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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wholly Sanctified # 10

Its power of trusting is dedicated. It is determined to trust God under any circumstances and, in spite of all feelings, as an act of will chooses to believe His Word notwithstanding every discouragement and temptation. A spirit that thus chooses God will be sustained by the very faith of God Himself imparted to it.

Its love is dedicated as is its power of loving. It chooses to love God supremely and to love all as God would have us to love, regarding every human being in the light of God and His will, and adjusting itself to every relationship in sch a manner as to please God. It is dedicated to the glory of God. It accepts this and not the applause of men nor its own pleasing as the true end and purpose of life and lays itself a living sacrifice on His altar.

Further, it is dedicated to enjoy God. It chooses Him as its portion, its happiness, all and in all. It consents to find all its satisfaction in Him and Him alone, whether it be in the loss of every other channel of happiness or by His filling all the springs of life with Himself.

A dedicated spirit is thus wholly given to God, to know Him, to choose His will, to resemble His character, to trust His Word, to love Him supremely, to glorify Him only, to enjoy Him wholly and to belong to Him utterly, unreservedly and forever. All its senses, susceptibilities and capacities are dedicated to Him. It yields itself to Him to be made by Him all that He would have it to be and to have His perfect will wrought out by it forever. It chooses to hear only what He would speak, to see only what he would have it behold, to touch only at His bidding and to use every power and capability in and for Him only. It regards itself henceforth as His property, subject to His disposal and existing for His great purpose regarding it. It is consecrated not so much to the works, or truth, or the cause, or the church, as to the Lord. This is done gladly, freely, without fear or reservation, but as a great privilege and honor to be permitted thus to belong to so great and good a Master, and have Him undertake so uncongenial a task as our sanctification and exaltation.

This dedication of our spirits can be made in the very first moment of consecration and before we have a single conscious experience or feeling answering to the dedication we make. As empty vessels, as bare possibilities with nothing in us yet but the entire consent of our wills to be all that the Lord would ave us, we yield ourselves to God according to His will.

Once for all

This act of dedication should be made once for all, and then recognized as done and as including every subsequent act that we may ever renew as we receive more light in detail respecting His will concerning us. It is possible for us, once for all and not knowing perhaps one-thousandth part of all that it means, to give ourselves to God for all that He understands it to mean, and to know henceforth that we are utterly and eternally the Lord's as certainly as we will know that we are the Lord's after we have been a million years in glory.

~A. B. Simpson~

(continued with # 11)

Bible Study - verse by verse # 86

Matthew 27:66 The Pharisees were so afraid of Jesus' predictions about His resurrection that they made sure the tomb was thoroughly sealed and guarded. Because the tomb was hewn out of rock in the side of the hill, there was only one entrance. The tomb was sealed by stringing a cord across the stone that was rolled over the entrance. The cord was sealed at each end with clay. But the religious leaders took a further precaution, asking that guards be placed at the tomb's entrance. With such precautions, the only way the tomb could be empty would be for Jesus to rise from the dead. The Pharisees failed to understand that no rock, seal, guard, or army could prevent the Son of God from rising again.

Matthew 28:2 The stone was not rolled back so Jesus could get out, but so others could get in and see that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, just as He had promised.

Matthew 28:57 The angel who announced the good news of the Resurrection to the women gave them four messages: 1. Do not be afraid. The reality of the Resurrection brings joy, not fear. When you are afraid, remember the empty tomb. 2. He is not here. Jesus is not dead and is not to be looked for among the dead. He is alive, with His people. 3. Come, see. The women could check the evidence themselves. The tomb was empty then, and it is empty today. The resurrection is a historical fact. 4. Go quickly and tell. They were to spread the joy of the Resurrection. We too are to spread the great news about Jesus' resurrection.

Matthew 28:6 Jesus' resurrection is the key to the Christian faith. Why? 1. Just as He promised, Jesus rose from the dead. We can be confident, therefore, that He will accomplish all He has promised. 2. Jesus' bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ is ruler of God's eternal kingdom, not a false prophet or impostor. 3. We can be certain of our resurrection because He was resurrected. Death is not the end- there is a future life. 4. The power that brought Jesus back to life is available to us to being our spiritually dead selves back to life. 5. The Resurrection is the basis for the church's witness to the world. Jesus is more than just a human leader. He is the Son of God.

A Great White Throne

Give me ears to hear what Your Spirit has to say today, Lord. Amen

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away ... And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened ... And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books" (Revelation 20:11-12)

There is coming a time when all that men have dreamed for, schemed for and sold their souls for will turn to rust, mold and rot. The unsaved dead will be raised from their graves to stand before Christ and be judged. From the Great White Throne, symbolizing ultimate authority and holiness, the Lord Jesus adjudicates with righteousness and eternal justice. This Saviour Who is now judge cannot be deceived, disputed or discredited and His summons cannot be ignored. All will appear before Him, and there will be no place to hide as heaven and earth scatter from His fierce countenance.

God has each of our lives recorded in His book, and not a thing has escaped His knowledge. Every word, every thought, every deed - every detail has been captured and will be revealed (Matthew 12:36). And the record must be faced.

Once the evidence is presented, an indictment will be made. Anyone who wants grace and mercy may have it, but it must be in this life. No one will be able to go before the Great White Throne and throw themselves upon the mercy of the court. There will be no bribing this Judge; no shrewd lawyer to spin things or get anyone off on technicality. Only one defense will stand, and that is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the verdict of the court is handed down, anyone whose name is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire. But the wonderful news is this: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus ..." (Romans 8:1). You don't have to stand before the Great White Throne if you've settled out of court!

~Adrian Rogers~

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 25

The Pearl of Great Price

The full blessing of Pentecost is to be obtained at no small price. He that would have it must sell all and forsake all. Every faculty of our nature, every moment of our life, and every religious work of our body, soul, and spirit must be surrendered to the power of the Spirit of God. In nothing can independent control or independent force have a place. Everything must be under the leading of the Spirit. One must indeed say: "Cost what it may, I am determined to have this blessing." Only the vessel that is utterly empty of everything can be full and overflowing with this living water.

We know that there is often a great gulf between the will and the deed. Even when God has endued the willing, the doing does not always come at once. But it will come wherever a man surrenders himself to the will which God has wrought and openly expresses his consent in the presence of God. This, accordingly, is what must be done by the soul who intends to be sincerely ready to part with everything, even though he feels that he has no power to accomplish it.

The selling price is not always paid at the moment; nevertheless, the purchaser may become the possessor as soon as the sale is concluded and security is given for the payment.

Oh, believer, this very day speak the word: "Cost what it may, I will have this blessing." Jesus is surety that you will have power to abandon everything. Express your decision in the presence  of God with confidence and perseverance. Repeat it before your own conscience and say, "I am a purchaser of the pearl of great price. I have offered everything to obtain the full blessing of Pentecost. I have said to God that I must, I will have it. By this decision I abide."

