Showing posts with label Christian articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian articles. Show all posts

What Do We Take The Holy Spirit For?



To make mockery of the person and power of the Holy Spirit is to make trivial the very throne of God and the preeminence of Christ himself.

Of all esteemed personas of the Christian faith, be it kings, martyrs, apostles, disciples, priests, prophets and pastors of days gone by and the present, who could be trifled with in thoughts and words, the Holy Spirit certainly doesn’t make the long list.

Modern theology, especially among young believers, grapples with understanding the apt operations and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The issue of who He is, how He works and His role in the life of a Christian have often revolved around dark clouds of human doubts.

I certainly claim not to have comprehended the mystery of the Spirit but the Scriptures, to a great extent, is crystal clear on certain gray areas. The Holy Spirit is an integral member of the Triune God and thus, is deserving of reverence allied with the rest of the Godhead. But pitiably, the Holy Spirit is the most unrecognized, the most dishonored, the most grieved, the most abused, the most misrepresented and the most blasphemed of the members of the Trinity.

In the light of this discourse is a scrutiny of an article brought to the fore titled: “15 Ways to Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit Right Now”. I find it rather disturbing to conclude that heresy, I tell you, heresy and utter misapprehension of the Holy Spirit embellish the claims of this article (click here to read).

If there were ever ways to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit (a thought not so absurd to conceive) in the life of a believer of Christ, the road map should unarguably start from a willful repentance at the Cross; by faith and prayer proceed into sanctification; and a genuine spiritual longing leading to an eventual – but continuous experience of – baptism of the Holy Spirit. Hence, the unleashing of the Spirit’s powers to the glory of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son and Lord of all.

"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit is God’s promise to His children of grace through faith in Christ Jesus, and its offering is simply to this end: that Christ be glorified in and through us being His witnesses in all nations of the world.

This gives a clearer finality as to the purpose and ministry of the Spirit of God – the believers’ Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby (John 14:16; John 15:26; John 16:7 AMP), that Christ may be glorified.

But these heresies by the article in question suggest, amongst several others, that “when you stand on your head while speaking in tongues, you will literally feel the power of God activated within your soul.” It submits also that there is a thing called “Spiritual mouth-breathing” that should be observed “to the point of near-hyperventilation which will cause one to become extremely light-headed and dizzy, which always means you are having a personal experience with God.”

I suppose, at this point, you are entertaining an innocent chuckle fused with ‘godly grief’ at these erroneous views of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. What really do we take the Holy Spirit for? A supernatural force at one’s beck and call triggered by ‘chemical dumps in the brain resulting from forced emotional highs and lows?’ God forbids!

One tends to wonder the origin of such presuppositions that rattle the regenerated mind. This is certainly not Biblical if the case of the Apostles at Pentecost (see Acts 2:1-47) is anything to go by. The unleashing of the Holy Spirit’s power witnessed at Pentecost was preceded by a spiritual longing for the revelation of God’s promise (Joel 2:28-29; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26-27) as affirmed by Jesus Christ, matched equally by prayer of faith at the upper room.

The book of Acts 10:1-48 reveals a similar case of unleashing the Spirit’s power. Cornelius, ‘a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always…’ moved the hands of God to his favour.

We shouldn’t fail to note Cornelius’ spiritual longing and prayer (as it was at Pentecost) before the unleashing of the Spirit’s power, “So Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago I was fasting until this hour…’ (Acts 10:30-31). ‘Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him… While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished… For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God’ (Acts 10:34-35, 44-46).

Both events of the Apostles at Pentecost and Cornelius have something in common. We see God-centered souls with a genuine spiritual longing for God’s manifestation backed by prayer of faith; and then, the unleashing of the Holy Spirit’s power.

Without exhausting the list of Scriptural references of how the Holy Spirit’s power was unleashed, it is, however, flawed to believe that the Spirit’s power could be wrought by mere mechanisms of human mind and reasoning. Unleashing the power of the Holy Spirit is not and cannot be about manufacturing and tweaking emotions. To suppose so is fit for a sacrilege or better still, a blatant blasphemy.

In lending illumination on “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” on his blog, Morgan Guyton, director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, defined blasphemy as “falsely attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to demonic activity.” And if this is Biblically irrefutable (Mark 3:19-30), what shall we then call an outright reversal of this – attributing the works of diabolic conception to the Holy Spirit?

Whatever coloration related responses may take in this regard, I leave you to decide as you see fit. But we could, however, deduce from this an indignity of the Holy Spirit and consequently, could label such notion as blasphemy.

