SCRIPTURE

WHAT IS THE BIBLE?

“The Bible isn’t a series of stories.  It isn’t a catalog of interesting characters.  It isn’t a manual of theology.  It isn’t a book of interesting wisdom principles.  One story, with one hero, forms the cord that holds the whole Bible together.  The Bible is essentially the story of redemption. This grand redemptive story, with God’s essential explanatory notes, is the main content of the Word of God” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec 9th).

“The message of the Bible is not to urge us to try to find truth; it is to ask us to listen to the truth, to God’s truth.  For its whole point is to say that God, knowing Himself, knowing man, knowing everything, has devised and schemed a plan whereby men and women can be delivered out of their failure and sin and can be made citizens and worthy citizens of God’s kingdom.  This is God’s plan” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 2nd)!

“…God’s faithfulness to his people convinces us that there is nothing missing from Scripture that God thinks we need to know for obeying him and trusting him fully….Scripture today is exactly what God wanted it to be, and it will stay that way until Christ returns” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p68-69).  “…He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words” (Heb 1:1-3 MSG)!

“O Word of God Incarnate”

 

O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high,

O truth unchanged, unchanging, O light of our dark sky;

We praise thee for the radiance that from the hallowed page,

A lantern to our footsteps, shines on from age to age.

 

The church from her dear Master received the gift divine,

And still that light she lifteth o’er all the earth to shine.

It is the golden casket, where gems of truth are stored;

It is the heave’n-drawn picture of Christ, the Living Word.

 

It floateth like a banner before God’s host unfurled;

It shineth like a beacon above the darkling world.

It is the chart and compass that o’er life’s surging sea,

‘Mid mists and rocks and quicksands, still guides, O Christ to thee.

 

O make thy church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,

To bear before the nations thy true light, as of old.

O teach thy wand’ring pilgrims by this their path to trace,

Till, clouds and darkness ended, they see thee face to face.

 

Author: William Walsham How, 1867 Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p72)

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE CHURCH

“It is for the church to explore the resources of the Spirit; the resources of the world are futile” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p19).

“…the Church of God has two Paracletes, or Advocates – one in heaven with the Father, Christ, and the other on earth, in the heart of the believer, even the Holy Spirit” Charles Ross (ref#241, p90).

“The Father gave Him [CHRIST] the gift, and He passes it on to us;…The gift of the Holy Ghost to the Church is also, then, the absolute proof of the sufficiency of the work of Christ and of its acceptance with God….’I accept your work, it is sufficient; You have died for the redeemed, they are Your people.  So I will give you My Spirit to give to them, and then they will know that they are Your people and My people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p138).

“ He [the SPIRIT] has come to reign over each and all.  Jesus Christ had defined His mission and outlined His program.  He was to unify them into one Body, guide them into all truth, and strengthen them for all service.  In the Church He is the supreme executive, but He has His seat in the soul.  He directs all things from the spiritual center of the inner life” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p44).  “His objective is to produce holiness…But His ultimate work is to make us a holy people…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 2nd).

FATHER, I know that the HOLY SPIRIT will create in all of us who CHRIST claims as His bride, holiness and purity.  Your perfect will is to bring us a life of prayer and brokenness before Your throne.  I hunger to be secluded with You in the secret closet waiting for You to bring Your remnant church into one mind—living only for You. David Wilkerson (ref#138, p165).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE SPIRIT’S MOVEMENTS – EXAMPLES

“…God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient…” (1 Pet 1:1-2 MSG).

“Can you work yourself up into being an automatically loving person in every situation, to all people, consistently over time?  I doubt it. Can you try and try and try to be a joyful person to the point where you suddenly become joyful always, no matter what is happening?  No.  It is only as we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us—opening ourselves continually to His power and presence—that our very nature is transformed…”  Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p62).

So, how do I know if flesh is moving me or the SPIRIT?  I can get up on Sunday morning and go to church; did the SPIRIT move me to do that? Maybe, but probably not.  I (flesh) just decided to do it (probably because it is a habit and expected of me).

Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes the moving of the SPIRIT this way: “…you are aware of the power of God dealing with you, surging and rising within you, and you are amazed and astonished….a wonder-working power active in you, moving, disturbing, leading, persuading, drawing you ever onward” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 19th)?

I know the SPIRIT resides in me:

When a command materializes in my head and I don’t default to rationalization.

When my thinking is clear and my will is willing.

When I can observe clearly the enemy’s activity.

When I easily confess my sins and forgive the sins of others.

When I know the preacher is speaking directly to me.

When I possess the boldness to witness.

When GOD’s will becomes easy to perform.

When my prayer is answered before I am done praying.

When I write blogs and don’t get hungry or tired.

When I have endless patience while waiting for the LORD.

