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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 6

Life On The Highest Plane

So one goes to the Bible itself to see if he can run down this "modern mind" that he may know where and how to classify it. He finds only two types of "mind" mentioned; "the mind of Christ" and "the carnal mind". In Phil. 2:5-11 he finds that "the mind of Christ "believes and accepts Christ as the eternal Son, the One who was equal with God because He was God; the incarnate Son who emptied Himself of His divine glory and humbled Himself by entering into this world through the virgin's womb, thus becoming Man; the crucified Son who in obedience to His Father's will went to the death of the Cross; the ascended Son who hath been exalted to the Father's right hand and given a name above every name; the kingly Son before whom every knee shall bow some day and every tongue shall confess that He is Jesus Christ the Lord. "The mind of Christ" cannot be "the modern mind" which denies and rejects in whole or in part these glorious truths concerning the Lord Jesus.

Then it must be "the carnal mind." But "the carnal mind" is as old as Eden. The only way we can discover whether the self-styled "modern mind" is really the antiquated "carnal mind" dressed in the disguise of twentieth century scholarship is to take its finger prints. That will be adequate proof. "Hath God said?" "Ye shall not surely die." "Ye shall be as gods." Doubt and disbelief of God's Word; denial of God's Word; and deification of man and man's intellect! No further evidence  is needed. This threefold finger print marks "the modern mind" as "the carnal mind" which is enmity toward God, and His arch antagonist. The Bible of the modern preacher is "another" Bible and not "the Word of God."

Such an appalling condition in the pulpit inevitably creates an equally appalling condition in the pew. The people in many churches today are starved; they are like the famine sufferers, having to live on shrubs, bark, husks and fodder. Probably the Church was never so perfectly organized as it is today, yet it is pitifully ineffective before its tremendous task. The apostasy in the pulpit has created dwindling congregations, doubting Christians and drifting churches. The Church has drifted so far back toward the world that ofttimes the boundary line between the two spheres is almost indiscernible. Worldly policies are resorted to in the conduct of the affairs of the Church; worldly methods are employed to attract people to attend its services; worldly entertainments are given them after they come. Whatsoever a church soweth, that shall it also reap. There is a tragic harvest of thoroughly worldly churches in Christendom today.

Let us come back to the individual Christian's responsibility for the kind of work he does as a member of the body of Christ. The works of every believer in Christ will be judged and he will receive or lose his reward according to the kind of work which he has done. If he has built a superstructure upon the foundation of the pure Gospel that is gold, silver and precious stones, then his work will abide. But, if he has fashioned the superstructure out of the wood, hay and stubble of "another gospel which is not the gospel" (Galatians 1:6-7) then his work will be burned. It will not stand the test of the fire of God's judgment.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ ... Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is ... If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

It is a terrifically solemn thought that in the work which we do we are either the tool of Christ or of satan and that in the message we give we are either the mouthpiece of Christ or of the devil.

Romans 6:13, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

Matthew 16:23, "But he turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

But there is no need for any Christian to be ignorant of the kind of work that abides nor will he have any excuse to present to Christ at the judgment seat if he does the kind that must be burned. God has given us the pattern in His Book and has bestowed upon us the power in His Spirit to accomplish our part in this blessed partnership. If we fail to do, it will be because we have failed to discern.

God's Work in this Age is Accomplished Through Supernatural Power

The works of the incarnate Son were supernatural and beyond the power of any man to accomplish in himself. Those who tried to copy or to counterfeit them failed miserably. yet He told His disciples that they were to do the same works and ever greater. It is truly a supernatural task which Christ gives the Christian to do. Bringing spiritually dead men to life and making them into the image of the Son of God is in deed and truth a task beyond human power.

John 14:12, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and even greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

In the last cause of this wonderful promise He gives a clue as to how they were to be empowered for such a work. "Because I go unto my Father." By His return to Heaven supernatural power to do supernatural tasks was to be transmitted  to them. Let us follow this clue until we find the secret.

After His crucifixion and resurrection and immediately preceding His ascension He gives to His disciples the commission in which He makes mention of this power. He tells them three things: first, that all power in Heaven and upon earth resides in Him; second, that they ill be endued with this power; third, that they will receive this power through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The crucified, risen, ascended, exalted Lord in whom dwells all power in Heaven and upon earth Himself lives in all the fullness of His supernatural power in the believer through the infilling and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Some one has tersely said, "Calvary creates the worker; Pentecost empowers him."

The disciples and apostles of the first century Church were equipped and energized to do "the greater works' by the limitless power of God through the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8; Acts 13:9; Romans 15:18-19; 1 Thess. 1:5).

The same power bestowed by the same Person is open to every disciple of the twentieth century Church for the accomplishment of the same God-given task. Is that power yours today? Have you been anointed by the Holy Spirit? Are you doing "the greater works"?

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 - "The Relationships of the Spiritual Man")

Broken Things

"By reason of breakings they purify themselves" (Job 41:25).
God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts. It was the breaking down of Jacob's natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power. It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses' rod that let out the cool waters to thirsty people.
It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves, that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries. It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support.
It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death. It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand. It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house. It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live.
It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by DEATH, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains. And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God must have BROKEN THINGS.
Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God's glory. "The lame take the prey," Isaiah tells us.
O break my heart; but break it as a field
Is by the plough up-broken for the corn;
O break it as the buds, by green leaf seated,
Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;
Love would I offer unto Love's great Master,
Set free the odor, break the alabaster.
O break my heart; break it victorious God,
That life's eternal well may flash abroad;
O let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought's sacred grove to life is springing,
Be joys, like birds, their hope, Thy victory singing.
--Thomas Toke Bunch
~L. B. Cowman~

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 5

[A very important topic for us to read]

Life On The Highest Plane

The work of the early Church was all-comprehensive. The God-man who inaugurated it knew every need of human life and planned adequately to meet and to satisfy it. Though conditions have changed, the fundamental need of human life does not vary from one century to another. The task of the Church at the very beginning was cast into an age-long mold by Christ Jesus and He has given no indication on down through the centuries of any deviation from His purpose and plan so clearly revealed in Scripture.