“Punch yourself in the face as hard as you can. Your eyes will well up with tears as you encounter the Lord personally and intensely” or “stick your finger into a light socket. Instant Holy Spirit power!” What an appalling and heartrending depictions of the Holy Spirit’s power.

Christ’s urgent appeal to His beloved is these: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Mark 14:38) and “…do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).


Should we miss the foundational knowledge and principles of the Christian faith and our understanding of Scriptural doctrine be faulty, then have we not the truth and live not in the Spirit. We walk in darkness still and not in the light of liberty by grace through faith in Christ.

Now must we earnestly content for the faith once delivered unto the saints, upholding the truth of Christ and exposing the unfruitful works of darkness. We must not only study to shew ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, but must also study to maintain the purity of the gospel by discerning the truth from concocted falsehood from the pit of hell meant to lure the very elect.

Finally, brethren, see then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-17). And since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2 Peter 3:17-18).

*** Written by Michael Olajubu, alias Jacobs Adewale (Admin) ***


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How To Make Spiritual Progress



The complacency of Christians is the scandal of Christianity.

Time is short, and eternity is long. The end of all things is at hand. Man has proved himself morally unfit to manage the world in which he has been placed by the kindness of the Almighty. He has jockeyed himself to the edge of the crater and cannot go back, and in terrible fear he is holding his breath against the awful moment when he will be plunged into the inferno.

In the meantime, a company of people exist on the earth who claim to have the answer to all life’s major questions. They claim to have found the way back to God, release from their sins, life everlasting and a sure guarantee of heaven in the world to come.

These are the Christians. They declare that Jesus Christ is very God of very God, made flesh to dwell among us. They insist that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. They testify that He is to them Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption, and they steadfastly assert that He will be to them the Resurrection and the Life for eternity to come.

These Christians know, and when pressed will admit, that their finite hearts have explored but a pitifully small part of the infinite riches that are theirs in Christ Jesus. They read the lives of the great saints whose fervent desire after God carried them far up the mountain toward spiritual perfection; and for a brief moment they may yearn to be like these fiery souls whose light and fragrance still linger in the world where they once lived and laboured.

But the longing soon passes. The world is too much with them and the claims of their earthly lives are too insistent; so they settle back to live their ordinary lives, and accept the customary as normal. After a while they manage to achieve some kind of inner content and that is the last we hear of them. This contentment with inadequate and imperfect progress in the life of holiness is, I repeat, a scandal in the Church of the Firstborn.

The whole weight of Scripture is against such a thing. The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to arouse the complacent. “Let us go on” is the word of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul embodies this in his noble testimony as found in his Philippian epistle:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ … that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection … but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:7-14)

If we accept this as the sincere expression of a normal Christian I do not see how we can justify our own indifference toward spiritual things. But should someone feel a desire to make definite progress in the life of Christ, what can he do to get on with it? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Strive to get beyond mere pensive longing. Set your face like a flint and begin to put your life in order. Every man is as holy as he really wants to be. But the want must be all-compelling.

Tie up the loose ends of your life. Begin to tithe; institute family prayer; pay up your debts as far as possible and make some kind of frank arrangement with every creditor you cannot pay immediately; make restitution as far as you can; set aside time to pray and search the Scriptures; surrender wholly to the will of God. You will be surprised and delighted with the results.

2. Put away every un-Christian habit from you. If other Christians practice it without compunction, God may be calling you to come nearer to Him than these other Christians care to come. Remember the words, “Others may, you cannot.” Do not condemn or criticize, but seek a better way. God will honour you.

3. Get Christ Himself in the focus of your heart and keep Him there continually. Only in Christ will you find complete fulfilment. In Him you may be united to the Godhead in conscious, vital awareness. Remember that all of God is accessible to you through Christ. Cultivate His knowledge above everything else on earth.

4. Throw your heart open to the Holy Spirit and invite Him to fill you. He will do it. Let no one interpret the Scriptures for you in such a way as to rule out the Father’s gift of the Spirit. Every man is as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. Make your heart a vacuum and the Spirit will rush in to fill it.

Nowhere in the Scriptures nor in Christian biography was anyone ever filled with the Spirit who did not know that he had been, and nowhere was anyone filled who did not know when. And no one was ever filled gradually.

5. Be hard on yourself and easy on others. Carry your own cross but never lay one on the back of another. Begin to practice the presence of God. Cultivate the fellowship of the Triune God by prayer, humility, obedience and self-abnegation.

