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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 4


A Walk in Conformity to God's Ways

God's will is not an intangible, indefinite thing. Indeed so practical is it that it stretches itself over our entire manner of living claiming the authority to fashion our daily walk.

Deut. 5:33, "Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess."

1 Kings 3:14, "And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy Father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days."

Over the family life of His children the heavenly Father presides and He fully expects to counsel with them regarding the kind of clothes they wear; the books they read; the studies they pursue; the companions they seek; the business they enter; the money they spend; the possessions they have; the life plans they form; their habits of recreation and play as well as of work; and their food and drink. Radiating from the will of God as the center there are ways of thinking, talking, resting, working, playing, eating, dressing, living which are consistent with our home life in the heavenlies and are worthy of the training which we have received of our Father.

Phil. 1:27, "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ."

Phil. 2:15, "That ye may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world."

Yet there are prodigals in the Father's family who despising the restraints in the Father's home go their own way into the far country. There are others who remain at home but reserve the right in certain matters to conform their ways to those of the world. There are Christian men who contend that in business one must use the methods of the world to succeed even if they are somewhat shady and dishonoring. There are earnest Christian women who in matters of dress follow the extreme fashions of the world. There are both men and women who in most of their ways of life have sought and followed the Lord's guidance, yet in one supreme choice - that of a partner for life - have disobeyed God's direct command to marry "in the Lord," and a life of suffering and sorrow has often been the result. There are leaders o the Church even who have departed so far from God's ways of financing His work that they have filled the house of prayer with the tables of money changers. Many a Christian has ceased to walk in the will of God because at some definite point he has departed from the ways of God. To be filled again with God's Spirit will mean to return to the place of disobedience in confession of sin and then start right in God's  way.

1 Peter 1:14, "As children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance."

Romans 12:2, "And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

But it is not only in what we do but in what we do not do that we fail to follow the ways of the Lord. In so many homes God seems to figure so little in the ordinary life of week days. The family attend church together on Sunday and perhaps the children are sent to Sunday School but there is no family altar, no blessing at the table, no mention of God in conversation.

A Walk in Obedience to the Word of God

Some may plead ignorance of the will of God as an excuse for disobedience. But God does not ask us to walk in the dark. God has spoken to us and His will is clearly revealed in His Word. Over and over again in the Old Testament God commanded the children of Israel to hearken unto His voice and then to do what they heard. And He commanded parents to teach their children that the children also might walk in the will and way of God. "The word 'obey' comes from a Latin compound, it means that you do in consequence of what you hear." In the New Testament God makes the same appeal to His children.

Deut. 28:1, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth."

James 1:22-24, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was."

To walk in the whole will of God requires that we walk in the whole truth of God. Some err and depart from walking in God's ways because they reserve to themselves the right to become critics of God's Word and to accept or reject it according to the dictates of reason. But how can one do the will of God when he has rejected some portion of the Word of God which possibly he most needs? Will one who has rejected the personality of the Holy Spirit pay much attention to the command "Be filled with the Spirit"? Another may have refused to accept the truth of a life of victory over the power of sin even thinking it an unscriptural doctrine. Then he is not likely to obey the command to reckon himself dead to sin and to let it not reign over him. Walking in the will of God demands a walking in the truth of God.

2 John 4, "I rejoice greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father."

3 John 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

~Ruth Paxon~

(continued with # 5)

Acquiring Wisdom

The most obvious source of godly wisdom is the Bible. You cannot think of a question or life circumstance about which God’s Word is silent. His principles for right character, conduct, and conversation apply to every situation and decision confronting human beings.

We’re all able to recall times when we didn’t respond wisely. Those incidents can be traced back to one of two possibilities—either we didn’t know a certain biblical principle or we knew the principle that applied but chose to ignore or violate it. To ensure that we’ are familiar with God’s standards and the importance of following them, we’ve got to dig into His Word.

For example, suppose that you walk into the office and a coworker verbally assaults you with undeserved blame for a costly mistake. Your flesh and the world would have you respond in kind with anger and malice. But Luke 6:27-29 offers a different approach, that might go something like this: “Is there anything else? Thank you for telling me how you feel” (spoken gently). 

Knowledge comes from learning biblical principles; wisdom has to do with applying them. The Lord cautions us to keep His Word in our heart and in our heads so that we will heed His instructions (Ps. 119:11; Prov. 8:33).

Wisdom is acquired as we pursue the Christian life—absorbing Scripture, doing what it says, and observing the result, which is for our good even when consequences appear less than favorable. Special classes aren’t required; God simply wants obedient hearts and a willing spirit.

~Charles Stanley~

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 3


A Chinese Christian came to talk with me about her old mother for whom she was greatly burdened. She was an ardent idolater and for more than thirty years had been a devoted vegetarian. The daughter had preached the Gospel to her mother, had prayed for her, and had plead with her to become a Christian, but to no avail. The mother's heart hardened rather than softened. "Why does God not hear my prayer for my mother?" she asked almost as though chiding God. I had watched the daughter's face as she talked; there were hard lines in it that were the outward token of inward rebellion. A bit of gentle probing and soon with a flood of tears came the confession of awful rebellion toward God because He had taken her five boys one after another home to Himself - the baby having gone only a month before. "God is unfair and unloving, yea, even cruel!" such was the language of her soul. The will of God was not good and perfect but unjust and unkind. Hardness of heart followed upon rebellion. But God wrought a miracle of grace that day by enabling her joyously to accept and submit to the gracious will of God. Oh! the riches of His grace! The next day in a way wholly inexplicable except by God's supernatural working the old mother came a long distance in from the country to see her daughter. Startled by something in the daughter's face which she had never seen there before she asked what had happened. Then followed the confession of her rebellion toward God because of her affliction and of the hardness of her heart. The old mother's heart was strangely moved and softened and very shortly it opened to admit the Saviour. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous - nevertheless afterward ..."