There is a great difference between the appropriation of a blessing by faith and the actual experience of it. Christians often become discouraged when they do not at once experience the feeling and the enjoyment of what is promised them. When you have said that you forsake all and count it but loss for the full blessing of Pentecost, then from that moment you have to believe that He receives your offer and that He bestows on you the fullness of the Spirit.

Yet it may easily be that you cannot at that time trace any marked change in your experience. It is as if everything in you remained in its old condition. Now, however, is the very time to persevere in faith. Learn by faith to be as sure as if you had seen it written in heaven that God has accepted your surrender of everything as a certain and completed transaction.

In faith look on yourself as a believer who is known to God as one who has sold everything to obtain this heavenly treasure. Believe that God has given you the fullness of the Spirit. Regard yourself as on the way to know the full blessing also in feeling and experience. Believe that God will order this blessing to break forth and be revealed in you. In faith let your life be a life of joyful thanksgiving and expectation. God will not disappoint you.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 26)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 24

Is This Blessing for You?

I have spoken of those who support that the full blessing of Pentecost was only for the first Christian community. Others are willing to acknowledge that it was intended also for the Church of later times but still think that all are not entitled to expect it. They might quite reasonably say: "My unfavorable circumstances, my unfortunate disposition, my lack of real ability, and similar difficulties make it impossible for me to realize this ideal. God will not expect this at my hands. He has not destined me to obtain it."

Do not permit yourself to be deceived by such shallow views. All the members of a body, even to the very least, must be healthy before the body as a whole can be healthy. The indwelling, the fullness of the Spirit is the health of the entire body of Christ. Even if you are the most insignificant member of it, the blessing is for you. In this respect the Father makes no exceptions.

A great distinction prevails in point of gifts, calling, and circumstances. But there can be no distinction in the love of the Father and His desire to see every one of His children in full health and in the full enjoyment of the Spirit of adoption.

Learn, then, to express and to repeat over again the conviction: "This blessing is for me, my Father desires to to have me filled with His Spirit."  The blessing lies before me, to be taken with my full consent. I will no longer refuse by unbelief what falls to me as my birthright. With my whole heart, I will say: "This blessing is for me."

Obtaining the Blessing

When a Christian begins to strive for this blessing, he generally makes a variety of efforts to search for the faith, obedience, humility, and submission which are the conditions of obtaining it. When he does not succeed, he is tempted to blame himself. If he does not become utterly discouraged, he rouses himself to still stronger effort and greater zeal.

All this struggling is not without its value and its use, however. It does the very work that the law does. It brings us to the knowledge of our entire impotence. It leads us to that despair of ourselves where we become willing to give God the place that belongs to Him. This lesson is entirely indispensable. "I can neither bestow this blessing on myself nor take it. It is God alone who must work it in me."

The blessing of Pentecost is a supernatural gift, a wonderful act of God in the soul. The life of God in every soul is as truly a work of God as when that life was first manifested in Jesus Christ. A Christian can do as little to bring the full life of the Spirit to fruition in his soul as the virgin Mary did to conceive her supernatural child Luke 1:38). Like her, he can only receive it as the gift of God.

The impartation of this heavenly blessing is as entirely an act of God as the resurrection of Christ from the dead was Is divine work. Christ Jesus had to go down to death and lay aside the life He had in order to receive a new life from God. The believer must abandon all power and hope of his own to receive this full blessing as a free gift of divine omnipotence. This acknowledgment of our utter impotence, this descent into true self-despair, is indispensable if we would enjoy this supreme blessing.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 25 - "The Pearl of Great Price")

Wholly Sanctified # 9

What is a Sanctified Spirit?

It is a spirit separated. Have you ever looked at the dark, cold ground in early spring, that which would chill and defile your fingers if you drew your hand through? Perhaps it was mixed with the manure of the barnyard and the crawling earthworms that burrowed in it. Yet, have you never seen growing out of that dark soil, a little plant or flower, with roots white as the driven snow, and leaf as delicate and petals as pure as a baby's check? It stood unstained, separated by its own nature and purity from the dirty soil that was all around it.

So the spirit of God is separated in its own divine nature from its own self and the sinful heart. The very first step of sanctification is to recognize this separation and count ourselves no longer the same persons, but partakers of the divine nature, alive unto God as those who have been raised from the dead. As such we are to separate our spirits from all that is not of God - not only from sin but also from the world and from self and our whole old natural life. All our spiritual instincts, senses and organs are to be separated from evil and intuitively to turn away from even the touch and approach of temptation. We are to refuse to hear with our inward ear the stranger's voice, see with the spirit's eye the fascinating vision of temptation, touch in spiritual contact any unclean thing, taste even the forbidden joy. By the quick sense of smell we are also to recognize and turn from the unwholesome atmosphere, and, as evil of any kind is revealed to the spirit, to renounce evil and to ask God to separate it from our spirit and to put the gulf of His presence between the soul and the sin.

It also must be separated ever from the spirits of other, and indeed, from any human spirit that could control it apart from the will of God. All of the aspects of the spirit to which we have already referred must be separated. The higher consciousness that knows God must be separated from all other gods but Him. The moral sense that know right must separate from all wrong. The will must be separated from the choice or inclination of all but His will. The power of trust must be voluntarily separated from every thought of unbelief or distrust. The power of love must be wholly separated from forbidden love. The aim and motive must be separated from all that is not for His glory; the source of its pleasure must be  purified and the spirit separated from all joy that is not in harmony with the joy of the Lord.

Is you spirit separated, cleansed and detached from everything that could defile or distract you from the will of God and life of holiness?

Sanctified spirit is dedicated

Its powers of apprehension are dedicated to know God and to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8). His Word is the object of its deepest study and mediation, and His attributes and His glory the theme of its most delightful contemplation. To know God, be filled with His Spirit, and be ever in His presence is its highest aim. Its will is dedicated to God. It chooses Him deliberately as its portion and its sovereign Lord, and delights to abandon itself to His entire possession and to His perfect will.

It is this element of a single heart and a supreme choice of God which constitutes what the Scriptures call a perfect heat. Every moral sense in the sanctified spirit is dedicated to God. It chooses His standards of right and wrong and desires above all things to bear His image and be conformed to His nature.

~A. B. Simpson~

(continued with # 10)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 23

How It Is Obtained By Us

"Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)

The command to be filled with the Holy Spirit is just as masterful as the prohibition not to be drunken with wine. As truly as we are not at liberty to be guilty of the vice are we bound not to be disobedient to the positive injunction. The same God who calls on us to live in sobriety urges us with equal earnestness to be filled with the Spirit. His command is tantamount to a promise. It is a sure pledge that He Himself will give what He desires us to possess.

