Separation From the World
When the Lord Jesus promised the Comforter, He said, "Whom the world cannot receive." The spirit of this world, which is devotion to the visible, is in irreconcilable antagonism with the Spirit of Jesus in heaven, where God and His will are everything. The world ha rejected the Lord Jesus; and, to whatever extend it may now usurp the Christian name, the world is still the same unteachable enemy.
For this reason Jesus said of His disciples, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). This, too, is the reason why Paul said: "We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12). The two spirits, the spirit of the world and the Spirit of Go, are engaged in a life-and-death conflict with one another.
Hence it is that God has always called on His people to separate themselves from the world and to live as pilgrims whose treasure and heart are in heaven. But is this what is really seen among Christians? Who will dare to say so? When they have attained a measure of unblamableness in their walk and assurance of heaven, most Christians consider that they are at liberty to enjoy the world as fully as others. Little is seen of true heavenly-mindedness in conversation and walk or in disposition and endeavor. Is not this the case because the search for spiritual excellence is so little enjoyed and sought for?
Light drives out darkness. The Spirit of heaven expels the spirit of the world. Where a man does not surrender himself to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of heaven, Christian though he may be, he must come under the power of the spirit of the world. Listen to the piercing cry that rises from the whole Church, "Who will rescue us from the power of this spirit of the world?" Your answer should be: "Nothing, no one, save the Spirit of God. I must be filled with the Spirit."
Are We Steadfast?
Those who labor for the salvation of souls complain that there are many who are full of zeal for a time and then fall away. When professing Christians enter into another circle of influence and are put to the test of prosperity or temptation, they cease to persevere. What produces this unhappy result? It comes from preaching with the wisdom of persuasive words rather than in demonstration of the Holy Spirit and of power. Hence their faith also stands in the wisdom and work of man rather than in the power of God.
As long as such people have the benefit of earnest and instructive preaching, they will continue to stand. If they lose it, they will begin to backslide. Because current preaching shows little demonstration of the Holy Spirit, souls are not brought into contact with the living God. For the same reason, far too much of the current faith is not in the power of God.
The Word, preaching, and means of grace will become a hindrance instead of a help if they are not in demonstration of the Holy Spirit. All external means of grace are things that inevitable change and fade. The Holy Spirit alone works a faith which stands in the power of God and so remains strong and unwavering.
(continued with # 17)