We shall suffer through trials and tribulations permitted to test the sincerity of our surrender and the reality of our faith. Abraham was permitted to build the altar, to lay on the wood, to bind Isaac, to lay him on the altar, to stretch forth his hand, yea, even to take the knife to slay his own son, before the angel of the Lord called unto him from heaven, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Some such test may be used by God to bring into the light the quality of our surrender and faith.

1 Peter 1:6-7, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

In conversation with a godly man who verily walked with his Lord the fact was disclosed that the life of joy and peace in the Lord which he then enjoyed had come only after he had walked through a hailstorm of trial which had stripped him of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you could not have bought him back to his former life had you laid that amount in cash upon his table.

In a recent trouble in Nanking, China, many of the Chinese Christians lost all their earthly possessions. But their hearts were filled with praise that God had counted them worthy to suffer thus for Christ.

Some pamphlets and books which have reached a circulation of hundreds of thousands and have brought untold blessings to countless persons were written by a man whose body is so frail that he can write for only a few moments at a time. But everything that comes from his pen breathes forth the joy and peace of a heart sunk deep into submissiveness to the will of God.

Again some have faltered by the way and failed to walk obediently because they have murmured at God's choice of a path. They rejoiced in the thought of being "made perfect in every good work to do his will" but they mistook a good work for a great work. Instead God asked for a quiet walk with Him in the obscurity of the home perchance ministering to the needs of an aged parent or a sick sister. God's will was to live joyously before Him and patiently before others, following the example of Him who as truly did His Father's will when making tables in the carpenter shop and assisting in the support of a widowed mother as when He fed five thousand people or taught the multitude. Only a very few of those who were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost were made apostles; most of the one hundred and twenty were sent back into the ordinary life of business and home.

God wishes us at the very beginning of our walk with Him to accept His will as "good and perfect and acceptable" and then to enter into each day sinking our will into His and submitting with joy and gladness to whatever comes during its hours knowing that every testing and trial is being used by Him to mature our growth into the likeness of our Lord.

Hebrews 13:21, "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations (trials): Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 4 - "A Walk in Conformity to God's Ways")


Acts 28:23-24 provides us a great example of the next "P" of evangelism,

So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.  And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

Some people are going to need to be persuaded, they are going to need more than proclamation, because they are honestly grappling with questions that need to be dealt with.  Those questions are like roadblocks in front of them that will need to be removed so they can advance and embrace the gospel.

They may have questions like, "Well, why can't other religions save?  Why does Jesus have to be the only way?"  Or, "What's this deal about the Jews?  Why did the Savior have to come from the Jews?"  Or it may be, "What about people who don't hear?  How could it be fair that they would perish?"

When people have questions like these, they are genuinely seeking answers, so give them Biblical reasons.  If you don't have an answer, tell them you don't know.  Say, "You know what?  That's a good question, and I don't know the answer.  But I'm going to find one for you."  Then go study your Bible and find the answer.

Or go to the Bible bookstore and find a book that deals with that subject.  Or ask a Christian friend who knows more than you do and find an answer.  Then go back to the person and give them an answer.

You will find that when you give people legitimate Scriptural answers, they will respond and often be saved. 

~Bayless Conley~

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 2


It is well for us to know at the very beginning of our walk in obedience to God that it will mean testing through suffering. We have the pattern for such a walk in the earthly life of our Lord. "Though he were a Son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Think of it - HE learned obedience! With a sinless nature that rejoiced above everything else to do His Father's will we would think there would have been no necessity for Him to learn obedience. But the Word tells us that He needed to learn obedience and that this was accomplished through the thing that He suffered! Is there one of us who does not need to begin in the primary and go clear through the university in the school of obedience? And if our divine Teacher learned what He would teach us on this great theme through suffering can we expect to learn it in any other way? God does not deceive us in this matter and tells us plainly that we shall be partakers of Christ's sufferings, and this in full accord with His will.

1 Peter 4:12-13, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

1 Peter 4:19, "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

We shall suffer through the misunderstanding, reproach and rejection of those who refuse the Lord Jesus the rule over their lives. It may even be that those of our own household will inflict upon us the keenest suffering we will ever endure. "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Even our well-doing may be evil spoken of and our work and prayer for the salvation of those we love be wholly misinterpreted. But remember Him who "came unto his own and his own received him not;" who was accused of "casting out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils," and who wept over Jerusalem saying, "How often would I ... and ye would not."

1 Peter 3:16-17, "Having a good conscience; that wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing."

1 Peter 4:14, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

We shall suffer through the chastening which in His infinite love God sees is necessary for our spiritual growth. We need to keep constantly in mind the goal which God as set for us - conformity to the image of His Son. "And this is the will of God even your sanctification."  "Be ye holy even as I am holy." It is a wondrous thing God wills to work out in us and He has His own method of doing it. To polish the vessel into greater perfection God often uses the method of chastening. No words are so clear and comforting on this theme as those of Scripture itself.