But no man can look upon the Church today without seeing that it has departed very far from both the purpose and the plan of God. The leaders of Christendom frankly state that the work of the Church is not to save souls but to salvage society so they have given themselves deliberately to "the purification of Sodom" rather than to "the proclamation of the Saviour." From pulpit and press they declare that "the mission of the Church is to make the world better," and "to interpret to the world the principles of Christ," so that it may win the world into living by His teachings and into following His principles. The supreme question before present day Christendom is not man's relationship to human society; the paramount issue is not God's sovereign reign in righteousness and peace over a world brought into reconciliation with Him through His Son, but it is the equalizing and solidifying of nations, races and classes through foisting upon them for their acceptance the dogma of the Fatherhood of God, whom they do not acknowledge as Father, and the brotherhood of men, whom they do not accept as brothers.

The leaders of Christendom frankly state that they preach such a "social gospel." And any one, who scans the sermon themes for Sunday in the newspaper, or who studies the subjects announced on the church calendar, has no reason to doubt their word on this point. The marvel is that with such special emphasis on social betterment themes "the world" is not more rapidly approaching the desired millennium of righteousness and peace. "The world" at heart really does not want to be "made better" so it is not going to the place where it will be coaxed or coerced into a reformation of its conduct. It will greatly appreciate anything which the Church does to make its life in sin more full of comfort and will even assist in the matter by making liberal contributions to financial drives or "community chests." But "the world" is not overtaxing the seating capacity of the churches which preach the "social gospel." When "the world" seeks entertainment it usually prefers to have it in its native haunts and its natural setting rather than to have it adulterated and spoiled by an admixture of religion. The "social gospel" is NOT filling but rather emptying the churches and many are concerned as to what new attractions can be offered to drag "the world" to church.

Let us honestly face the actual condition of the present day pulpit and pew. God still has His "seven thousand" who have not bowed to the worship of "twentieth century scholarship," who are not devotees at the shrine of "the modern mind' and who will not deify man and humanize God. Praise God that throughout the whole world there are thousands of preachers, evangelists, teachers, and missionaries who still preach the Christ of the Gospel of the Word of God and there are millions of laymen who believe that Gospel and who hold inviolate the whole Word of God.

But on the other hand there is a growing number of preachers, teachers and missionaries who today do not preach or teach the Christ of the Gospel of the Word of God. The Christ they preach is "another" Christ, the gospel is "another" gospel and the Bible is "another" Bible.

The reformation of the whole world which the "social gospel" purposes does not need the Saviour of the Cross, for man is to be his own saviour. To preach the Christ of the Cross and of the throne is to leave the realm of the practical and descend to the plane of the doctrinal, the modern teacher reasons. He declares that the world has outgrown this. But to win the world from its naughty ways and to teach it the right "way of life" he does feel the need of an example to hold up before it and of ethical precepts and principles which it can follow. The preacher of the "social gospel" can find no greater example and no better teacher than "the Jesus of history" so he does make use of Him in this capacity.

The reformation of the world which the modern preacher advocates has no place in it for the Gospel of the Word of God which is a Gospel of salvation from sin through a crucified, risen, ascended, exalted Lord. In fact the "social gospel" decries having any creed. It declares that its emphasis is on love rather than on faith and that the important thing is not what a man believes but what he is. It does not concern itself with the building of a solid foundation but only with the ornamentation of the roof. If the structure has a lovely, attractive roof garden with sweet music, fragrant flowers, captivating eloquence and happy companionship why have any anxiety over the fact that the foundation is made of sand? The "social gospel" ignores the fact so plainly revealed in Scripture that the divine order is invariably faith and then love, and that it is an absolute impossibility to build the superstructure of a spiritual life on anything but the solid foundation of a crucified, risen Saviour. So the "social gospel" is plainly not "the Gospel of Christ.

The reformation of the world which the modern pulpit so earnestly advocates has no place in it for the Scriptures as the Word of God. "The modern mind" finds it impossible to accept the Bible as such. The Bible cannot be rejected altogether for then the modern preacher would on the very face of it have to leave the evangelical pulpit immediately. But "the modern mind" finds a middle ground of compromise which it hopes the evangelical Church will be tolerant and loving enough to accept. It admits that the Bible "contains the Word of God" and modestly claims that it has been ordained by twentieth century scholarship to tell the pew what parts of it are the Word of God and which parts are not.