With full confidence in this fact, let us ask in all simplicity for the way in which we should live in the will of God, as those who would be filled with the Spirit. I suggest to those who really long for this blessing some directions whereby they may obtain what is prepared for them.

The First Principle

There are many of God's children who do not believe that the fullness of the Holy Spirit is their inheritance. They imagine that the day of Pentecost was only the birthday feast of the Church and that it was a time of blessing and of power which was not destined to endure. They do not reflect on the command to be filled with the Spirit. The result is that they never seek to receive the full blessing. They remain content with the weak and defective life in which the Church of the day exists.

Is this the case with you? In order to carry on her work in the world, the Church requires the full blessing. To please your Lord and to live a life of holiness, joy, and power, you too have need of it. To manifest His presence, indwelling, and glory in you, Jesus counts it necessary that you should be filled with the Spirit. Believe firmly that the full blessing of Pentecost is a sacred reality. A child of God must have it.

Take time to contemplate it and to allow yourself to be fully possessed by the thought of its glorious significance and power. A firm confidence that the blessing is actually within our reach is the first step toward obtaining it and a powerful impulse in the pursuit.

A Second Step

Admitting you do not have this blessing is the second step toward it. You may perhaps put the question why it should be necessary to cherish this conviction. I will tell yo briefly the reason why I consider it of importance.

First, many Christians think they already have the fullness (the power) of the Holy Spirit and all that is required is to be more faithful in their endeavor to know and to obey Him. They think they are already standing in God's grace and that they only need to make a better use of the life they possess. They imagine that they have all that is necessary for continued growth.

On the contrary, it is my deep conviction that such souls are in an unhealthy state and that they have need of a healing. Accordingly, just as the first condition for my recovery from disease is the knowledge that I am sick, so it is absolutely necessary for them to acknowledge that they do not walk in the fullness of the Spirit which is indispensable for them if they are to please God in everything.

Once this first conviction is made thoroughly clear to them, they will be prepared for another consideration - namely, that they ought to acknowledge the guiltiness of their condition. They ought o see that if they have not yet rendered obedience to the command to "be filled with the Spirit", this defect is to be ascribed to sluggishness, self-satisfaction, and unbelief. When once the confession that they have not yet received the full blessing is deeply rooted in them, there will spring from it a stronger impulse to attain it.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 24 - "Is This Blessing For You?")

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Last Fling

Cleanse my heart, Lord, and make me ready to receive Your truth. Amen

"Now when the thousand years have expired, satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth ..." (Revelation 20:7-8)

Just when we think satan is gone, banished and locked away in the bottomless pit, he come forth again. This is not a jailbreak. God, Who is always sovereign, releases satan and allows him to have one last fling. It is God's final testimony to the wickedness of the human heart. For even after 1,000 years of peace and righteousness, the latent sin lurking in the heart of mankind bubbles forth.

Throughout the millennium, the population will continue to increase, and not everyone born during this time will receive Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord. Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron. There will be no uprising. But when satan is released and immediately begins utilizing his well-honed skills o deception, he will find plenty of people willing to rally to his cause. He will have no trouble amassing an immense army of rebels who will join him as he once again brazenly strikes a battle pose opposite Almighty God.

It makes us wonder, will there ever be an end to sin? The annihilation of sin can be seen here in these passages, as the rebels are consumed in an instant by fire from heaven. God will blow His breath on them, and all that will be left is a pile of ashes. Their souls will be flung into eternity, and the great deceiver will be cast headlong into the very depths of hell. satan will finally join the rest of the unholy trinity in the lake of fire for an eternity of endless torment.

This is the final eradication of sin. After God puts just a few more things in order, He and those whose names are in the Lamb's Book of Life can enjoy eternity together in that glorious city which can never be defiled (Revelation 21:27).

~Adrian Rogers~

Bible Study - verse by verse # 85

Matthew 27:52 Christ's death was accompanied by at least four miraculous events: darkness, the tearing in two of the veil in the temple, an earthquake, and dead people rising from tombs. Jesus' death, therefore, could not have gone unnoticed. Everyone knew something significant had happened.

Matthew 27:57, 58 Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple of Jesus. He was a religious leader, an honored member of the Jewish Council (Mark 15:43). In the past, Joseph had been afraid to speak against the religious leaders who opposed Jesus; now he was bold, courageously asking to take Jesus' body from the Cross and to bury it. The disciples who publicly followed Jesus had fled, but this Jewish leader, who followed Jesus in secret, came forward and did what was right.

Matthew 27:60 The tomb where Jesus was laid was probably a man-made cave cut out of one of the many limestone hills in the area. These caves were often large enough to walk into.

Matthew 27:64 The religious leaders took Jesus' resurrection claims more seriously than the disciples did. The disciples didn't remember Jesus' teaching about His resurrection; but the religious leaders did. Because of His claims, they were almost as afraid of Jesus after His death as when He was alive. They tried to take every precaution that His body would remain in the tomb.

Where Conviction Is Needed

"In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned." (John 16:9-11)

The sin of which the Holy Spirit convicts men and women is the sin of unbelief in Jesus Christ, not in the endless list of others sins. This was the sin of which the Holy Spirit convicted the three thousand on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-37). When they realized they had rejected the Lord and Christ, they were cut to their hearts. This awful sin is the very sin of which it is most difficult to convince proud and arrogant men. But when the Spirit of God comes to a man, he does not look upon unbelief in Jesus Christ as a mark of intellectual superiority or excuse it behind an inherent inability to believe. While he may bitterly regret his dishonesty or his impurity or whatever other sins he may be guilty, he sees and feels that the most awful of this sins is the sin of rejecting the glorious Son of God.

The Holy Spirit also convicts the world of righteousness; not ot our righteousness, for we have none, but of Jesus Christ's righteousness, attested by His resurrection from the dead and by His ascension to the Father. The convicted sinner needs to see the righteousness that God has provided for him in Christ, and only the Holy Spirit can bring this to him.

The third thing that the Holy Spirit convicts men about is judgment, attested by the judgment of the prince of this world, the devil. There has perhaps never been a day in the whole history of the church when the world needed more to be convinced of judgment than today. The average man has almost no knowledge of a future judgment, and the church has largely lost all realization of future judgment and of a future awful hell. Only the Holy Spirit can bring this revelation of the infinite majesty and glory of Jesus Christ, and such a revelation of the awfulness of sin and to the future eternal destiny of those who would not accept Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, without an outpouring of Your Spirit this world will remain blinded to sin and righteousness and judgment. In most places these are never considered, or if they are, they are disdained. Shine on Your church in power and truth. Amen

~R. A. Torrey~

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

They Lived and Reigned with Christ

Open my heart, Lord, to what You want to convey to me today. Amen

"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them ... And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

While satan is bound for 1,000 years, Christ will reign on earth and the saints will reign and rule with Him. The prayer Jesus taught us to pray will finally be answered: "You kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). The earth does not currently reflect the perfect will of God ... but it will. His Kingdom will come, and all other kingdoms will be changed.