Let any Christian do these things and he will make rapid spiritual progress. There is every reason why we should all go forward in our Christian lives and no reason why we should not. Let us go on.

** Written by Aiden Wilson Tozer (A.W. Tozer) **
*** From the Book - "Man: The Dwelling Place of God" ***


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The End Of Your Rope



The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.”

Paul was one of the greatest men of faith who ever lived and yet he had problems wherever he went. He said he was “in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I had been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils of false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things that come upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-28).

These scriptures tell us that throughout his ministry Paul often reached the end of his rope. All he could do is hang on and trust God. Yet not once do we hear him complain about his hardships nor did he sink in the quicksand of self-pity.

Elijah, on the other hand, was one of the greatest prophets of all time and in 1 Kings 19, he has a major pity party. He had just won a major victory on Mt. Carmel and this stirred up the wrath of the wicked Queen Jezebel. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent messengers to Elijah, saying, ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life…” (1 Kings 1-3a).

Elijah had just seen the fire of God come down from heaven and consume a water-drenched sacrifice and here he is running away from a powerless threat from an evil queen. Verse 8 says, “So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” Here God performs another miracle. Elijah eats one meal and it sustains him for forty days and still he runs away.

Verses 9 and 10, “And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the Word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” Why run when you’ve been empowered with the anointing of God? Here comes the pity party, “So he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant; torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.’”

He says the same thing in verse 14. It is interesting to note that when Elijah sank in the muck and mire of self-pity that his role as a prophet soon came to a close. God’s response to this pity party was he had Elijah anoint Jehu, who went on to put an end to the reign of Jezebel, and Elisha who replaced him as God’s prophet in the land. Not long after this a chariot of fire appeared and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Indeed, the worst thing a person can do when tests and trials come is to fall into the destructive trap of self-pity.

Jeremiah 15 records another major pity party. Verse 17 and 18 says, “I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will you surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?”

Jeremiah did not have an easy life. He was one of Judah’s greatest prophets during its darkest days and because of his radical message of God’s judgment through the coming Babylon invasion he led a life of conflict.

Jeremiah faithfully proclaimed the divine condemnation of rebellious Judah for forty years and was rewarded with opposition, beatings, isolation, and imprisonment. His sympathy and sensitivity cause him to grieve over the rebelliousness and imminent doom of his nation. He often desires to resign from his prophetic office because of the harshness of his message and his reception, but he perseveres to Judah’s bitter end.

He is the weeping prophet (Jeremiah 9:1; 13:17) - lonely, rejected, and persecuted. More than once Jeremiah was at the end of his rope and his sufferings easily match those of the apostle Paul. Thankfully, the Lord had an answer for the self-pity the prophet felt in chapter 15.

"Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘If you return, then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you must not return to them’” (Jeremiah 15:19). God gives the condition of what Jeremiah had to do if he was to receive help from the Lord. God said, “If you return…” When did Jeremiah leave? The moment he stopped talking by faith.

God also said to take out the precious from the vile. That which is precious to God is our faith (2 Peter 1:1) and that which is vile is unbelief. A special promise is given to all of us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with each temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Listen to how the Message Bible translates this special promise, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.” If you will refuse to panic when the tests and trials come, if we stay connected to Jesus through the fire, then ultimately spiritual growth will come and your call will be fulfilled.

God wanted Jeremiah to return to what the prophet said in Jeremiah 15:16, “Your Words were found, and I ate them, and Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your Name, O Lord God of hosts.” The Word of God is powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and will turn you into the type of person who believes that whatever you do will prosper and succeed, The Bible says you can do all things through Christ, the anointed One and His anointing, but first you must adjust your thinking to line up with the thoughts of God.

Romans 12:2a says, “And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” The way you think can either cause you to press forward in the midst of a trial or it can become a roadblock that prevents your advancement in life. Thomas Edison once performed ten thousand experiments in his quest to invent the light bulb and none produced the results he wanted. “I have not failed,” he said. “I have successfully found ten thousand ways that will not work.” When you think like that there is no way the enemy can stop you from accomplishing what you set out to do.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.” A winner is not a person who has never suffered a setback. A winner is someone who knows that when the setback comes he or she must rise to the occasion and continue forward. The thoughts, words, and actions of a winner will always be in agreement with the Word of God. This, in turn, will determine whether you will be a success or failure because what happens “in” you is more important than what happens “to” you.

You can have the attitude that God is bigger than any obstacle you face or you can believe that He’s not. The former will allow you to release the power of God into your situation through faith whereas the latter will confine you to a life of fear and failure. This truth is illustrated in Numbers 13 which records the story of when Moses sent twelve people to spy out the Promised Land.