Such an arrogant assumption makes the true believer who loves the Bible and who believes that from Genesis to Revelation it is "the Word of God," as God Himself says it is, seek to know what this "modern mind" really is and from whence it got the authority to handle the Book of books in any such fashion.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 6)

Desperate Situations

"The angel of the Lord came upon him (Peter) and a light shined in the prison; and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off" (Acts 12:7).
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. . . . And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one's bands were loosed" (Acts 16:25, 26).
This is God's way. In the darkest hours of the night, His tread draws near across the billows. As the day of execution is breaking, the angel comes to Peter's cell. When the scaffold for Mordecai is complete, the royal sleeplessness leads to a reaction in favor of the favored race.
Ah, soul, it may have to come to the worst with thee ere thou art delivered; but thou wilt be delivered! God may keep thee waiting, but he will ever be mindful of His covenant, and will appear to fulfill His inviolable Word.
--F. B. Meyer
There's a simplicity about God in working out His plans, yet a resourcefulness equal to any difficulty, and an unswerving faithfulness to His trusting child, and an unforgetting steadiness in holding to His purpose. Through a fellow-prisoner, then a dream, He lifts Joseph from a prison to a premiership. And the length of stay in the prison prevents dizziness in the premier. It's safe to trust God's methods and to go by His clock.
--S. D. Gordon
Providence hath a thousand keys to open a thousand sundry doors for the deliverance of His own, when it is even come to a desperate case. Let us be faithful; and care for our own part which is to suffer for Him, and lay Christ's part on Himself, and leave it there.
--George MacDonald
Difficulty is the very atmosphere of miracle -- it is miracle in its first stage. If it is to be a great miracle, the condition is not difficulty but impossibility.
The clinging hand of His child makes a desperate situation a delight to Him.
~L. B. Cowman~

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 6

Life On The Highest Plane

The evangelist Philip was taken from a very successful evangelistic campaign in Samaria to the desert of Gaza to win one man. The Ethiopian eunuch was returning from Jerusalem to his home with a scroll of the prophet Isaiah which he was reading eagerly but without understanding. Philip entered his chariot, explained to him the passage and from it preached Christ. And the eunuch believed and was baptized (Acts 36:38).

Acts 8:35, "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture and preached unto him Jesus."

Paul had seen the Lord of glory on the road to Damascus and had fallen before Him believing but blinded; emptied but unfilled. In Damascus was Ananias, the layman. His name appears but once in the annals of Scripture but it is in connection with a bit of personal work that shines upon the page of Scripture as the north star shines in the heavens, for through him as God's own sent messenger Paul receives his sight and is filled with the Holy Spirit. The work of salvation begun by the Lord of glory was consummated by his call to sanctification and to service through Ananias.

Acts 9:17, "And Ananias went his way and entered into the house: and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

In Caesarea was Cornelius, the centurion, a man with a devout heart and a deep hunger for God. In Joppa was Peter, a man with a passionate passion for souls and a life surrendered to his Lord for service. And in Heaven was God who works at both ends of the line sending a prepared messenger to prepared souls. The result was a whole household won to the Lord (Acts 10).

Personal testimony was another form of work in the first century Church. Who can estimate the fruitage of Paul's testimony of his conversion before the multitude and before Agrippa (Acts 22, 26).

The ministry of intercession was practiced by the first century Church. To the first Christians intercession was a working force. When Peter and John were threatened because of the healing of the lame man they gave themselves to prayer. When Peter was imprisoned "prayer was made without ceasing." Through praise and prayer Paul and Silas not only opened prison doors but the fast closed hearts of the Philippian jailer and his household. Through prevailing intercession those feeble men and women defeated and routed satan and his hosts and again and again gained for the triumphant Lord of glory a visible manifestation of His victory on Calvary. They worked through prayer.

The grace of giving was manifest in the first century Church. Filled with the Holy Spirit love for God and for their fellow men led the first disciples to lay all they possessed at His feet for His use. The coffers of the early Church were not filled by a finance campaign but by the free-hearted consecration of his material possessions to the Lord on the part of every Christian.

Acts 4:32, "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own: but they had all things common."

Administrators of the business affairs of the Church were to be found in the first century Church. But these men were not chosen because of their social prestige, their financial income, or their executive ability, but they chose men full of honesty, of wisdom, of faith and of the Holy Spirit. It was a spiritual task to which they were called which required spirituality in those who undertook it.

Acts 6:3, "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business."

Good works were part of the activities of the first century Church. The practical expression of the love of Christ in kindly deeds for the relief of physical and material needs and for the amelioration of suffering is the natural product of  vital spirituality. The genuinely spiritual man is the first to feel the touch upon the hem of his garment and to give most liberally of his sympathy and his support to those in need. The early Church had its "Dorcas" and more than once is it recorded that it sent relief to God's children.

Acts 9:36, "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcus; This woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did."

The life of the spiritual man is one full of beneficence because "the fruit of the Spirit is kindness." He delights in playing the part of the good Samaritan, he revels in carrying cups of refreshing water.

There were missionaries in the first century Church. No church can lay claim in true, apostolic succession which is not missionary in purpose, passion and program. The early Church was essentially a missionary Church. The power of God was upon it in an exceptional way because it gave itself in obedience to the fulfillment of Christ's last commission to carry the Gospel to the uttermost part of the earth. Persecution sent those first Christians everywhere preaching the Word of life.

The work of the first century Church bears upon it the seal of God and the scars of satan. The seal was power and the scars were persecution. Loyalty in preaching the Christ of the Gospel of the Word drew down from Heaven the supernatural power of God and it raised up from hell satanic persecution. Study the book of Acts and you ill see these two invariably in inevitable succession; power in preaching Christ produced persecution of the Christian and persecution of the Christian precipitated power from Christ.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 7)