Hebrews 12: 6-13, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he reveiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

I think of a dear friend whose life is daily being refined as by fire through a terrible affliction which has come upon her only daughter. While talking with her I have seen her face radiant with the light that can come only from a heart at rest in the will of God at the same time her yes have been blinded with tears. Through her affliction she has become a partaker of the holiness of God.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 3)

I Am A Stranger With Thee

Psalm 39:12
I am a stranger with thee.
Yes, O Lord, with Thee, but not to Thee. All my natural alienation from Thee, Thy grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with Thyself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. Thou art a stranger in Thine own world. Man forgets Thee, dishonours Thee, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows Thee not. When Thy dear Son came unto His own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. Never was foreigner so speckled a bird among the denizens of any land as Thy beloved Son among His mother's brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords which once bound my soul to earth, and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these Babylonians among whom I dwell an outlandish tongue, my manners are singular, and my actions are strange. A Tartar would be more at home in Cheapside than I could ever be in the haunts of sinners. But here is the sweetness of my lot: I am a stranger with Thee. Thou art my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed society! My heart burns within me by the way when thou dost speak to me, and though I be a sojourner, I am far more blest than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who dwell in their ceiled houses.

"To me remains nor place, nor time:
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.
While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none:
But with a God to guide our way,
'Tis equal joy to go or stay."

~Charles Sprgeon~

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 1


We often make the mistake of thinking that life lived in the will of God means all sunshine and no storms; that to be filled with the Spirit means exemption from temptation and suffering. But it is not so. A few days ago I started for a walk down a mountain road. The sun was shining brightly and I anticipated the pure delight of a beautiful sunset over the lake and an unclouded view of the mountains. But before long I walked straight into a rainstorm and for half an hour rain and hail came down upon me. There was nothing to do but walk right on which I did and came out later into the sunshine again. Both the sunshine and the storm were allowed by the Father in Heaven. So we find it in our walk with Him in daily life. Two things are bound to be encountered in a walk in obedience to the will of God; one is the temptation of satan, and the other the testings of God.

Every step of the walk in the will of God will be contested by the evil one whose own greatest sin is self-will. He seduced God's first man into disobedience and self-will and the persistent attack that he made upon the second Man throughout His earthly life had but one motive back of it - to deflect Him from a walk of implicit obedience to His Father. The Spirit-filled man is now his chief target and the temptation of disobedience is the one fiery dart above all others that he constantly aims at him.

The devil tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of presumption. He tempts him to go beyond the will of God in the matter of the Spirit's manifestation. He says to him, "If thou be Spirit-filled, then speak in tongues." Many earnest people today are being led astray by thinking to prove their reception of the Spirit's fullness by some outer, visible, spectacular manifestation rather than by his inner supernatural presence in power. In this they go beyond the will of God because they go beyond the Word of God.

satan tempts also through another form of presumption, to lag behind the will of God. He tempts the Spirit-filled man to rely upon his spiritual attainment and to neglect the study of God's Word for personal growth. Resting in his supposed permanent fullness he begins to live on stale manna; to rely for strength upon his own oft-repeated testimony; to trust in an unconsciously receding experience. More than one Spirit-filled person has lost his fullness by attempting to live off of it without a constant replenishing.

The devil tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of pride. The Holy Spirit's motto is "Christ everything;" satan's motto is "Anything but Christ." So he tempts the Spirit-filled man to look away from Christ and to look in unto self. He has achieved a real victory when he gets the Spirit-filled man to rejoice in his fullness and to testify regarding his blessing rather than to rejoice in the Giver of the fullness and to sing praises unto the Blesser. The grave danger of fixing one's eyes upon an experience, however exalted and blessed, instead of upon Him who bestowed it was expressed very tellingly by Spurgeon when he said,

I looked at Christ
And the dove of peace flew into my heart;
I looked at the dove of peace -
And it flew away."

The one who places such emphasis upon the blessing is very apt to look reproachfully upon those who have not a similar one. He becomes self-righteous and indulges in criticism and Pharisseeism. He looks down upon others with a "holier than thou" attitude which is evidence enough of the diminishing fullness of the Holy Spirit.

satan tempts the Spirit-filled man along the line of persecution. satan's one purpose is to deflect him from obedience and if he cannot do it by pressure from within he will attempt it by persecution from without. The Spirit-filled men of the early Church were stoned, beaten, imprisoned and killed. The form of persecution endured today by the Spirit-filled Christian may take a different form but it is none the less real. He who stands four-square for "the whole Gospel in the whole Bible for the whole world" in these days of apostasy is bound to endure persecution. Many a person has given place to the devil in the matter of his faith because he could not endure the taunt of being "unscholarly" or "unintellectual" or because he did not have the courage of his conviction in the atmosphere of opposition and denial. But such persecution is certain to come to every godly believer.

2 Timothy 3:11-12, "Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I enured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

In this walk of obedience to God's will will we shall be met also by the testings of God. Sometimes it has happened that one who has refused to yield to the temptations of satan has succumbed to defeat through the testings of God. There is a subtle danger that one who has lived a consistent, yielded, devoted Christian life may think that he has gained thereby a place of special favor in God's family circle and that he merits exoneration from the sufferings of adversity or affliction. A very earnest, active Christian man recently uttered a doubt as to the goodness of God because He had permitted an affliction to come into his home. But let us beware of ever thinking that God's love and goodness mean favoritism, and above all let us not lose the blessing out of even the keenest suffering God permits us to endure by failing to trust Him.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2)

How Did Jesus "Empty Himself"?