Human kingdoms will be changed. According to what the prophet Isaiah was shown about the future day of the Lord, there will be peace in Jerusalem. God's Word will be the law of the land, and there will be no more war! (Isaiah 2:3-4). How different this is from our world today!

The animal kingdom will be changed - even the fiercest beasts will be docile. Predatory animals will live in peace with those they once preyed upon. Lions will graze like cattle; cobras won't strike (Isaiah 11;6-9). The mineral kingdom, too, will be miraculously changed as deserts bloom into veritable gardens and all of creation freely displays the splendor of God! (Isaiah 35:1-2). This will be the golden age in which we who are saints will rule and reign with Christ.

Looking to this day, Paul gave an exhortation to Christians in Corinth that we too should consider, "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Corinthians 6:2). He tells these believers that, considering the responsibilities they will have in the millennium, they should be able to take care of their own petty problems within the church. This message rings true for us today. Knowing the glorious peace and perfection the Lord has in store for us and for this earth, how much more should we let the love of Christ rule in our hearts each day!

~Adrian Rogers~

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things" (John 14:26)

How shall we think of the Holy Spirit? The Bible and Christian theology agree to teach that He is a Person, endowed with every quality of personality, such as emotion, intellect and will. He knows, He wills, He loves; He feels affection, antipathy and compassion. He thinks, sees, hears, and speaks and performs any act of which personality is capable.

One quality belonging to the Holy Spirit, of great interest and importance to every seeking heart, is penetrability. He can penetrate another spirit, such as the human spirit. He can achieve complete penetration of and actual intermingling with the human spirit. He can invade the human heart and make room for Himself without expelling anything essentially human. The integrity of the human personality remains unimpaired. Only moral evil is forced to withdraw.

By nature we are in correspondence with sin; but by union with Christ in His death and resurrection and by the incoming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit we are out of correspondence with it, dead alike to its presence and power.

~A. W. Tozer~

Knowing By Experience

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil" (Isaiah 1:16)

In post-biblical times many who were filled and possessed by the Spirit were by the limitations of their literary gifts prevented from telling us much about Him. They had no gifts for self-analysis but lived from within in uncritical simplicity.

To them the Holy Spirit was One to be loved and fellowshiped the same as the Lord Jesus Himself. They would have been lost completely in any metaphysical discussion of the nature of the Spirit, but they had no trouble in claiming the power of the Spirit for holy living and fruitful service.

This is as it should be.

Personal experience must always be first in real life ... Knowledge by acquaintance is always better than mere knowledge by description, and the first does not presuppose the second nor require it.

Happy is the man who will not allow himself to be diverted and distracted, but having emptied and cleansed his heart, will stand waiting ... for Christ to descend, fill and ever remain as the glorious indweller of the soul.

~A. W. Tozer~

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bible Study - verse by verse # 84

Matthew 27:45 We do not know how the darkness occurred, but it is clear that God caused it. Nature testified to the gravity of Jesus' death, while Jesus' friends and enemies alike fell silent in the encircling gloom. The darkness on that Friday afternoon was both physical and spiritual.

Matthew 27:46 Jesus was not questioning God; He was quoting the first line of Psalm 22 - a deep expression of the anguish He felt when He took on the sins of the world, which caused Him to be separated from His Father. This was what Jesus dreaded as He prayed to God in the garden to take the cup from Him. The physical agony was horrible, but even worse was the period of spiritual separation from God. Jesus suffered this double death so that we would never have to experience eternal separation from God.

Matthew 27:47 The bystanders misinterpreted Jesus' words and thought He was calling for Elijah. Because Elijah ascended into heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:11), they thought he would return again to rescue them from great trouble (Malachi 4:5). At the annual Passover feast, each family set an extra place for Elijah in expectation of his return.

Matthew 27:51 The temple had three main parts - the courts, the Holy Place (where only the priests could enter), and the Most Holy Place (where only the high priest could enter, and only once a year, to atone for the sins of the nation (Leviticus 16:1-35). The veil (curtain) separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn in two at Christ's death, symbolizing that the barrier between God and humanity was removed. Now all people are free to approach God because of Christ's sacrifice for our sins.

The Key to the Bottomless Pit

Lord, I pray for understanding as I study Your Word today. Please let Your truth penetrate my heart and change my life. Amen

"Then I say an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit ... " (Revelation 20:1-3)

Sometimes people ask an absurd question: Who is stronger - God or satan? Think of what Jesus told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, when the soldiers came to take Him to the Cross. "Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53). That could be well over 72,000 angels! Yet we see when God get ready to deal with the devil at the end of time He sends "an angel" to throw satan into the bottomless pit. It only takes one measly angel to put the devil in his place.

The Bible says in Isaiah we're going to look upon satan in amazement down in that pit and ask, Is this the one that made the nation tremble? That's who brought the earth to ruin and desolation? (Isaiah 14:15-17). We're going to be astonished when we see how weak satan is. So, don't you think it's time we stopped letting him beat up on us in our everyday lives?

satan has no power in our lives but what we allow him to have. He was rendered helpless and powerless there at the Cross by the death of our Lord Jesus Christ - as it says in Hebrews 2:14, "... that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." The victory was won at Calvary and it's now ours. With His sacrificial death, Jesus gave us authority over all the power of our enemy (Luke 10:18-20). It's time we started seeing satan as the defeated weakling he truly is!

~Adrian Rogers~

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 22

Deny Yourself Daily

You of course say at once: "Who is sufficient for these things? Who can sacrifice everything and die and lay down his life utterly as Jesus did? Is such a surrender impossible?" My reply is that it is indeed so. But "with God all things are possible." You cannot literally follow Jesus down into death and the grave. That will always remain beyond your power. Never will our individual self yield itself up to death or rest quietly in the grave.

But hear the glad tidings. In Christ you have died and have been buried. The power of His dying, of His willing surrender of His spirit into the hands of the Father, and of His silent resting in the grave works in you. By faith in this working of the spirit and the power of the death and the life of the Lord Jesus, give yourself willingly to lose your life to Him.

For this end, begin to regard the denying of yourself as the first and most necessary work of every day. Accept the message I bring you. The great hindrance in the way of the life of Pentecost is the self-life. Believe in the sinfulness of that life, not because of its gross external sins, but because it sets itself in the place of God. It seeks, pleases and honors itself more than God.