In Everything

"In nothing be anxious" (Phil. 4:6).
No anxiety ought to be found in a believer. Great, many and varied may be our trials, our afflictions, our difficulties, and yet there should be no anxiety under any circumstances, because we have a Father in Heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His only-begotten Son, and whose very joy and delight it is to succor and help them at all times and under all circumstances. We should attend to the Word, "In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
"In everything," that is not merely when the house is on fire, not merely when the beloved wife and children are on the brink of the grave, but in the smallest matters of life, bring everything before God, the little things, the very little things, what the world calls trifling things -- everything -- living in holy communion with our Heavenly Father, arid with our precious Lord Jesus all day long. And when we awake at night, by a kind of spiritual instinct again turning to Him, and speaking to Him, bringing our various little matters before Him in the sleepless night, the difficulties in connection with the family, our trade, our profession. Whatever tries us in any way, speak to the Lord about it.
"By prayer and supplication," taking the place of beggars, with earnestness, with perseverance, going on and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.
"With thanksgiving." We should at all times lay a good foundation with thanksgiving. If everything else were wanting, this is always present, that He has saved us from hell. Then, that He has given us His Holy Word -- His Son, His choicest gift -- and the Holy Spirit. Therefore we have abundant reason for thanksgiving. O let us aim at this!
"And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." And this is so great a blessing, so real a blessing, so precious a blessing, that it must be known experimentally to be entered into, for it passeth understanding. O let us lay these things to heart, and the result will be, if we habitually walk in this spirit, we shall far more abundantly glorify God, than as yet we have done.
--George Mueller, in Life of Trust
Twice or thrice a day, look to see if your heart is not disquieted about something; and if you find that it is, take care forthwith to restore it to calm.
--Francis De Sales
~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 5

Life on the Highest Plane

They preached the gospel. The gospel is the heart of the Word of God. Take away the gospel, which is "that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," from the Word of God and you have nothing left but the walls of a gutted building. The core of every sermon, the heart of every message delivered by those first century preachers, was the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was this gospel that pricked the hearts and consciences of men and women and made them cry out, "What must I do to be saved?"

Acts 8:25, "And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans."

The preachers of the early Church were not ashamed of the Gospel. They had proved its power in their own lives and knew the miracle it had wrought. They had the compelling conviction that the preaching of the full gospel of Christ was the only means of changing either the sinful life of an individual or the corporate life of human society.

Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

They preached Christ. If the Gospel is the heart of the Word, Christ is the heart of the gospel. The men of that day knew the Jesus of Nazareth, Cana and Capernaum far, far better than any theological historian of the twentieth century, and how they could have entranced their audiences with stories out of His earthly life! How sweet and precious must have been their memories of the years of fellowship with Him! What countless sermons Peter and James and John could have preached about the Jesus who healed the daughter of Jairus, who was transfigured on the mount and who prayed in the garden of Gethsemane! But "the Jesus of history" was not the theme of their sermons. What pain and anguish of heart must have been mingled with every remembrance of Him as they recalled their faithlessness in the hour of His deepest need; of the cowardly denial in the presence of His enemies; of the traitorous desertion at the Cross; and of the doubt and disbelief at the tomb. It was not to the incarnate Son but to the crucified, risen, ascended, exalted Son to whom they owed their deliverance from sin, self and satan. It was this Christ and Him only whom they preached.

Acts 5:42, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."

Acts 9:20, "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."

Glance again rapidly through the book of the Acts to note the result of the preaching of the Christ of the Gospel of the Word of God. The divine record tells of conversions, baptisms additions to church membership of individuals, of households, of multitudes of men and women from all classes of society.

Let us take but a few illustrations of the marvelous power of such preaching. The Ethiopian eunuch  believed and was baptized when Philip preached Christ to him from Isa. 53:7-8 (Acts 8). The Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus  believed when he heard the doctrine from the mouths of Barnabas and Paul (Acts 13). The households of Cornelius, the Gentile centurion (Acts 10); of Lydia, the business woman (Acts 16); of the unnamed Philippian jailer (Acts 16) and of Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue (Acts 18), all were convicted of sin, converted and baptized through the preaching of the Christ of the Gospel of the Word.

There were evangelists in the first century Church. Philip was an evangelist and went from place to place preaching the Gospel. While much of the preaching in the early Church was without doubt apologetic, yet there is equal evidence that much of it was evangelistic both in content and in method. The appeal was to the heart and to the will as truly as to the mind and to the conscience, and the audiences were warned and exhorted as well as instructed and edified.

There were teachers in the first century Church. The early Church was thoroughly indoctrinated. New converts were taught the Word of God. Not only were the fundamental truths preached but they were taught to the whole Church. Need we any further proof of this than the Epistles which were written to these churches?

Paul's conception of the ministry was that it should be a teaching as well as a preaching ministry. He returned to the places where he had won converts in his missionary tours and sometimes stayed one or two years teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus. The last word spoken of him in the Acts tells us he was in his own hired house teaching about Jesus Christ.

Acts 18:11, "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them."

Acts 19:10, "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."

The apostles of the earth Church considered it a definite and essential part of their ministry to establish and confirm the Christians in their faith, to encourage and strengthen them in their work, and to feed and foster their spiritual life.

Not the statistics of church membership but the spiritual status of church members was Paul's concern. He desired passionately that those whom he had begotten in the Gospel might be presented perfect in Christ Jesus. To that end he not only taught them but he warned, reproved and rebuked the Christians under his care.

Colossians 1:28, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

There were personal workers in the first century Church. The passion of the early Church was to win men to Christ. "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" was its slogan (1 Cor. 9:22). Tremendous emphasis is laid upon the importance of personal soul winning by the fact that in three consecutive chapters in the Acts wonderful examples of this type of work are given.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 6)

Joy in Prison

"And Joseph's master took him, and put him into a prison . . . But Jehovah was with Joseph . . . and that which he did, Jehovah made it to prosper" (Gen. 39:20-23).

When God lets us go to prison because we have been serving Him, and goes there with us, prison is about the most blessed place in the world that we could be in. Joseph seems to have known that. He did not sulk and grow discouraged and rebellious because ."everything was against him." If he had, the prison-keeper would never have trusted him so. Joseph does not even seem to have pitied himself.