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. — Philippians 2:5–8

This passage is so rich; we only have space to examine one jewel. It’s the phrase, He “made himself nothing” (v.7a). Notice, Jesus “made Himself.” He didn’t get a memo. He wasn’t pushed out of heaven. He was fully engaged in God’s whole plan!
That phrase there, “made himself nothing,” is actually the basis for a lot of false teaching. Some translations rightly put it, “He emptied Himself.” Then the question becomes, emptied Himself of what? Some falsely suggest that Jesus emptied Himself of Deity and that He literally became a first-century Jewish man; that there was no God, just Jesus, the man. But the Bible teaches the Incarnation of Jesus, 100 percent God; 100 percent man, undiminished Deity dwelling in humanity.
You ask, “Well, what did He empty Himself of then?”
Answer, at least five things:
  • He emptied Himself of glory. In John 17:5, Jesus prayed, “Glorify me...with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” He gave up the adoration of the saints and angels when He came into this world.
  • He emptied Himself of independent authority. In John 5:30, Jesus said, “I can do nothing on My own.” He brought Himself into a different relationship with the Father, where ALL of His activities and actions had to be cleared in that unusual way. Though equal with the Father, now uniquely submissive to Him.
  • He released the voluntary exercise of His divine attributes. Compare John 1:43–51 with Matthew 24:36 to see how Jesus sometimes was omniscient and sometimes not.
  • He gave up eternal riches. I just want you to try to imagine for a moment the treatment that the Son of God, the King of the universe, gets in heaven. Yet 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “...though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
  • He gave up His intimate relationship with the Father. Who can describe the fellowship that exists between the first and second Person of the Trinity? And to hear Jesus on the cross in Matthew 27:46 shouting, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” He made Himself nothing—for you and me.
~James MacDonald~

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Believer's Part In Becoming Spirit-filled # 1

Life On The Highest Plane


In response to surrender and faith the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. As he is emptied of "self", God fills; as he takes of Christ, God gives. Becoming rightly related to the Holy Spirit he becomes spiritual. In him the Spirit dwells in fullness because over him He has unhindered control. But the matter cannot be left there for many a person has been filled with the Holy Spirit who has not remained filled and life on the highest plane presumes habitual fullness of the Holy Spirit.

A Step Lengthens into a Walk

Surrender and faith as antecedents in becoming Spirit-filled were both acts. By an act of yielding one takes the step out of a life ruled by self into one governed by Christ. By an act of faith one claims his birthright in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and steps out of a life of stagnancy into one of satisfaction and sufficiency.

To many this step marks such a definite and marvelous advance in spiritual living that it is as noteworthy an event in their spiritual history as was their new birth through faith in Christ as Saviour. The blessing of a life in which Christ is really all and in all is so transcendent that many stop short with the enjoyment of the blessing and do not seek to know how it is to be maintained. To their disappointment they wake some day to the realization that their peace and power have gone.

The twofold act of surrender and faith to be of any permanent value must become an attitude. The decisive act must be crystallized into continuous action. Surrender and faith must be merged into obedience. Obedience is just surrender and faith stretched over a lifetime; the step is lengthened into a walk.

Scripture speaks often of the believer's walk and means by the word his whole manner of living from Sunday to Sunday, from morning till morning. Our walk is what we are translated into what we do; it is character expressed in conduct. It is our calling in Christ in the heavenlies actualized in conduct before men in the world.

1 Thess. 2:12, "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."

Ephesians 4:1, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."

To remain spiritual it is of paramount importance that the believer should pay attention to his walk. Let us then study the nature of the walk of a Spirit-filled Christian.

A Walk in Obedience to God's Will

Obedience is the basic principle in the family life of God. The Son's incarnate life opened the door into the home life of Heaven and let us see that obedience to the will of the Father is the secret of its happiness and harmony. Indeed Christ said that obedience constitutes the family tie.

Matthew 12:50, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Obedience is likewise the basic principle in the heavenly holy order of which Christ is the Head. To become the Head of the body He was "obedient even unto death" and each member of the body partakes of the fullness of the life He bestows only through obedience to the obedient One. The preciousness and permanence of our abiding in the fellowship of His love is determined by our obedience to His will as He was obedient to His Father's.

Hebrews 5:8-9, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."

John 15:10, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

Obedience is the basic principle in the Kingdom of God. There God's will is everything. The peace, joy, content of Heaven are due to the fact that there God's will is done perfectly. So life in the Kingdom of God is conditioned upon willingness to do His will.

Matthew 6:10, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

Nothing short of loving obedience can keep us in harmony with God because in His family, His society and His Kingdom, His will is sovereign and supreme.

In yielding his life to God the believer acknowledges that God has a right to expect obedience from him and he accepts God's will as the invariable standard for literally everything in his life. By voluntarily choosing the rule of Christ instead of that of self he places himself in the center of God's will.

Then begins the practice of the will of God in a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment walk. Oh! what a difference there is soon found to be between accepting the will of God in principle and submitting to it in practice. It is one thing by one decisive act to put the hand into God's and say, "Father, I have come to do thy will," and quite another thing to keep it there in the daily walk of life saying, "Father, I delight to do thy will; it is my meat and drink." Through the pressure of some particular need or under the power of some special inspiration the step out of self-will into God's will may be taken without the realization that the step must lengthen into a continued, sustained, habitual walk.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2)

Leaning Sides

"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" (Song of Sol. 8:5).
Some one gained a good lesson from a Southern prayer meeting. A brother asked the Lord for various blessings--as you and I do, and thanked the Lord for many already received--as you and I do; but he closed with this unusual petition: "And, O Lord, support us! Yes support us Lord on every leanin' side!" Have you any leaning sides? This humble man's prayer pictures them in a new way and shows the Great Supporter in a new light also. He is always walking by the Christian, ready to extend His mighty arm and steady the weak one on "every leanin' side."
"Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
'I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms
Of My Own love.'
Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds the government of worlds.
Yet closer come: Thou art not near enough.
I would embrace thy care;
So I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I knew it.
Doubt not then;
But Loving Me, lean hard."
~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Believer's Part In Becoming Spirit-filled # 18