Recognize your own life as your own worst enemy and as the enemy of God. Begin to see what the full blessing is that Jesus has prepared for you and which He bestowed at Pentecost - namely, His own indwelling. Count nothing too precious or too costly to give as an exchange for this pearl of great price.

Believer, are you really sincere about being filled with the Spirit of God? Is it your great desire to know what hinders you from obtaining it? Take the word of our Lord and keep it in your heart. Go with it to Him. He is able to make you understand and experience it. It is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

Let everything in you that belongs to self be sacrificed to Him. He, who by His death obtained the Spirit, who prepared Peter for Pentecost in the fellowship of His suffering, has your guidance in His hands. Trust your own Jesus. He baptizes with the Spirit beyond doubt or question.

Deny yourself and follow Him. Lose your own life and find His. Let Him impart Himself in the place you have up to this time retained for yourself. From Him there will flow rivers of living water.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 23 - "How It Is Obtained By Us")

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wholly Sanctified # 8

The Spirit is that which trusts. Confidence is one of its attributes and exercises. It is the filial quality in the child of God which looks in the Father's face without a cloud, which lies upon His bosom without a fear, and puts its hand in His with the abandonment of childlike simplicity.

The spirit is that which loves God. It is not the human emotional love of which we speak, for that belongs to the lower nature of the soul and may be most fully developed in one whose spirit is still dead to God in trespasses and sins. It is that divine love which is the direct gift of the Holy Spirit and the true spring of all holiness and obedience: nothing less than the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit; its appropriate sphere is the human heart.

The spirit is that which glorifies God. It makes His will and honor its supreme aim and loses itself in His glory. The very conception of such an aim is foreign to the human mind and can be only received by a spirit which has been born again and created in the divine image.

The spirit is that which enjoys God. It hungers for His presence and fellowship and finds its nourishment, its portion, its satisfaction, its inheritance in Himself as it all and in all.

This wonderful element of our human nature is subject to all the sensibilities and susceptibilities that we find in a courser form in our physical life.

There are spiritual senses and organs just as real and intense as those of our physical frame. We find them distinctly recognized in the Scriptures. There is the sense of spiritual hearing: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:11); "Blessed are you ...ears because they hear. (Matthew 13:16); "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

There is the sense of vision: "Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar" (Isaiah 33:17); "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2); "... beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18); "You have eyes but fail to see" (Mark 8:18); "To open their eyes and turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God" (Acts 26:18).

There is sense of spiritual touch: "I press on to take hold that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me"( Philippians 3:12); "And ... to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed" (Matthew 14:36).

There is the sense of taste: "The one who feeds on me will live because of me" (John 6:57); "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8); "He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35).

There is the sense of smell. Very definitely it is referred to in Isaiah 112-3).

The spirit is real subsistence. When separated from the body after death, it will have the same consciousness as when in life, and perhaps more intense powers of feeling, action and enjoyment.

Such is a brief view of this supreme endowment of our humanity, this upper chamber of the house of God, this higher nature received from our Creator, and lost, or, at least, degraded, defiled and buried through our sin and fall.

What is it for the spirit to be sanctified?

It is indispensable that the spirit be quickened into life. It is dead by nature. The work of regeneration quickens it into vitality as a newborn life, breathed, given from heaven as unto us in the first creation, as from the very lips of God. In one sense, the unregenerate soul is not spiritually alive. Its faculties are alive, its animal life is active, but spiritually it is dead in sin. When "sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin," (Romans 5:12) not only did man become subject to physical death but spiritual death reigned also. 

Thank God for the grace of God revealed in the gift by grace. Jesus Christ has delivered us from the bondage of death and enables us to reign in life by His own sacrifice.

~A. B. Simpson~

(continued with # 9)

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 21

Is Your Heart Open?

At the time of his conversion, the young Christian has little understanding of this requirement. He receives the seed of the new life into his heart while the natural life is still strong. It was this way with Peter when the Lord addressed to him the above words. He was a disciple but an incomplete one. When his Lord was to die, instead of denying himself, he denied his Lord. But that grievous failure brought him at last to despair of himself and prepared him for losing his own life entirely and for being wholly filled with the life of Jesus.

We must all eventually come to this point. As long as a Christian imagines that in some things - for example, in his eating and drinking, in the spending of his time or money, or in his thinking and speaking about others - he has the right and the liberty to follow his own wishes, to please himself, and to maintain his own life, he cannot possibly attain to the full blessing of Pentecost.

My brethren, it is an unspeakably holy and glorious thing that a man can be filled with the Spirit of God.It demands inevitably that the present occupant and governor of the heart, our individual self, be cast out and everything be surrendered into the hands of the new inhabitant, the Spirit of God. If only we could understand that the joy and power of being filled with the Spirit will come once we comply with the first principle condition - namely, that He alone be acknowledged as our Life and our Leader.

Who Performs This Transformation?

At no stage of our spiritual career are the power and the deceitfulness of our individual self and the self-life more manifest than in the attempt to grasp the full blessing of Pentecost. many people endeavor to appropriate this blessing by a great variety of efforts. They do not succeed and are not able to discover the reason why. They forget that self-will can never cast out self-will and that self can never really mortify itself. Happy is the man who is brought to the point of acknowledging his helplessness and impotence. He will especially need to deny himself here and cease to expect anything from his own life and strength. He will rather lay himself down in the presence of the Lord as one who is impotent and dead, that he may really receive the blessing from Him.

It was not Peter who prepared himself for the day of Pentecost or brought down the Pentecostal blessing from heaven. It was his Lord that did all this for him. His part was to despair of himself and yield himself to his Lord to accomplish in hi what He had promised.

It is your part, believer, to deny yourself, to lose your own life, and in the presence of the Lord to sink down in your nothingness and impotence. Accustom yourself to set your heart before Him in deep humility, silent patience, and childlike submission. The humility that is prepared to be nothing, the patience that will wait for Him and His time, and the submission that will yield itself wholly that He may do what seems good is all that you can do to show that you are ready to lose your life.

Jesus summons you to follow Him. Remember how He first sacrificed His will. He laid down His life into the hands of the Father, went down into the grave, and waited until God raised Him to life again. In like manner, you are to be ready to lay down your life in weakness, assured that God will raise it up again in power with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Forfeit the strength of mere personal efforts and abandon the dominion of your own power. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6).

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 22 - "Deny Yourself Daily")

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 20

Self and the Power of Sin

When God created the angels and man, He gave them a separate personality, a power over themselves, with the intention that they should, of their own free will, present and offer up that life to Him in order that He in turn might fill them with His life and His glory. This was to be the highest blessedness of the creature. It was to be a vessel filled with the life and the perfection of God.

The fall of angels and men alike consisted of nothing but the perversion of their life, their will, and their personality, away from God, in order to please themselves. This self-exaltation was the pride that cast them out of heaven into hell. This pride was the infernal poison that the serpent breathed into the ear and the heart of Adam and Eve.