Let us remember that if self-pity is allowed to set in, that is the end of us--until it is cast utterly from us. Joseph just turned over everything in joyous trust to God, and so the keeper of the prison turned over everything to Joseph. Lord Jesus, when the prison doors close in on me, keep me trusting, and keep my joy full and abounding. Prosper Thy work through me in prison: even there, make me free indeed.
A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air,
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee.
My cage confines me round,
Abroad I cannot fly,
But though my wing is closely bound,
My soul is at liberty;
For prison walls cannot control
The flight, the freedom of the soul.
I have learnt to love the darkness of sorrow; there you see the brightness of His face.
--Madame Guyon

~L. B. Cowman~

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 4

Life On The Highest Plane

The workers were sent by the Lord. Having been chosen and called they were also commissioned by the Lord. With the assurance and authority of a sent-one these first century ministers and missionaries went forth. Laymen, also, like Ananias were divinely commissioned for service.

Acts 22:21, "And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles."

Acts 9:17, "And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Every Christian is needed somewhere in some kind of work in God's vineyard. Every Christian has been ordained to some task by God. Every member of Christ's body has been set in his position as an eye, an ear, a hand or a foot so that the Head may work through him for the accomplishment of some particular task. Only as every member of the body is functioning properly can the work of the Head be perfected.

1 Corinthians 12:14, 18, "For the body is not one member, but many. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. If they were all one member, where were the body?"

Ephesians 4:11-12, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; ... For the perfecting of the saints, and the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

Not even the weakest, the youngest, nor the apparently most ignorant and incapable is left without his share in God's work. In fact, God delights to choose those who in themselves are impotent and inadequate in order that the glory of achievement may be altogether His.

1 Corinthians 12:22, "Nay, much more those members of the body which seem to be more feeble, are necessary."

2 Corinthians 4:7, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

The Lord Jesus determines and directs the work of those whom He has chosen and called. As we study the various phases of the work of the early Church we shall see that the whole field of Christian activity was adequately covered. In the accomplishment of the evangelization of the world the Holy Spirit gave every believer something to do and He set some apart for tasks which required special gifts.

There were witnesses in the first century Church. In fact, this was the primary work of each. The Holy Spirit came not upon a select group on the day of Pentecost but upon each one of the one hundred and twenty that each might be a witness.

Who is a witness, and of whom, and of what, does he witness? It is very essential to understand this if one would grasp the importance and the power of this form of Christian work. A witness is one who tells what he has seen and knows.

Acts 22:15, "For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard."

Of whom did those in the early Church witness? The power of the Holy Spirit was given only to those who witnessed of Christ Jesus. From the beginning to the end of Acts we see them witnessing in all places and unto all classes of people of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Of what concerning Christ did they witness? Invariably they witnessed not to His work in the flesh but to His work on the Cross and from the throne. They told others not of "the Jesus of history" but of the Christ of Calvary.

There were preacher-pastors in the first century Church.

Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

Definite instructions given them regarding what they were to preach were followed implicitly. They preached the Word of God. Will you glance through the book of the Acts and note the number of times it is said that they preached the Word? Will you note also its marvelous power both of attraction and conviction? Multitudes, even whole cities, came to the place of worship, not to see a pageant nor to hear a concert nor a discussion of some notable book nor a moralization of current topics nor a rhetorical discourse, but to hear the Word of God. And wherever the Word was preached sinners were convicted, converted, and baptized by ones and twos, by hundreds and thousands.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 5)

The Cross the Believer's Motivation

Paul was single-minded in the message he preached. The cross was not only his primary subject; it was also his motivation for living. When we begin to understand all that Jesus did for us at Calvary, we, too, can receive fresh motivation to live for Him. For instance, we can...

Walk humbly before God. Since the power to live the Christian life is supplied by Christ, there is no room for pride. When Jesus died, our "flesh" nature was crucified with Him so that we could live in newness of life. Any success we achieve in living righteously or walking in obedience is possible only because He is working through us.

Serve the Lord faithfully. At the cross, we were placed "in Christ," and He is in us (Gal. 2:20). We are now His body on earth, created for good works which God has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10). Jesus wasn’t crucified so we could sit in pews each Sunday and listen to sermons. He has specific tasks for each of us to achieve during our lifetime.

Share our faith. Knowing all that Jesus accomplished at the cross should motivate us to share the gospel with others. This world is filled with hurting people who know nothing about salvation. Since their eternal destiny is at stake, how can we keep our mouths closed?

Too often we view the cross only as a past event that secured our eternal destiny, and we fail to see how it can motivate daily choices and activities. Stop to contemplate all that God is continually accomplishing in you though the cross. Let it be your motivation to live wholeheartedly for Christ.

~Charles Stanley~

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 3

Life On The Highest Plane

Having formed this purpose and having fashioned this plan God now has no other way of working. In giving His Son to die God has done all that He can do for this world.

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

Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

God's plan of working throughout the entire course of this age is perfectly outlined in the Acts. Here we see the invisible Head of the Church in the havenlies determining and directing the work of His visible body on earth through His Executor and Administrator, the Holy Spirit. Every type of work in which He would have us engage as Christians today is revealed to us there. Let us now consider the nature of the spiritual man's work.

God's Work in This Age is Executed through a Divine-Human Partnership

Life in Christ necessarily involves identification with Him in His mission to this world. Real membership in Christ's body means sharing with Him His compassionate love for the world and going out into it to seek and to save the lost. As Christ was sent into the world by the Father for a definitely specified task even so are we sent by Him.