Life On The Highest Plane



Or do you say, "Just receiving the gifts of God's grace is too easy and lazy a way to live the Christian life. I think I ought to work a bit myself and strive to attain to a holy life. I do not like the idea of sitting passive and having spiritual blessings bestowed upon me." This sounds commendable but it runs counter to one of the greatest truths revealed in God's Word concerning faith. "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." There is not a ray of encouragement held out in God's Word to the man who strives to attain spirituality through his own self-effort. There are those who know that salvation cannot be secured by works but who think that spirituality may be so obtained. They know they can't be saved by works but they strive to grow by works. We do grow in spirituality by faith but we can never grow into spirituality by self-effort. Growth is "not of works lest any man should boast." "Ye can not by taking thought add one cubit to your stature." Making good resolutions, signing pledges, practicing self-denial during certain seasons, and all such self-manufactured methods of obtaining spirituality, will prove futile. If we could grow into holiness through any effort of our own how proud we should become and how independent of God.

Or you say, "Such a standard of spiritual life is too high for the ordinary  everyday Christian. It may be possible for the minister or the missionary but it is beyond my reach." Yes, it is beyond the reach of everything in you except your faith. But so long as God says, "All things are possible to him that believeth," the fullness of the Holy Spirit is possible to faith. God has no favorites and, what He offers to one believer, He offers to every believer irrespective of his calling or vocation.

Or you say, "I have been a Christian for years and I have never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in me. Then how can I believe He will fill me? If I just felt He was dwelling within me, I would have faith to believe in His infilling." Your order then is feeling, faith, fact, which is the exact reverse of God's order. God says, "Fact, faith, feeling." We are ever prone to trust our feelings rather than God's facts and it is like having the roots of faith going down into quicksand. The state of the weather, the state of our health, the state of our pocketbook, these and  countless other variable conditions may affect our feelings. To place any confidence whatever in them is exceedingly disastrous. God would have you say, "It is a fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within me for God's Word says so. it is a fact that God wants me filled with the Spirit because He commands me to be filled and He has provided for that fullness. Therefore by faith I claim the fullness of the Holy Spirit." Whatever feeling God wishes to accompany or follow this act of faith will come in His own time and way.

So, my friend, if you are coming to God telling Him that you long to be filled with the Holy Spirit and yet saying any of these foolish things, either you are not honest and really do not want to be filled with the Holy Spirit or else you do not believe He is honest when He offers you the gift of the Spirit's fullness.

Are you honest? Do you truly want to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Then acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit within you; thank God that He is there; and claim His fullness as your birthright. Take the gift, thank the Giver, and use the gift immediately in winning souls to Christ.

By an act of faith I receive the Spirit's fullness. By a constant succession of acts of faith, the Spirit's fullness becomes habitual. "Let me ask you to remember that there is no such thing as a once-for-all fullness; it is a continuous appropriation of a continuous supply from Jesus Christ Himself: - a moment-by-moment faith in a moment-by-moment filling. As I trust Him, He fills me; so long as I trust Him He fills me, the moment I begin to believe, that moment I begin to receive; and so long as I keep believing, praise the Lord! so long I keep receiving!

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 - "The Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled = Obedience")

He Does According to His Will

He does according to His Will In Heaven and on Earth!

"The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior's Grace Displayed!")

"His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth." Daniel 4:34-35
"Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him!" Psalm 115:3 

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:6 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the sole Lord and Lawgiver of His Church. All His laws proceed from His loving heart--and are framed with a view to His people's good, and His own glory. They are all merciful, just, and necessary. They cannot be dispensed with--or His glory would be obscured, and His people injured. 

Jesus reigns over His people, He reigns in them, He reigns for them! He reigns . . .
  over them, by His Word and servants, 
  in them, by His grace and Spirit, 
  for them, by His wise and holy providence. 

He can do as He will--for His power is absolute! 

He will do as He has said--for His faithfulness is unimpeachable!

Every being in creation is under His eye!

Every movement in the universe, is by His power and permission! 

Nothing is too insignificant for Him to regard. 

Nothing is too cunning to escape His all-penetrating eye! Nothing in all creation is hidden from His sight. All things are naked and open before Him--and sin has no covering. 

He does according to His will in Heaven, earth, and Hell! He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers! He brings princes to naught, and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing! He remains King forever!

His people love His person, His government, and His laws! Whatever the sovereign King does--pleases all His redeemed people. 

He is the omnipotent Lord God--and He reigns and rules over all! 

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6 

~James Smith~

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Believer's Part in Becoming Spirit-filled # 17

Life On the Highest Plane



What does one usually do with a gift? He receives it and thanks the giver. This is precisely what God wants you to do with this wondrous gift of the Holy Spirit's fullness. Let me illustrate by a simple incident which brought this message to my own heart with fresh meaning and power.

A dear young Chinese girl came one evening to seek the way of salvation. That night she not only received Christ as Saviour but yielded to Him as Lord. Immediately she was filled with a passion to win to Christ the young man to whom she was betrothed. He was utterly godless. After months of intercession, personal work and, above all, exemplifying Christ in daily life before Him she won him to Christ. A marvelous miracle of renewal and transformation was wrought in him. He became a new creation in Christ.

Nearly two years later Mr. and Mrs. Wang were passing through Shanghai and they came to call. Their time was limited and Mr. Wang did not want to waste one moment of it. So as soon as the introduction was over he began conversation upon the theme nearest to his heart - the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh! how precious Christ was to that young man! What a reality prayer was. Out of every hour of the day he spent at least five minutes in prayer. What a passion he had for souls! He could not sleep at night if he had not made at least an effort to win someone to Christ during the day. What a love for the Word of God he had! It was his meat and drink.