Man turned himself away from God to find delight in himself and the world. His life, his whole individuality, was perverted and withdrawn from the control of God that he might seek and serve himself.

You must utterly lose that life before the full life of the Spirit of God can be yours. To the minutest details, always and in everything, you must deny that self-life! "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

A deep conviction of the entire corruption of our nature is an experience that is still lacking in many people. It appears to them both strange and harsh when we say that in nothing is the Christian free to follow his own feeling. Self-denial is a requirement that must prevail in every sphere of life and without any exceptions. The Lord has never withdrawn His words: "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 21 - "Is Your Heart Open?")

Behold, a White Horse

Let the power of Your Word reside in me, Lord. Amen

"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns ... He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God" (Revelation 19:11-13

As surely as He was here the first time, Jesus Christ is literally, actually, visibly, bodily coming back to this earth in great power, glory and majesty. John shows us our victorious Lord Who comes on a white charger, symbolizing honor and conquest. He comes, faithful to His promise, to wage righteous war against satan's forces. He wears many diadems, for He is King of kings and Lord of lords. His royal robe bears the reminder of His precious blood spilled at Calvary, by which we have power to overcome. That blood is the basis for the victory He is about to win at Armageddon. Our King comes now in vengeance to put an end to the antichrist's reign of terror.

The antichrist and his huge contingent from the coalition of nations will gather outside Jerusalem to make war against God's ancient people and against God Himself. When it appears there is no hope whatsoever, the heavens will open and the Lord Jesus Christ will come - this time not for His saints but with His saints! And while the antichrist's forces may be equipped with the latest high-tech weaponry, our battle will be won with one weapon: a sword.

This sword is His Word. He created everything with His words. At the beginning of time, Jesus spoke and worlds sprang into space, darkness fled and life appeared. Now, as history's timeline is winding down, He will speak again. He may utter only two words and the battle of Armageddon will be over. He might simply say, "Drop dead." And those vast armies will be obliterated. The beast and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire. And so will end the career of the antichrist, as 777 will take care of 666!

~Adrian Rogers~

Bible Study - verse by verse # 83

Matthew 27:33 Some scholars say  Golgotha (skull) derives its name from its appearance. Golgotha may have been a regular place of execution in a prominent public place outside the city. Executions held there would serve as a deterrent to criminals.

Matthew 27:34 Wine mixed with gall was offered to Jesus to help reduce His pain, but Jesus refused to drink it. Gall is generally understood to be a narcotic that was used to deaden pain. Jesus would suffer fully conscious and with a clear mind.

Matthew 27:35 The soldiers customarily took the clothing of those they crucified. These soldiers cast lots and divided Jesus' clothing among themselves, fulfilling the prophecy made by David. Much of Psalm 22 parallels Jesus' crucifixion.

Matthew 27:40 This accusation was used against Jesus in His trial by the Jewish counsel. It is ironic that Jesus was in the very process of fulfilling His own prophecy. Because Jesus is the Son of God, who always obeys the will of the Father, He did not come down from the Cross.

Into the Heart and Mind of God # 14

Do you not recognize that God always puts His people on to supernatural ground? The life of the child of God has to be a supernatural thing altogether. It has to be a continuous miracle. That is a very difficult position, but if you look at God's dealings with His servants in the Bible you will always see this: that He has put them on to a supernatural ground. That means that only God Himself can meet the situation. No one else can get us through. Our own flesh and energy cannot do so, nor can our own natural wisdom, as with Pharaoh and Abimilech.

Whether it was Abraham, or Moses, or Elijah, or any other one, they were put on to this ground where only God could see them through, and He would not give His glory to another.

Now look at Hebrews chapter twelve! All this great host of witnesses have been collected together, having all come at last to the victory, and they are represented as gathered in the great grandstand of Heaven, as though they were looking at us ... "We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses". Go back to chapter eleven and pick up each one separately. One the one side their situation was an altogether impossible one naturally. On the other side, therefore, every one of them is a miracle of God. Their arrival in victory at the end of the race is a supernatural thing, and their God is our God, and we are called in that way. It is a difficult way and it does not get easier as we go on, but God is able to make every one of us a miracle of His grace.

Oneness with God in His Purpose

Romans 9:6-8

We are now to consider oneness with God in His purpose, but before we come to that I want to say a general word.

I think it must be very clear to everyone that what we Christians have been brought into is a very great thing. I do not know what is your conception of the Christian life. It may be just a matter of having your sins forgiven and being given the promise of heaven, or it may be something more than that, but we ought to e realizing that this into which we have been called is something immense, something which the longest life here on this earth can never exhaust. Abraham lived well over a hundred years, but he never came into the fullness of all that  unto which God had called him. He is included with the large number about whom the writer of the Hebrews said: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises" (Hebrews 11:13). Many of those referred to in that chapter had a long life and walked with God, but at the end of their long lives they had not exhausted all that unto which God had called them.

You may wonder why I am saying this, but there are many young Christians reading this, and I feel that one of the greatest needs among young Christians today is to know how very great is the thing into which they have been called in Christ. Those of us who travel from Far East to Far West in this world are really shocked by the little knowledge that Christians have of the full meaning of Christianity. It is quite the exception to find anyone who knows more than the elementary things of Christianity. If I said nothing more than this, it would be important.

This is not just extra Bible teaching. This is the living provision which God has made in His Son, Jesus Christ, for every one of us. I could desire nothing more than that you should go away from here saying: "Well, what I have come into is something bigger than anything I ever imagined it to be!"

So we proceed at this time just to look at a little more of this great meaning and calling.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 15)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wholly Sanctified # 6

In the upper portion of New York city many citizens may often have noticed, especially in the past years, a great number of miserable shanties, standing on the choicest sites. Though perhaps on the corner of a splendid new avenue or looking out on a magnificent prospect, the house utterly unworthy of the site. Suppose that a millionaire should want to purchase this site, and that the owner should begin, before giving possession, to repair the old shanty for the new owner, putting fresh thatch on the miserable roof and a new coat of whitewash on the dirty walls.

How the purchaser would laugh at him and say, "My friend, I do not want your miserable old wreck of a tenement fixed up like this. At the best it will only be a shanty when you have done all you can to it and I will never live in it. All I want is the ground, the site, and when I get it I will raze the old heap of rubbish to the foundations, and dig deep down to the solid rock before I build my splendid mansion. I will then build from the base my own new house according to my own magnificent plan. I do not want a vestige of your house, all that I require is the location."

This is exactly what God wants of us and waits to do in us. Each of us has a splendid site for a heavenly temple. It looks out upon eternity and commands a view of all that is glorious in the possibilities of existence. The house that is built upon it now, however, is a worthless wreck, it is past improving. Our patching and repairing is worse than waste. What God wants of us is simply that we give Him the possibilities of our lives and let Him build upon them a temple of holiness which He will make His own abode and which He will let us dwell in with Him as His happy guests in the house of the Lord forever.