John 17:18, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."

John 20:21, "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

What Christ Jesus began as the incarnate Son, He continues as the exalted Lord, through the divine-human partnership which exists between Him and His body, the Church.

1 Corinthians 3:9, "For we are labors together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."

2 Corinthians 6:1, "We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

Mark 16:20, "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them."

The Christian, then, is not at liberty to choose what his work will be. He is under the direction of the Head of the body of which he is but one member. As the Father determined the work of the Son and as Christ executed everything according to His Father's will so the Lord Jesus now chooses and calls the workers and then determines and directs the work. From this viewpoint let us study together the work of the first century Church, that we may discern our part in this divine-human partnership.

The workers were chosen of God. Paul and Peter each had the conviction that they had been chosen by the Lord Himself for their particular task even before receiving His call. Hence the courage of that conviction which was evinced in all their work.

Acts 9:15, "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."

Acts 15:7, "Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, know ye how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."

The workers were called of God. It is considered somewhat out-of-date today to speak of a divine call. The term is well-nigh obsolete. Not a divine call, but a sociological appeal takes many a man into the ministry or to the mission field. But the lack of it quite as often takes him out of the ministry into business or out of the mission field when the romance of an ocean trip and of meeting a new people has given place to the daily routine of hard work in an uncongenial environment. But the ministers and missionaries of that early Church were so sure of their all that they would lay down their lives willingly, if need be, in the pursuit of it (Acts 20:24).

The workers were appointed by the Lord. The men of the early Church had a direct appointment to a specific task by the Lord Jesus. To them it was a life task - to be laid down only when called into a higher ministry in the immediate presence of their Lord. Is not the reason why so many young men abandon their theological studies before completing their course due to the fact that they were not "put into the ministry" by the Lord Himself? The Church suffers today from man-made ministers.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 4)

King of Grief!

Psalm 22:14
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
Did earth or heaven ever behold a sadder spectacle of woe! In soul and body, our Lord felt Himself to be weak as water poured upon the ground. The placing of the cross in its socket had shaken Him with great violence, had strained all the ligaments, pained every nerve, and more or less dislocated all His bones. Burdened with His own weight, the august sufferer felt the strain increasing every moment of those six long hours. His sense of faintness and general weakness were overpowering; while to His own consciousness He became nothing but a mass of misery and swooning sickness. When Daniel saw the great vision, he thus describes his sensations, "There remained no strength in me, for my vigor was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength:" how much more faint must have been our greater Prophet when He saw the dread vision of the wrath of God, and felt it in His own soul! To us, sensations such as our Lord endured would have been insupportable, and kind unconsciousness would have come to our rescue; but in His case, He was wounded, and felt the sword; He drained the cup and tasted every drop.
"O King of Grief! (a title strange, yet true
To Thee of all kings only due)
O King of Wounds! how shall I grieve for Thee,
Who in all grief preventest me!"
As we kneel before our now ascended Saviour's throne, let us remember well the way by which He prepared it as a throne of grace for us; let us in spirit drink of His cup, that we may be strengthened for our hour of heaviness whenever it may come. In His natural body every member suffered, and so must it be in the spiritual; but as out of all His griefs and woes His body came forth uninjured to glory and power, even so shall His mystical body come through the furnace with not so much as the smell of fire upon it.

~Charles Spurgeon~ 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man # 2

Life On The Highest Plane

In God's plan there are two advents of Christ into this world for two distinct purposes and marking off two distinct ages. In each advent God works through His Son to carry out His purpose for the whole world. In this study we are considering God's purpose in Christ for this age, the period between Christ's first and second advent.

In this age God is not working for the reformation of the world nor to put the world right, much as that is needed, but to bring man into a right relationship to His Son. The improvement of conditions in human society has no share in the plan of God for this age. In fact this would run absolutely counter to His purpose in the Saviourhood of His Son for such a scheme would make this world so comfortable a place in which to live that the natural man in his case and contentment would feel no need whatever for God and would have no thought for the life to come. God is not working to right the wrongs of a world that still hates and rejects His Son.

Besides, the only possible road to the real reformation of society is through the regeneration of the individual. Sin is the cause of every bit of the suffering and sorrow in the world and the only place where sin is removed is at the Cross of Calvary. "The uplift of humanity" depends upon the uplifting of the Christ of the Cross. The reformations that have been wrought in the world are the by-product of the work of the Church. Scripture does not tell us that the mission of the Church in this age is the reformation of the world.

Neither is God working in this age for the conversion of the world. God frankly says "that the whole world lieth in the evil one," that satan is "the god of this age" (2 Cor. 4:4) and that it is in the control of "the prince of this world" (John 14:30). Many passages of Scripture show that "the course of this world" is to grow worse and worse in the last days. One needs only to keep in mind what we have learned in previous studies about the world to see how its very nature precludes the thought of its conversion in this age of grace.

The world is "the flesh" in its corporate capacity. The only place God can meet it is at the foot of the Cross and the only way in which the world could be converted would be by the cleansing of its sin in the atoning blood of Christ our Saviour.

But nowhere in the Word of God is there intimation that the whole world ever will come to the Cross for that purpose. The whole mass of unbelieving mankind is one vast federation under satan's leadership and will continue so unto the very end of this age.

1 John 5:19, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one."

Ephesians 2:2, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."

2 Timothy 3:1, 13, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."

Up to the very end of this age there will be both believers and unbelievers, those who will receive and those who will reject Christ the Saviour. At the end of the age the harvest will reveal both good and bad fish in the net. The parable of the wicked husbandmen, as given by Christ Himself, shows that the attitude of the world throughout this age continues to be one of hatred and hostility.