Seeing his love for God's Word I was reminded of a Scofield Bible which had been sent me to give to a Chinese friend. I presented it to Mr. Wang saying, "I see you love the Bible. here is a Scofield Bible which I should like to give you." At the mention of a Scofield Bible his face grew radiant and the tears of joy filled his eyes. "Oh," said he, "the other day I saw a Scofield Bible in Nanking and how I have wanted to possess one ever since! I began to pray for one. I wen to a store to buy one. It cost too much, I couldn't afford it. I had decided I couldn't possess one."

Remember the three ways of gaining possession. Mr. Wang had tried to buy the Bile and it cost too much; no one had offered to exchange one for anything he had. Just one way of possession was open to him to receive it as a gift. And now the Scofield Bible which he so much desired was being offered to him as a gift. What did he do?

Did he say, "Oh! I want that Bible more than I want any other thing but I haven't prayed long enough for it - just wait until I pray a few months more for it!" Or did he say, "I am really not worthy to receive that Bible! I must wait until I have made myself a better Christian and am worthy to possess such a Bible!" Or did he reply, "This Bible is coming too easily - just  receiving it as a gift! I think I should strive harder to get one for myself for I haven't done a thing to merit such a gift." Or did he say, "Oh, that Scofield Bible is what I want and need more than anything else but it is not for me! God might give my wife such a gift but not me!" Or did he say, "You say that Bible is for me but I do not feel that it is mine so I think I should not take it until I feel I possess it!"

If Mr. Wang had made any one of those foolish absurd remarks I should have been forced to one of two conclusions; either that he was not honest and really did not want a Scofield Bible or else he thought I was not honest and did not really offer that one to him. One of these two conclusions is inescapable.

What did Mr. Wang do? Well, I wish you could have seen the quickness with which he held out his two hands and took that Scofield Bible and with a face all aglow with joy and gratitude he immediately kneeled down and thanked God. As he rose to his feet he began to talk to how he would use that gift in winning men to the Lord Jesus.

Have you wanted the fullness of the Holy Spirit? God offers Him in His fullness to you as a gift. What have you done with the offer? Are you still praying for the Holy Spirit's fullness? If so, what do you expect to accomplish through your prayers? The deposit is already placed to your account in the bank. You are still pleading with God to put it there while He pleads with you to cash your checks. "You keep telegraphing to God for supplies, and every year your appeals get more plaintive and piteous; you do not realize that the freight train is already in the station, waiting for you to discharge it; that the heavily-burdened ship is in the dock, ready for you to unload."

Or you say, "I am not worthy to be filled with the Holy Spirit" and "I dare not expect Him to fill me until I am a better Christian." Of course you are not worthy to have the Holy Spirit dwell in you much less fill you. Neither was Paul, nor Peter, nor Spurgeon, nor Moody, worthy in themselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God's gift of grace and grace is pure, unmerited favor. Grace is not something God does because of anything that He finds worthy in us but because of the infinite worth of His Son. The only thing you can do to make yourself worthy of the Holy Spirit's fullness is to take Him as God' proffered gift and let Him make you life a fit and worthy place for His abiding.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 18)

The Fullness of God in You

Have you ever wondered if you are a "whole person"? We all have struggles in life that could make us feel incomplete, but the apostle Paul says we can be "filled up to all the fullness of God" (v. 19). What does that look like?

A "whole person" is generally satisfied with life. He feels loved and is able to love others in return. Difficulties and hardships don't devastate him, because he is able to go through them with confidence in God. He isn't a complainer or someone who is quick to blame others. A positive attitude guards his mind since he knows that the Lord will work everything out for good (Rom. 8:28).

Being a Christian doesn't automatically make us feel complete. Fullness comes only when we experience God's love for us. For many years, I knew theologically that the Lord loved me. I even preached about it, but I didn't really feel it. Only after I took a deep look at my life and started dealing with events that had fractured my soul in childhood did I begin to experience His love in an intimate way. Once I felt the security of His love for me, I discovered great joy in walking in obedience to His will. The reason was that I knew I could trust Him to meet all my needs in His time and way.

Do you feel God's love, or is it just a biblical fact to you? If you long for wholeness, the key is to experience an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This is possible only when you're willing to open up and let the Lord search your heart. He'll reveal what's holding you back from accepting His love.

~Charles Stanley~

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Believer's Part In Becoming Spirit-filled # 16

Life On The Highest Plane



Look upon the boulders that rolled one after another against the life of the Apostle Paul which it would seem might have crushed out his very life.

2 Corinthians 11:24-28, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness, Besides those thing that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."

Yet his faith spread itself over all these perils and persecutions, testings and trials and rooted itself in the great, eternal facts of God's grace and love, thus enabling him to grow up to magnificent spiritual stature.

But Paul's life was exceptional you say. He was the giant tree in the forest. There are few who ever have a faith such as his. In the far interior of China was a young missionary who was betrothed. The wedding day drew near; all preparations for it were made. Then word came that her lover will ill. A long three days' journey stretched between her and her loved one living alone. Down upon that woman's heart rolled a terrific boulder of sorrow. Absolutely alone she watched the life of the one dearest to her on earth flicker out, with her own hands she prepared the body for burial, made the coffin, and laid him away to rest, herself conducting the funeral service. Then she turned to the road that led her back to live and toil along for the rest of her life in the Master's vineyard. Rebellious? Embittered? No, sweetened, enriched with greater tenderness, love and devotion. But how could it be? The roots of faith had spread out over that terrible sorrow and had gone down, down, deep, deep into the facts of God's unchanging love, imperishable goodness and exhaustless grace.