From the very foundations, the work must all be new and divine. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, and the true attitude of the consecrated heart is that of a constant yielding and constant receiving.

This last view of sanctification gives boundless scope to our spiritual progress. It is here that the gradual phase of sanctification comes in. Commencing with a complete separation from evil and dedication to God, it advances into all the fullness of Christ, and grows up to the measure of the stature of perfect manhood in Him, until every part of our beings and every part of our lives are filled with God and become a channel to receive, and a medium to reflect His grace and glory.

Beloved, have we learned this blessed significance of sanctification and taken God Himself as the fullness of our emptiness and fountain of our spiritual life? Then, indeed, we have entered upon an everlasting expansion and ascension, and forever more these blessed words will deepen and broaden in their boundless meaning:

Thou of life the Fountain art, 
Ever let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

~A. B. Simpson~

(continued with # 7 - "A Sanctified Spirit")

Hastening the Coming of Jesus?

May nothing distract me from the truth You have for me today, Lord. Amen

"... what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God ... "

Did you know you can hasten the coming of Jesus? The Bible says the day and the hour of His return is known only to God the Father (Mark 13:32). But that does not mean it is a date set on God's calendar which cannot be changed.

In fact, we're told to pray that Jesus will come. Jesus Himself taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come. Your will be doe on earth ..." (Matthew 6:10). Now, we know His Kingdom is going to come. Nothing can stop it. Yet we are told to pray for it. We know Jerusalem will one day be the glory center of the whole world and will enjoy peace, but the Bible says we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

Why should we pray for something to occur, when God has already promised and prophesied it will happen? Because God employs the prayers of His people in the fulfillment of His Word. We an move the coming of Jesus closer by praying for it. That's why the Bible ends with this prayer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).

God uses us to help accomplish the things He has already set in motion in preparation for the day of Christ's return. We're not waiting for any prophecies to be fulfilled. The only thing holding Jesus back is the readiness of His Bride. So another way we can speed up the coming of Jesus is through soul-winning.

God is building up the church, the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is patiently waiting until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25). And when that last soul is saved, Jesus will come back to claim His Bride.

We're to be looking and longing for His coming - and we can be laboring for it, as well. As we pray for His coming and win souls for Christ, we can hasten the day that our Lord splits the skies and returns in majesty and glory!

~Adrian Rogers~

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 19

How the Blessing is Hindered

"Matthew 16:24-25)

Many earnestly seek the full blessing of Pentecost and yet do not find it. Often the question is asked what may be the cause of this failure. To this inquiry more than one answer may be given. Sometimes the solution to the problem points in the direction of one or another sin which is still permitted. Worldliness, lovelessness, lack of humility, and ignorance of the secret of walking in the way of faith, and indeed many more causes, may also be often mentioned with justice.

Many people think they have come to the Lord and sincerely confessed these failures and put them away. Yet they complain that the blessing does not come. It is necessary to point out that there still remains one great hindrance - namely, the root from which all other hindrances have their beginning. This root is nothing less than our individual self, the hidden life of SELF with its varied forms of self-seeking, self-pleasing, self-confidence, and self-satisfaction.

The more earnestly anyone strives to obtain the blessing and desires to know what prevents him, the more certainly he will be led to the discovery that it is here the great evil lies. He himself is his worst enemy. He must be liberated from himself, and the self-life to which he clings must be utterly lost. Only then can the life of God entirely fill him.

A Full Understanding of the Cross

That is what is taught us in the words of the Lord Jesus to Peter. Peter had uttered such a glorious confession of his Lord that Jesus said to him: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." But when the Lord began to speak of His death by crucifixion, the self-same Peter was seduced by satan to say: "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee" (Matthew 16:17, 22).

The Lord said to him that not only must He Himself lay down His life, but that this same sacrifice was to be made by every disciple. Every disciple must deny himself and take up his cross in order that he himself may be crucified and put to death on it. He that would save his life will lose it; and he that is prepared to lose his life for Christ's sake will find it.

You see, then, what the Lord teaches and requires. Peter had leaned through the Father to know Christ as the Son of God, but he did not yet know Him as the Crucified One. Of the absolute necessity of the death on the cross, he as yet knew nothing. It may be so with the Christian. He knows the Lord Jesus as his Saviour; he desires to know him better, but he does not yet understand that he must have a deeper discernment of the death of the cross as a death which he himself must die. He must actually deny and lose his life - his whole life and being in the world - before he can receive the full life of God.

This requirement is hard and difficult. And why is this so? Why should a Christian be called on always to deny himself, his own feelings, will, and pleasure? Why must he part with his life? The answer is very simple. It is because that life is so completely under the power of sin and death that it has to be utterly denied and sacrificed. The self-life must be wholly taken away to make room for the life of God. He that would have the full, over-flowing life of God, must utterly deny and lose his own life.

Only one great stumbling-block lies in the way of the full blessing of Pentecost. It lies in the fact that two diverse things cannot at the same time occupy the very same place. Your own life and the life of God cannot fill the heart at the same time. Your life hinders the entrance of the life of God. When your own life is cast out, the life of God will fill you. As long as I myself am still something, Jesus Himself cannot be everything. My life must be expelled, then the Spirit of Jesus will flow in.

Let every seeker of the full blessing of Pentecost accept this principle and hold unto it. The subject is of such importance that I would like to make it still clearer by pointing out the chief lessons which these words of the Lord Jesus teach us.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 20 - "Self and the Power of Sin")

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Profiting From the Word # 7

God has given us His Word not only with the design of instructing us, but for the purpose of directing us: to make known what He requires us to do. The first thing we need is a clear and distinct knowledge of our duty; and the first thing God demands of us is a conscientious practice of it, corresponding to our knowledge. "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8). "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccles. 12:13). The Lord Jesus affirmed the same thing when He said, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14).

1. A man profits from the Word as he discovers God's demands upon him; His undeviating demands, for He changes not. It is a great and grievous mistake to suppose that in this present dispensation God has lowered His demands, for that would necessarily imply that His previous demand was a harsh and unrighteous one. Not so! "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). The sum of God's demands is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. 6:5); and the Lord Jesus repeated it in Matthew 22:37). The apostle Paul enforced the same when he wrote, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be Anathema" (1 Corinthians 16:22).