Act 28:24, "And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not."

Matthew 13:48, 49, "Which when it was filled, they drew up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away ...  So shall it be in the consummation of the age: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous."

God in this age is calling out from the world the Bride of Christ that she may be prepared to meet Him at His coming and to reign with Him in the kingdom age which is to follow. God is calling individuals out of this present evil world, emancipating them from it and crucifying them to it.

John 15:19, "If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

Galatians 1:4, "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father."

God's plan is in line with His purpose. This plan is the evangelization of the world. Through the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the whole world as a witness God wishes to give every creature the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as his Saviour. This is the primary meaning of His last commission.

Luke 24:46-47, "And said unto them, Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

John 6:40, "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 3)

A Heavenly Messenger

Acts 27:23
For there stood by me this night the angel of God.
Tempest and long darkness, coupled with imminent risk of shipwreck, had brought the crew of the vessel into a sad case; one man alone among them remained perfectly calm, and by his word the rest were reassured. Paul was the only man who had heart enough to say, "Sirs, be of good cheer." There were veteran Roman legionaries on board, and brave old mariners, and yet their poor Jewish prisoner had more spirit than they all. He had a secret Friend who kept his courage up. The Lord Jesus despatched a heavenly messenger to whisper words of consolation in the ear of His faithful servant, therefore he wore a shining countenance and spake like a man at ease. If we fear the Lord, we may look for timely interpositions when our case is at its worst. Angels are not kept from us by storms, or hindered by darkness. Seraphs think it no humiliation to visit the poorest of the heavenly family. If angel's visits are few and far between at ordinary times, they shall be frequent in our nights of tempest and tossing. Friends may drop from us when we are under pressure, but our intercourse with the inhabitants of the angelic world shall be more abundant; and in the strength of love-words, brought to us from the throne by the way of Jacob's ladder, we shall be strong to do exploits. Dear reader, is this an hour of distress with you? then ask for peculiar help. Jesus is the angel of the covenant, and if His presence be now earnestly sought, it will not be denied. What that presence brings in heart-cheer those remember who, like Paul, have had the angel of God standing by them in a night of storm, when anchors would no longer hold, and rocks were nigh.

"O angel of my God, be near,
Amid the darkness hush my fear;
Loud roars the wild tempestuous sea,
Thy presence, Lord, shall comfort me."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Works of the Spiritual Man

Life On The Highest Plane

Salvation, sanctification, service is the divine order in spiritual experience. The man who is saved from sin and set apart unto God must serve God and is fellow men in working to bring them into the same spiritual oneness which he enjoys. The Christian's individual relationship to God merges into a corporate relationship with the other members of God's family and the other citizens of God's Kingdom and then stretches on out toward "the other sheep" whom the loving Shepherd longs to bring into His fold.

Titus. 2:14, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

2 Timothy 3:17, "That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

Titus 3:8, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."

Works are the Natural Outcome of Faith

Belief in Jesus Christ is not a hollow profession nor a selfish possession. Faith that is real must propagate itself and share its blessing. The apostles Paul and James are not at loggerheads with each other; they are not stating contradictory but complementary truth as they emphasize in turn the necessity of faith and of works. The virility of any true faith is shown in its works.

James 2:17-18, "Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself ... Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith."

Works are the Natural Outcome of Love

Love for the Lord Jesus is not shallow sentiment that dissipates itself in words but it is vicarious sacrifice that expresses itself in works. The vitality of true love is shown in service. "Lovest thou me?" "Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." "Feed my lambs."

1 John 3:16, 18, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."

Works are the Natural outcome of Life

The tree is known by its fruits. Life in the tree presumes fruit on the branches. Life in Christ Jesus must reproduce itself in life.

John 15:2, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

Acts 4:20, "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Faith, love and life are not passive but active forces and the proportion in which they exist in the believer will determine the part he takes in the work of Christ's body, the Church. The spiritual man recognizes that the very possessions and privileges which are his in Christ entail responsibilities and duties in the work which Christ desires done in the world.

But no man of himself should determine the nature of his service any more than he can determine the nature of his salvation or of his sanctification. His works are also foreordained of God. It is only the man who does a divinely determined and directed work who is promised the power of God in its accomplishment.

Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

God works according to a definite plan which is rooted in an eternal purpose. In the eternity of the past He foresaw the tragedy of in and all of its evil consequences and formed the purpose which determined the plan by which sin and its accompanying evil would be removed. That plan took into account the conditions to be met in every age, in every century and in every generation of mankind's history, and stretched itself over them all. There is nothing new to God in this twentieth century "modern mind" that either surprises or appals Him for He has known it all before the foundation of the world.

God's purpose centers in Christ and concerns itself with two things only, the redemption of man and the reconciliation of all things in the universe unto Himself. The salvation of man and the sovereignty of God are the two issues at stake and upon their accomplishment God' purpose focuses.

Salvation through a Saviour is God's only plan for the redemption of man. God sent His Son into the world to be a propitiation for its sins.

1 John 4:14, "And we have seen and to testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

1 John 4:10, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

God's remedy for the world's revolt against Him and its reconstruction through His restoration to sovereignty over it centers in Christ also; not however in Christ the Saviour but in Christ the King. Through the incarnation He became a Saviour who in the ultimate fulfillment of God's eternal purpose was to become a Kin of whose Kingdom there would be no end (Luke 1:30-33).

In the fulfillment of His purpose God has a divine order. He accomplishes His task and achieves His goal by stages. The history of God's dealings with man is divided into clearly defined "ages" or periods of time. The scope of this book confines us to the consideration of God's work in this age and the one to come. These two stages are set forth in one passage in the Acts.