When I try to express inexpressible joy because I understand now that He lives to order me aright.

When His words are so hot on the page I’m reading I lift my hands in submission and praise.

 “…the gift of the Spirit always sets the heart singing. Its confidence is unwavering, its power is invincible, and its joy unspeakable” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p34). AMEN!

HOLY SPIRIT

BABES IN CHRIST

“…make certain about His calling and choosing you…” (2 Peter 1:10 NASB).

FATHER, it is not that You commission me to work hard so that You choose me.  No, You have already chosen me and I need to convince myself that You have chosen me.  What pleases You and proves to me that fact is my complete submission to the HOLY SPIRIT. Thank You for the joy that fills my heart when I obey.

“Religious enterprise that has not learned to rely on the Holy Spirit makes everything depend on the human intellect—‘God has said so-and-so, now believe it and it will be all right’, but it won’t.  The basis of Jesus Christ’s religion is the acceptance of a new Spirit, not a new creed,…” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Sept 10th).

Christ had unfolded to His disciples an infinite system of truth, but it lay cold and dead in their memories. He deposited precious seed in the soil; but the soil lacked the warmth and sunshine that the Spirit of God alone could give. Compare the difference between the disciples before and after Pentecost. When the Spirit of God is in you you have spiritual

  1. Life.
  2. Satisfaction.
  3. Power.”

(D. Thomas, The Spirit With You and In You,[John 14:16], (New York, NY: The Bible Illustrator, 1905-1909, https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/14-16.html)

“…we cannot transform ourselves.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that….we must bring ourselves under the transforming action of the Holy Spirit.  This means…that we must continually submit our minds to the Word of God, which is the chief instrument the Holy Spirit uses to transform us” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p172-173).

“The greatest test is that the true Spirit always glorifies Christ.  Christ is always in the center….The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of order, not of disorder,  Doctrine and love are required; experience and power, intellect and mind—the whole person is involved and functions as this perfectly balanced body with no schism, with no rivalry and competition, but with the whole manifesting and ministering unto the glory of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Make sure the Spirit of God is in you” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 5th).

HOLY SPIRIT

THE HOLY SPIRIT REPRESENTS CHRIST

“The Spirit…is Christ without the limitations of the flesh and the material world.  He can reveal what Christ could not speak.  He has resources of power greater than those Christ could use, and he makes possible greater works than his” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p18).

“…the Spirit…was the gift of God to His Son, and the gift of His Son to the world.  He came to fulfill the mission for which Christ came into the world.  He is our Lord’s Paraclete, His Advocate and Administrator” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p37).

“The Spirit is not our Advocate, but Christ’s.  An advocate appears as representative of another, and the Holy Spirit comes to represent Christ, interpret and vindicate Christ, administer for Christ in His Church and Kingdom; to be to the believer all that Christ Himself was and is…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p33).

“He [the SPIRIT] is sent primarily to make us holy—to conform us to the character of God” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p71, brackets mine).  “He reveals, through the Word, the great love of God to sinners…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 14th).

“…our spiritual life is drawn directly from the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are sustained by Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  There is nothing more important in the Christian life than to realize that our union with Christ is a vital one.  It is a living thing.  It is not something mechanical or conceptual; it is not a thought or an idea; it is really a vital, spiritual union….something of His fullness and of His life is passing into us, and we are receiving it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 19th).

FATHER, guide me to correct thinking about the HOLY SPIRIT.  I too easily think of Him as a “vending machine”—His presence to aid me through life.  But He is CHRIST’s.  And CHRIST’s purpose is so I might walk in Your will and be transformed into holiness.

“He [the SPIRIT] employs simply and only the truth as it is in Jesus…He enters the soul…He moves over the dark chaos, without form and void, and in a moment a world of immortal beauty bursts into view.  He overshadows the soul, and a vital root is planted whose stream of existence, once it begins, flows on with the eternity of God Himself” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 4th, [brackets mine]).

JESUS

CHRIST’S INTERCESSION

FATHER, Your Son is at Your right hand, interceding for us (Heb 7:25).  But this interceding is not “as if the Lord Jesus Christ were there pleading for us before an unwilling God…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).  He is not “trying to persuade the Father…in getting Him to change His opinion” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 2nd).

Those words don’t depict a scene of CHRIST simply sitting beside You either, FATHER.  He does not just sit; He does not just speak.  He does not just craft words to convince You to act in our favor.

CHRIST is not talk but action.  On earth He performed Your will (John 4:34).  Now He lives in us that we might perform Your will.

I know, FATHER, that CHRIST is my permanent guest.  By the SPIRIT He resides in my personality, subdues my sinful desires and transforms me into His likeness (2 Cor 3:18) John Stott (ref#258, p86) so that You, CHRIST, and I all have the same desires.