2. A man profits from the Word when he discovers how entirely and how sinfully he has failed to meet God's demands. And let us point out for the benefit of any who may take issue with the last paragraph that no man can see what a sinner he is, how infinitely short he has fallen of measuring up to God's standard, until he has a clear sight of the exalted demands of God upon him! Just in proportion as preachers lower God's standard of what he requires from every human being, to that extent will their hearers obtain an inadequate and faulty conception of their sinfulness, and the less will they perceive their need of an almighty Saviour. But once a soul really perceives what are God's demands upon him, and how completely and constantly he has failed to render Him His due, then does he recognize what a desperate situation he is in. The law must be preached before any are ready for the gospel.

3. A man profits from the Word when he is taught therefrom that God, in His infinite grace, has fully provided for His people's meeting His own demands. At this point, too, much present-day preaching is seriously defective. There is being given forth what may loosely be termed a "half Gospel," but which in reality is virtually a denial of the true Gospel. Christ is brought in, yet only as a sort of "make-do." That Christ has vicariously met every demand of God upon all who believe upon Him is blessedly true, yet it is only a part of the truth. The Lord Jesus has not only vicariously satisfied for His people the requirements of God's righteousness, but He has also secured that they shall personally satisfy them too. Christ has procured the Holy Spirit to make good in them what the Redeemer wrought for them.

~A. W. Pink~

(continued with # 8)

Bible Study - verse by verse # 82

Matthew 27:24 At first Pilate hesitated to give the religious leaders permission to crucify Jesus. He thought they were simply jealous of a teacher who was more popular with the people than they were. But when the Jews threatened to report Pilate to Caesar (John 19:12), Pilate became afraid. Historical records indicate that the Jews had already threatened to lodge a formal complaint against Pilate for his stubborn flouting of their traditions - and such a complaint would most likely have led to his recall by Rome. His job was in jeopardy.  The Roman government could not afford to put large numbers of troops in all the regions under their control, so one of Pilate's main duties was to do whatever was necessary to maintain peace.

Matthew 27:24 In making no decision, Palate made the decision to let the crowds crucify Jesus. Although he washed his hands, the guilt remained.d Washing your hands of a tough situation doesn't cancel your guilt. It merely gives you a false sense of peace. Don't make excuses - take responsibility for the decisions you make.

Matthew 27:29 People often make fun of Christians for their faith, but believers can take courage from the fact that Jesus Himself was mocked and greatly as anyone. Taunting may hurt our feelings, but we should never let it change our faith.

Matthew 27:32 Condemned prisoners had to carry their own crosses to the execution site. Jesus, weakened from the beatings He had received, was physically unable to carry His Cross any further. Thus, a bystander, Simon, was forced to do so. Simon was from Cyrene, in north Africa, and was probably one of the thousands of Jews visiting Jerusalem for Passover.

Worship God!

Let this time of study lead me to a deeper worship of You, Jesus. Amen

"And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."  (Revelation 19:10)

The apostle John got so excited when he saw this wedding in the sky that he made a great blunder. He got carried away, fell down at the feet of the angel who was revealing all of these things, and started to worship the angel! In the angel's correction to John we find one of the great proofs for the deity of Jesus.

The angel tells John, in effect, "Get up! God is the only One you can worship. Now glorify Jesus, for all these things you've been seeing point to Him!" This wedding doesn't center around the Bride but on the Groom. It is called the marriage of the Lamb. The angel redirects John's worship to Jesus.

Now, we're to worship God and He's the only One we're to worship (Luke 4:8). The greatest sin is the sin of idolatry, and that angel knew that no one, no thing, nobody is to be worshiped if He is not the Almighty. All throughout Revelation and the entire Bible you're going to find people worshiping Jesus. And if Jesus is not God, He has no right to be worshiped!

Prophecy is wrapped up in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you study the Bible and you study about prophecy, you're studying about Jesus. If you read the book of Revelation and you don't come to know and love Jesus more, you have missed the whole thing. It is the Revelation, the unveiling, of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1). Th spirit of prophecy testifies of Jesus. And at the marriage of the Lamb, He is going to be glorified.

The central figure of this wedding in the sky is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. One day He will rise from His throne and step from the lofty heights of heaven's splendor to embrace His Bride. But only the Father knows the date and the time of the wedding (Matthew 24:36).

~Adrian Rogers~

Experiencing the Holy Spirit # 18

A Source of Courage

Think how little preparedness there is for self-sacrifice on behalf of the extension of the Kingdom of God.

When the Lord Jesus promised the Holy Spirit at His ascension, it was given as a power in us to work for Him. "Ye shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The aim of the Pentecostal blessing from the King in heaven was simply to complete the equipment of His servants for His work as King on the earth. No sooner did the Spirit descend on them than they began to witness for Him. The Spirit filled them with the desire, impulse, courage, and power to brave all hostility and danger and to endure all suffering and persecution in making Jesus known as a Saviour. The Spirit of Pentecost was that true missionary spirit which seeks to win the whole world for Jesus Christ.

It is often said in our days that the missionary spirit is on the increase. Yet when we reflect carefully how little effort is expended on the missionary enterprise in comparison with the time spent on our own interests, we will see at once how feebly this question is still kindled in our hearts: "What more can I still sacrifice for Jesus? He offered Himself for me. I will offer myself wholly for Him and His work."

It has been well said that the Lord measures our gifts not according to what we give, but according to what we retain. He who stands beside the treasury and observes what is cast into it still finds many who, like the widow, cast in all their living.

How many have given only what they could never miss and what costs them little or no sacrifice. How different it would be if the full blessing of Pentecost began to flow in. How the hearts of men would burn with love for Jesus and, out of sheer joy, be impelled to give everything that He might be known as Saviour and all might know His love.

Brother, contemplate the conditions of the Church on earth, of the Christian community around you, and of your own heart. Then see why there is grave reason for the cry: "The full blessing of Pentecost. How little it is known." Ponder the present lack of sanctification, of separation from the world, of steadfastness among professing Christians, of conversions among the unsaved, and of self-sacrifice for the Kingdom of God. Let the sad reality deepen in your soul the conviction that the Church is at present suffering from one great evil, and this is her lack of the blessing of Pentecost. There can be no healing of her breaches, no restoration from her fall, and no renewing of her power except by this one remedy - namely, her being filled with the Spirit of God.

Never cease to speak, think, mourn, and pray over this trouble until this one thing needed becomes the one thing that occupies our hearts. Restoration is not easy. It may not come all at once. It may not come quickly. The disciples of Jesus required every day with Jesus for three long years to prepare them for it.

Let us not be unduly discouraged if the transformation we long for does not take place immediately. Let us feel the need and lay it to heart. Let us continue to be instant in prayer. Let us stand fast in faith.

The blessing of Pentecost is the birthright of the Church, the pledge of our inheritance, and something that belongs to us here on earth. Faith can never be put to shame. Cleaving to Jesus with purpose of heart never in vain. The hour will surely come when, if we believe perseveringly in Him, out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 19 - "How the Blessing is Hindered")