Faith Reckons on God's Faithfulness

Our faith may falter but His faithfulness never. Peter failed Christ oh! so miserably that three times over he could deny his Lord. But the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to Peter remained unshaken. The heavenly Father cannot forget His promises nor can He deny Himself by failing to keep them.

Psalm 89:33, "Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail."

2 Timothy 2:13, "If we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself."

We may even be ready to give up in defeat to the enemy or to lay down our task in sheer discouragement. We may be on the point of taking our hand from the plough and turning back. But Christ is not discouraged; He will not give up; He acknowledges no victory on the devil's part. He has called us into fellowship with Himself; He has owned us as His possession and has assumed the responsibility for our control and He will not lay it aside. What He has begun in us He will continue. His work in us does not depend upon our love for Him but on His love for us: not faith in our faith but faith in His faithfulness is what He
wants from us.

Phil. 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

1 Thess. 5:24, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."

I watched two young girls cross a glacier. The path was not clearly marked out, there were great gaping holes in the ice, often the next step had to be fairly cut out. They were not even properly shod with spiked shoes. Yet they tripped along apparently unafraid and in safety because they were roped to one who knew how to avoid the dangers and surmount the difficulties of that icy path and they reckoned on the faithfulness of their guide.

How much more can we reckon upon the faithfulness of our  Guide who knows the way before us and whose business it is to lead us safely through all its dangers and difficulties. Our Guide delights to have us throw away all props and helps; to let go of everything outside of Himself and then cast ourselves full length upon His unfailing faithfulness. "Sarah received power ... since she counted Him faithful that promised."

Faith Receives God's Fullness

Are you a child of God? Then by virtue of your sonship you may be filled with the Holy Spirit. Such fullness has been promised to you and it has been provided for you. Then why is it that you do not possess your birthright?

There are several ways for an honest man to gain possession of a thing; he may buy it, he may barter for it, or he may receive it as a gift.

Can one buy the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Simon the sorcerer thought in his heart to purchase Him and the power to confer Him upon others for which he was severely rebuked. Can His fullness be secured through barter? Have you perchance tried to strike a bargain with God offering Him some odd moments of time, some remnants of strength, some segment of talent, in exchange for the fullness of the Holy Spirit? The rich young ruler would no doubt have exchanged half his possessions for the life more abundant, but he went away sorrowful. One way remains by which you may possess the Holy Spirit's fullness. It is the gift of God.

1 John 3:24, "And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 17)


"Not much earth" (Matt. 13:5).
Shallow! It would seem from the teaching of this parable that we have something to do with the soil. The fruitful seed fell into "good and honest hearts." I suppose the shallow people are the soil without much earth--those who have no real purpose, are moved by a tender appeal, a good sermon, a pathetic melody, and at first it looks as if they would amount to something; but not much earth--no depth, no deep, honest purpose, no earnest desire to know duty in order to do it. Let us look after the soil of our hearts.
When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey it would probably be fatal, he answered, "It is necessary for me to go; it is not necessary for me to live."
This was depth. When we are convicted something like that we shall come to something. The shallow nature lives in its impulses, its impressions, its intuitions, its instincts, and very largely its surroundings. The profound character looks beyond all these, and moves steadily on, sailing past all storms and clouds into the clear sunshine which is always on the other side, and waiting for the afterwards which always brings the reversion of sorrow, seeming defeat and failure.
When God has deepened us, then He can give us His deeper truths, His profoundest secrets, and His mightier trusts. Lord, lead me into the depths of Thy life and save me from a shallow experience!
On to broader fields of holy vision; On to loftier heights of faith and love; Onward, upward, apprehending wholly, All for which He calls thee from above.
--A. B. Simpson 
~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Believer's Part in Becoming Spirit-filled # 15

Life On The Highest Plane



Christ is able to save to the uttermost.

Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Has the boulder of doubt rolled in upon you? Look upon the rich soil into which your faith may root itself. If you have come to God through Christ it is a fact that Christ has born your sins and has forgiven and forgotten them; He has put away your sin and has not only removed its penalty but has freed you from its power; He has overcome the world; He has defeated the devil; He lives in Heaven as your Great High Priest, your Conqueror, your Advocate, your Intercessor to cleanse you from sin and to keep you from sinning. Then spread the roots of faith over every doubt and let them go deep into these great facts of salvation.

Christ Jesus is in you, and you and Christ are one.

Colossians 1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

John 15:5, "I am the vine: ye are the branches."

Whether you are conscious of His presence or not He is there not as a temporary guest or as One who comes and goes according to our spiritual moods but He is there as an abiding One. We may neglect Him, we may forget Him still He is there. He may be cabined in some back room but if we have every truly opened the door to Him He is there and into this precious fact He would have faith root itself.

You are God's child and heir.

Romans 8:16-17, "The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together with him."

You may feel far more like a prodigal and a pauper than like a child and an heir. But if you have put your faith in Christ as your Saviour, you are in God's family and the wealth of the King is yours. God would have your faith spread its roots over all depression caused by failure and go deep down into the soil of the riches of grace in Christ Jesus.

You are complete in Christ.

Your life may be immature in experience but God sees you complete in Christ. Your "old man" has been crucified, you have been baptized into Christ's death and identified with Him in His burial and resurrection. You are now hid with Christ in God and so you are complete in Him. Has the boulder of discouragement over your lack of growth into Christ likeness settled down upon you? Over your coldness of heart and times of apathy? Then spread the roots  of faith over it and let them go down into this great and glorious fact that you are complete in Him.

