…comes, he shall guide you into all truth.  For he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard….” (John 16:13 TLB).

“God’s truth comes to us through three essential processes: revelation, inspiration, and illumination” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).

“Revelation involves the actual disclosure of God’s truth…” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70). “By revelation is understood those truths made known by supernatural means, because they lie beyond the power of man to discover” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p102).

“Inspiration is concerned with the means and processes by which these truths are made known” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p102).  “…inspiration has to do with recording divine revelation perfectly and completely…” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).

“…illumination is what enables us to understand that truth” Carol Ruvolo (ref#228, p70).   “…The Bible can neither be accounted for nor interpreted but by His [the SPIRIT’s] guidance…Revealed truth can be known only through the Revealer” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p15, brackets mine).

FATHER, since human reasoning is my default way of thinking, I ask Your help that I may train myself to be aware of the SPIRIT’s activity in giving the Truth.  I recognize my head knowledge has no ability to spawn appropriate spiritual actions.

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.

JESUS

THE SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS

“God was so sure of the depth and expansiveness of your sin, of your inability to grasp how desperate your condition is (and, even if you were able, your complete inability to free yourself from it), that he was willing to harness the forces of nature and to carefully control the events of human history so that at a certain point Jesus would come to live the life you could not live, die the death that you should have died, and rise again, conquering death.  Why did God go to this elaborate and sacrificial extent?  There is only one answer to the question.  God the Father planned it, God the Son was willing to do it, and God the Holy Spirit applied this work to your heart and mine because there just was no other way” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“…He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls”(1 Pet 2:21-25 MSG).

“…the guilty, trembling sinner may confidently and safely rest in the work of the Savior….Acts 2:32;…Rom 5:10;…Rom 4:25;…Rom 8:34;…John 14:19;…Heb 1:3;…1 Pet 3:22;…Jesus is at the right hand of God, and the principalities and powers of all worlds are subject to His authority….Your Head and Redeemer is alive to frustrate every purpose, resist every plot, and silence every tongue that would condemn you” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 15th).

“…our enemies…are…under the hand of God and can do no more than what he permits them to do. Furthermore, God can, whenever he pleases, render all their endeavors vain and ineffectual” John Calvin (ref#164, Jan 31st).

“…it’s the gospel that changes us….not only have our sins been forgiven, but our bondage to sin has been broken….in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21)” Bob Kauflin (ref#199, p132-133).

“Since your standing with God is based not on your righteousness but on Christ’s, in moments of failure, you can run to him and not from him” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, March 6th).

JESUS

CHRIST DOES EVERYTHING

“…Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me [JESUS].  And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go….” (John 6:35-38 MSG, brackets mine).

FATHER, You call me into fellowship with JESUS (1 Cor 1:9).  And JESUS employs Himself to my aid.  He enriches me in every way in all speech and all knowledge (1 Cor 1:5).  He maintains me with gifts while I wait for His physical appearance again (1 Cor 1:7).  He also sustains me until the end, guiltless (1 Cor 1:8).  He is my all.

“…the Father has given all power to the Son, that by his hand he may govern, cherish, sustain us, keep us under his guardianship and give assistance to us.  Thus, while we wander far as pilgrims from God, Christ interposes, that he may gradually bring us to full communion with God” John Calvin (ref#113, p321).

“…we have a double need: on the one hand cleansing from defilement, and on the other a new heart with new desires and aspirations….For Christ died to make us clean, and by the inward working of his Holy Spirit he can make us new” John Stott (ref#258, p78-79).

“…many ways Jesus loves his own…visiting them with his gracious presence, instructing and guiding them by his Word and Spirit, preserving them in his providence, strengthening them by his grace, comforting them with his love, and maturing them for his eternal glory” Charles Ross (ref#241, p19).

CHRIST constantly pulls me out of the God-ignoring flames of this earth.  He doesn’t just help me stand every once in a while when I think I need help but constantly rescues me.  O FATHER, I am so thankful.

“…Christ has entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Heb 9:24 ESV).

JESUS

SIN’S REMEDY

FATHER, You have put us all in the prison of sin.  We all start out in identical conditions (Rom 3:9).  Then You invite all to come to the cross of CHRIST.

“The cross of Christ triumphs only in the hearts of believers over the devil and the flesh, over sin and wickedness, when they lift their eyes to behold the power of the resurrection” John Calvin (ref#313, p82-83)

“…God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone”(Rom 11:32 NLT).

“Sin is every human being’s core disease.  It is completely beyond the power of any human being to escape it.  It separates you from God, for whom you were created. It damages every aspect of your personhood.  It makes it impossible for you to be what God created you to be and to do what God designed you to do.  It robs you of inner contentment and peace, and it puts you at war with other human beings. It renders you blind, weak, self-oriented, and rebellious.  It reduces all of us to fools, and ultimately it leads to death.  Sin is an unmitigated, almost incalculable disaster…you and I have no ability whatsoever to escape from the hold that sin has on us.  It is the moral Vice-Grip that has held the heart of every person who has ever lived” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“It is the cross of Christ that brings us all down to the same place. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ The differences between nations and groups within them and individuals are nothing when you look at the cross of Christ.  We are all miserable, helpless, hopeless sinners” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 15th).