 “Christ…is to intercede for his people:…the things he intercedes for are…

the consolation of distressed ones;

fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers;

renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them;

perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification…” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, [Heb 7:25]).

Thus, His intercession is sweet.  “Christ will…treat you as his dear friend…you shall always be where he is” (John 12:26), “and shall behold his glory, and dwell with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment (1 John 3:1-3; Rev 21:1-7)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Christ is our life…We are…chosen, adopted, pardoned, justified, and quickened people.  This is our present state; this is our present character.  We bear about with us the life of God in our souls” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 7th).

JESUS

GRAPE-BEARERS

“Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus.  You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:1-7 MSG)!

“ I [JESUS] am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.  He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes.  And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more….” (John 15:1-3 MSG, brackets mine).

“Live in me.  Make your home in me just as I do in you.  In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me” (John 15:4 MSG).

“…I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning.  No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.  “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.  As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you” (John 15:11-16 MSG).

Our Real Vine, JESUS, “takes hold of us one by one; He rescues and delivers us out of this world and from Satan one by one.  As we believe the message of this gospel, we are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light…He is building up His own kingdom; he is drawing men and women unto Himself out of the world; He is going on with the work” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p69).

JESUS

DELIVERED

FATHER, CHRIST saved me from Your wrath by making me acceptable to You by taking the punishment for my radical, complete, disobedience.  I am redeemed!—by CHRIST’s obedience.  You made the plan; CHRIST made it work (Eph 1:7).

“The cross declares how dire is our condition apart from Jesus.  It announces how deep the sin goes, how profound the rebellion is, how impossible is our plight apart from Help from the outside.  There’s nothing we can do, no effort we can exert, no law we can follow” (by David Mathis, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-reason-to-be-really-offended).

“We need to be delivered from the power of the devil, we need death and the grave to be conquered—and our Lord Jesus Christ has done it all.  And beyond all that, we need a new nature, because we need not only forgiveness of sins, but to be made fit to have communion and fellowship with God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 19th).

“He delivers us also from the power and from the pollution of sin.  His work is such that He takes away our sin in a more vital sense.  We are growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord; we are increasingly being made to conform to the image of His Son. We are being delivered—we have been, we are, and we shall be ultimately.  The glorification is coming when He will take away our sin altogether, so that we shall be blameless and faultless and spotless and perfect in His holy presence” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 21st).

“’He died that we might be forgiven’; yes, but ‘He died to make us good’ is equally true” Martyn Lloyd Jones (ref#189, Oct 21st).  He “…gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”(Titus 2:14 ESV).

“…we must never separate sanctification from justification; we must never talk about a kind of series of separate blessings.  It is all one—it all belongs together.  And it is all a matter of this law that condemns us and from which Christ delivers us through the cross and by the gift of new life.  He went to that cruel death on the cross not only so that you and I might have pardon. Thank God, that does come out of it, that is the first thing.  But He did it really to separate, to put aside, a people for Himself as a special treasure and possession who, as Paul puts it, should be ‘zealous of good works,’ who should live a holy life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189. Oct 21st).

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

THE SINLESS LIFE

JESUS exposes the works of the devil by His sinless life: He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth”(1 Pet 2:22 ESV).  “Jesus…was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”(Heb 4:14-15 NKJV).

“He committed no act of sin” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p54).  “He remained free, uncontaminated and uncompromised” John Stott (ref#258, p62).

JESUS who knew no sin exposes sin.  “He exposes the perversion and the twistedness of evil—the foulness and ugliness of sin.  In His teaching He is undoing the lie, the works of Satan….He gets down to the depth…In the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, He says, ‘You do not have to commit sin; just to look with lust in your eyes is sufficient’ (Matt 5:28)” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).

FATHER, this proves to me that committing acts of sin are only symptoms; the disease is my depraved nature .  This is not a fact I figure out on my own.  In the words of Scripture delivered by JESUS I find the Truth.

“Jesus…said, ‘I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind’”(John 9:39 MSG).

“He has established…once and for ever, that the only life worthy to be called life is one which is lived in utter, absolute conformity to the commands of the holy God; in His life He denies the lie of the devil” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).  “This was his victory.  The devil could gain no hold on him and was obligated to concede defeat” John Stott (ref#258, p62).

“…the blessed hope that faces us as Christian people is that He will destroy these works of the devil utterly, completely and finally; evil and sin will be finally destroyed out of existence, burnt, destroyed for ever” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p69).

FATHER, I desire to contemplate this sinless life of CHRIST knowing that it is thoroughly He that restores my life.  Though through His death on the cross I am no more a captive of sin, still sin entangles me.  Therefore I need CHRIST to cloth me in His righteousness lest I die before You, Holy FATHER.