Colossians 2:10, "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."

You are seated with Christ in the heavenlies.

You may never once have availed yourself of the privileges, possessions and powers of your heavenly position yet it is a fact, nevertheless, that, if you have trusted Christ as your Saviour, you thereby are seated with Him in the heavenlies. The powers of evil may be attacking your spirit, soul, and body but they will be unable to overwhelm you if you spread the roots of faith over them and let them go down into the soil of this peerless truth.

Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."

The Holy Spirit dwells within you.

You may feel that you are left to live the Christian life alone and the weight of this responsibility may rest like a great boulder upon your heart. But you are not left alone. "Another Comforter" who is just like the ascended Lord in Heaven lives within you. Spread the roots of faith over all fear and unbelief and let them sink deep down into the fact of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16, "Know ye not that ye are the  temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

When the Christian's faith roots itself in these great, eternal facts of God and abides there he becomes spiritual. Faith quietly accepts these facts  as true and acts as though they were, then no matter what rolls in upon the life to overturn it, it remains steadfast and true and shoots heavenward in its growth into the likeness of Christ.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 16)

Sin ... Exceeding Sinful

Romans 7:13
Sin . . . exceeding sinful.
Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God. But alas! very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world: the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, "Is it not a little one?" Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and then follows an unholy presumption: "We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent." So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how thou thinkest lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer's head with thorns, and pierced His heart! It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Saviour, and you will see it to be "exceeding sinful."

~Charles Spurgeon

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Believer's Part In Becoming Spirit-filled # 14

Life On The Highest Plane



Perhaps the thought of a life of such complete and continuous faith appalls us and we doubt its possibility. Yet such faith is the simplest thing in the world. Its very simplicity is its chief difficulty to most people. Faith is looking unto Jesus Christ and taking Him at His Word. Faith in itself has no power whatsoever to save or to keep us: it merely links us to the Christ who has that power. Just as grace had a definite method in giving so faith has a definite method in receiving. Let us study some of the operations of faith.

Faith Rests on God's Foundation

The whole superstructure of spiritual experience is built upon a solid and unmovable foundation because it is built upon Jesus Christ Himself.

1 Corinthians 3:11, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

1 Peter 2:6, "Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."

Christ Jesus Himself is "the way, the truth and the life." Christ crucified, risen, ascended and exalted is God's foundation. Faith is the cable that connects and transmits the Life of the ascended Lord in Heaven to the believer on earth.

Can we not rest our faith on such a foundation? Is there any danger of it disintegrating? In His earthly life were all the forces of satan ever able to overcome Him? From the Cross did He not assure us that full salvation had been wrought out for us and that the work was finished? Did not His resurrection prove His victory over every foe? Is He not living today in countless lives as Conqueror, as Life? Upon the triumphant, omnipotent, living, present Christ our faith rests.

Some have made shipwreck of faith because they have built upon the sand of human opinion and speculation rather than upon the rock foundation of God's revealed truth. They have believed certain things about Christ but they have not believed on Christ Himself. Christ does not act as a guide-post to point out a way of salvation. He Himself is the Way. Christ does not teach principles of truth by which an unregenerate life may be guided and governed from without but Himself is the Truth to be lived out from within. Christ does not show us "a way of life" but He Himself enters to become the Life of our life. God's foundation for a spiritual life is the glorious Person and the gracious work of His crucified, risen, ascended, exalted Son and whosoever rests full length upon Him for salvation and sanctification will surely become spiritual.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand."

Again we may fall into unbelief, doubt and disappointment because we have pinned our faith to a blessing and the blessing is lost; or to an experience and the experience vanishes; or to a person and the person fails. But true faith rests not upon a blessing, however great; or upon an experience, however deep; but upon Him through whom they came; nor does it rest upon any human exponent of victory, however sincere, but upon the Victor. "He that believeth on him shall not be confounded."

Faith is Rooted in God's great Facts

Walking along a wooded path in the mountains of Switzerland I saw an interesting tree. On a steep slope was a tall, stately pine tree with huge boulder lodged right underneath it lifting the main trunk five or six feet from the ground. The tree was fairly sitting on top of this rock yet it shot straight upwards fifty feet or more. Even the winter blasts had not deflected it an iota. How could such a position be maintained with such a handicap? The secret was not hidden from our view. The roots of the tree had spread themselves over that rock and had gone down, deep, deep into the rich earth around so that even the boulder lodged at its very heart could not overturn or overwhelm it.

What a lesson it spoke! What a symbol it was! Afflictions, adversities, sufferings, sorrows, temptations, trials, doubts, disappointments roll in upon us during our pilgrim journey and lodge at the very heart of us. How then can we go on in peace, patience, power, joy and victory? Are such things not enough to overwhelm one? No, not if faith spreads itself out over them and roots itself in the great facts of God. What are some of these eternal facts which furnish faith rich soil in which to root itself? First of all:

God is Love

1 John 4:8, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

It may seem as though God had utterly forsaken and forgotten you or as though His hand of chastening were too heavy upon you. It may seem as though He had closed His eyes and deafened His ear. It may even seem as though He were indifferent altogether to the burden you carry and the heartache you endure. But it is not so for God is love and the love of God shines as the brightness of the sun whether you are warmed and refreshed by its rays or not.

God' Grace is Sufficient

2 Corinthians 12:9, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

There will be temptations but none for which God has not provided a way of escape. Trials will assail; God nowhere promises freedom from hem but He does promise endurance to bear them. When our weakness is most pressing His strength is most perfect.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 15)