“…the eternal Word Who became man, uniting a true human nature to his divine nature…the two natures joined in the one Person forever….if your personal problem of sin is ever to be remedied in a biblical way, it will be remedied only as you have personal dealings with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such is the unique stand of the Christian faith: the sinner in all his need, united to the Savior in all the fullness of His grace; the sinner in his naked need, and the Savior in His almighty power, brought directly together in the gospel.  That reality is the glory of God’s good news to sinners” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p10-11)!

JESUS

JESUS LED BY THE SPIRIT

FATHER, the familiar and habitual life I lead humanly is that of selfish desire which leads to unholy action.  This is my born-with nature—a desire to do what I want to do.

“…the lie of autonomy…tells you that you are an independent human, that your life belongs to you, and that you have the right to live your life as you please” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 30th).

But when I study the life of JESUS on earth, I do not see Him doing what He wants to do, even though He is the Son of GOD!  Instead, He emptied Himself to allow You, FATHER, to give Him the fullness of Your SPIRIT:

“Our Lord’s life was mapped out for Him.  He came to do the Father’s will, and that will was unfolded and interpreted to Him by the Holy Spirit….He was led of the Spirit, taught of the Spirit, and strengthened in the Spirit….He was constantly dependent upon the Spirit…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p79).  “…he was anointed by the Spirit to be a herald and witness of his Father’s grace…” John Calvin (ref#113, p318).

“…the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge…” (Isa 11:2-4 ESV).

JESUS, the Son of GOD and also the Son of Man, belonged to GOD; I also belong to GOD. “We don’t own our mentality, our spirituality, our emotionality, our psychology, our personality, or our physicality.  We are not independent beings and we do not have a natural right to do with our physical and spiritual selves whatever we desire to do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 30th).

FATHER, I do not want to judge situations with my own eyes and ears but with the wisdom of the SPIRIT within me.

GOD

GOD IS LOVE

“…search and rescue impulse is in the very center of God’s heart” Doug Newton (ref#166, p35).

GOD is love (1 John 4:8). He is not just loving.  Love is not one of His attributes, it is what influences His attributes.  Yet, GOD does not love to glorify Himself, His focus is on His people.  “…love does not look at itself—it is absorbed in the object of its love” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

“In enriching us with his gifts, God gains nothing for himself, yet he would have the splendor and beauty of his character manifested in bountifully dealing with us….” John Calvin (ref#164, March 7th).

“I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God”(Ex 29:45-46 ESV).

“…God searches passionately for people who are lost, finds them and does whatever He must to make them His possession” Doug Newton (ref#166, p36).

FATHER, You are absorbed in the objects You love.  And not only in loving me but all Your human creation that I, privileged as Your helper, search also to bring to You.

ASSURANCES

OVERCOMING THE WORLD

“…people who are truly Christians are those who overcome the world.  They rise above it; they conquer it.  They are in the world, but no longer of it….They may fall into sin, but they do not dally in it…They have been delivered out of this evil world, having been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p643).

“ “…Christians…view the world in an entirely new manner.  They see that it is governed by sin.  They have come to regard it as a place in which evil forces are at work…They know that it is something they have to fight, something to withstand, and they realize that unless they do so they will be defeated by it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p642).

“If a Christian have Christ’s heart…He will give him…His power to help him to overcome the strong enemies that meet him in the way…” Andrew Gray (ref#333 p223).

“We are bound to rejoice in God, and that always, even in tribulation; which no understanding can conceive to be possible, unless the soul be assured of life eternal” Edward Leigh (ref#333, p174).

“Our faith is not true unless it enables us to appear calmly in the presence of God” John Calvin (ref#333, p89).

“The only thing we have really to be afraid of, is fearing anything more than God” Gregory of Nazianzum (ref#333, p24).

“It is a fearful thing to come to a deathbed with a religion so feeble as to leave the poor soul in dreadful doubt as to its state” John Angell (ref#333, p335).

ASSURANCES

TEST OF RELATIONSHIP

“…prayer!  If there is a single exercise of the soul that places the fact of its regeneration beyond a doubt, it is this” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 3rd).

“…Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?  And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance”(Gal 4:4-7 MSG).

“…the thing the saint wants to know above everything else is that all is well between his soul and the Father….He likes to maintain the contact and communion, to assure his heart before God and in the presence of God….that the contact is unbroken…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 1st).

“…we are in communion with Christ, we have proof sufficiently clear and strong that we are written in the Book of Life….he admitted us to sure communion with himself, when, by the preaching of the gospel, he declared that he was given us by the Father, to be ours with all his blessings (Rom 8:32)” John Calvin (ref#113, p641).

Prayer is going to You, FATHER often to test the relationship.  It’s vital to make sure of Your willingness and readiness to help.  I am doomed if the relationship is severed.