Acts 15: 14-17, "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: ... That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2)

The First Empty Tomb

Jesus is the only person who has an empty tomb. Everyone else who's died has returned to the dust, but Christ is alive and seated at the Father's right hand. Because He overcame death, His followers are also guaranteed empty tombs someday. When Jesus returns for His church, those who have died in Him will be resurrected into glorious bodies. And believers who are alive at that time will instantaneously be changed.

Knowing this, we naturally wonder, What kind of body will I have? The best way to answer that is to see what Scripture reveals about Christ's body after He rose from the dead. He didn't come invisibly in the form of a ghost but rather had a literal, physical body. He talked, walked, and ate with His disciples. Yet although He was recognizable, He was somehow different, and at times it took His words or actions to jog their recognition.

Here's one thing I can tell you about the resurrection: you will look better than you do today! God is going to give you a strong, glorious, eternal body which is perfectly fitted for your life in heaven. Believe me, you will not be disappointed, because God has far more in store for us on the other side than we can ever imagine. You will be more alive there than you could ever be here.

A more important issue we must face is how to get ready for that day. This life is just a puff of wind compared to our eternity. It's my personal opinion that the way we live here on earth will determine our capacity to enjoy heaven. The time to begin living for God is now.

~Charles Stanley~

Monday, April 22, 2013

Th Believer's Part in Remaining Spirit-filled # 25

Life On The Highest Plane

The Prerequisites for Prevailing Prayer

To be heard and answered prayer must be according  to God's will. Does this statement need to be argued or expounded? Is it not a self-evident fact that God could not grant any petition that is not in accordance with His will? We have learned in the earlier chapters of this book that it is God's purpose that man should think, love, and will within the circle of God's will. This, assuredly, means that he must pray within that sphere if his prayer reaches the ear of God. There is a limit then to what we may ask of God and the God-man stated the condition very clearly in the thrice-repeated prayer in Gethsemane, "Not my will but thine be done." Only he who has willed to do the will of God will be able to pray aright.

But there is another side to this. Augustine has stated it in these words, "O Lord, grant that I may do Thy will as if it were my will, so that Thou mayest do my will as if it were Thy will." It is possible for Christ and the Christian to live in such abiding oneness that God does the will of His child which is expressed in his prayer.

John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

And we may be so assured of the answer that we can praise Him before we may have received in actual experience the thing prayed for.

1 John 5:14-15, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

"When we do what He bids, He does what we ask! Listen to God and God will listen to you. Thus our Lord gives us "power of attorney" over His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, if only we fulfill the condition of abiding in Him." (The Kneeling Christian" by Unknown)

To be heard and answered prayer must be in the name of Christ. No sinner, not even a saved one, has ever made any deposit in the bank of Heaven consequently he has no right to open an account in his own name. The spiritual riches which are there for him were placed there through the death, resurrection, ascension and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The account was opened for him when he put his faith in this Saviour and at that moment Christ placed in his hands blank checks signed with His own name and not one of them has ever been refused at the bank of Heaven. Six times in that last conversation with His disciples on earth the Lord Jesus told them that when He went back to the Father He would open an account for each one of them and urged them to make liberal use of His credit in their Father's bank. He taught them that the Father hears but one Voice, that only the man in Christ can reach the Father's ear with his petitions.

John 14: 13-14, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son ... And if ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."

But do not let any one be deceived into thinking that these are magic words which can be added, as an appendage, to any kind of prayer. It is only the prayer that will bring honor and glory to His name that can be truly asked in His name. A wrong prayer cannot be made right by the addition of some mystic phrase. It is possible for one to pray in the name of Christ for the salvation of some member of the family in order only that there may be greater harmony in the home. Or a preacher may pray for large additions to his church not for the glory of Christ's name but for his own. There must be identification with Christ in His interests and purposes if there is to be rightful use of His name in prayer. Only the prayer that is wholly according to God's will can be legitimately asked in the name of Christ.

To be heard and answered prayer must be in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit alone knows what is the mind and will of God; He only understands what prayer will be to the honor and glory of Christ. So only the man who is in the Spirit's sphere and under the Spirit's control will pray aright.

Jude 20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit."

In this passage of Scripture we see that the divine condition of prevailing prayer becomes at the same time the divine provision for it. We do not know how to pray as we ought but the Holy Spirit does know. Indwelling and infilling us He reveals to u our need, suggests the objects of prayer, sifts and tests our motives, purifies our desires, stiffens our faith and stimulates our hope and expectation of an answer.

Do you honestly wish to live your life habitually on the highest plane? Then you must become a man or woman of prayer, an intercessor after God's hart. Are you willing to let the Holy Spirit deal with you in regard to the actual condition of your prayer life as it now is? Will you through the power of His divine enabling determine what it shall be?

Has my prayer life been powerless because of some besetting sin? Has my prayer life been hindered by haste, irregularity, indefiniteness, insufficient preparation, unbelief, neglect
of Bible study? Has my prayer life been fruitless? Have I had such power with God that I have had power with people? Have I had definite answers to prayer week by week?  Has my prayer life been limited to prayer for myself? My family? My work? My church? My mission? Or have I taken the world into my heart and into my prayers? Has my prayer life been starved? Or have I devoted time to the study of God's Word about prayer? Do I know His precepts and promises? Has my prayer life been growing? Do I daily know more of the meaning and power of prayer? Has my prayer life been sacrificial? Has it cost me anything in time, strength, vitality, love?  "Lord teach us to pray."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 -"The Works of the Spiritual Man")