After being gone for several weeks the spies came back and told of seeing huge fortified cities there and strong giants dwelling in the land. Everything the spies said about the land was true, the difference being Joshua and Caleb came back with a good report while the remaining ten returned bearing a bad report.

Numbers 13:30-31 says, “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession for we are well able to overcome it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we are.’”


Goliath was bigger and stronger than David but that didn’t stop him from facing down and killing the giant. We need to understand that faith is not a denial of the circumstances. Joshua and Caleb saw the same giants as the other spies but they knew God had given them the land and refused to allow the circumstances to dictate to them how things were going to be. This is called faith and faith always has a good report. Caleb said they were well able to take the land.

To walk victoriously we need to feed on the Word of God continually and maintain a good report on the evil day when circumstantial giants block our path. Numbers 14:36-38 tells us that because the ten spies brought back a bad report they immediately died by the plague before the Lord whereas Joshua and Caleb were the only members of their evil generation who entered into the Promised Land. This reward was given to them because they believed God in spite of the circumstances and as a result brought back to the people a good report.

There is another story in the Bible where under grave circumstances a woman overlooked a tragic event in her life and won a major victory by confessing a good report. Her story is found in 2 Kings 4:8-37. One day Elisha traveled to the city of Shunem where he met a woman who constrained him to come into her home and eat some food. This happened regularly and this same woman persuaded her husband to build an upper bedroom onto their house so that the prophet of God could have a comfortable dwelling place whenever he traveled to that region.

During one of his visits, Elisha decided to bless the family for their kindness and upon hearing that the woman and her elderly husband had no children he foretold that in about a year’s time they would have and embrace a baby son. In time the child grew and one day he ran out into the field to be with his father and immediately complained of a pain in his head. The boy was taken to his mother where he sat on her lap and eventually died. Now was the moment of truth for this woman who so longed to be in the presence of the man of God. Would she have a pity party or run toward her giant like David did?

A person’s faith is most tested when all they have is taken away and oftentimes a person is required to use their faith when they are drained emotionally, mentally and physically. The young boy’s mother did this by not preparing her son for burial but instead went and laid him on the bed of the prophet. She immediately got ready to run to the man of God and when asked why she was going all she said was “It is well.” She made a good report in spite of the loss a mother is sure to feel at the death of one of her children.

For this mother there was no turning back and without delay she departed and went to Mt. Carmel to see the man of God. Elisha instructed his servant when he saw her approaching, “Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ And she answered, ‘It is well.’” For the second time this woman gave a good report and confessed, “It is well.”

It is interesting to compare what this mother said to Elisha to what Martha said to Jesus at the death of her brother Lazarus. Jesus was not present when Lazarus passed away and the first thing Martha said was, “Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died.” When Jesus responded that her brother would rise again Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Martha had faith for the past and for the future whereas the dead boy’s mother displayed a “now” faith by twice saying “It is well.”

The timing of faith is vitally important to those who desire to live a victorious life that is pleasing to God. To walk by faith you must forget about yesterday and look beyond tomorrow in order to focus on today. Faith is a present tense reality and the first three words of Heb. 11:1 say, “Now faith is…”

When Moses asked God what His Name was He said, “I Am Who I Am.” Our God is a “now” God and so also is His faith which He gives to us when we confess and believe His Word. Knowing this is what compelled the young boy’s mother to confess “It is well” and as a result of her “now” faith the prophet went and ministered the miracle working power of God into the body of her lifeless son.

The lad was raised up and went on to live a rich full life and it all began when his mother gave a good report in the face of adversity. She did not panic nor did she sink in the muck and mire of self pity. No, she trusted God and spoke out that which she believed in her heart. She personified what Jesus said in Matthew 5:3-4 (Message), “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***


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Why People Find The Bible Difficult



That many persons find the bible hard to understand will not be denied by those acquainted with the facts. Testimony to the difficulties encountered in Bible reading is too full and too widespread to be dismissed lightly.

In human experience there is usually a complex of causes rather than but one cause for everything, and so it is with the difficulty we run into with the Bible. To the question, Why is the Bible hard to understand? No snap answer can be given; the pert answer is sure to be the wrong one. The problem is multiple instead of singular, and for this reason the effort to find a single solution to it will be disappointing.

In spite of this I venture to give a short answer to the question, and while it is not the whole answer it is a major one and probably contains within itself most of the answers to what must be an involved and highly complex question. I believe that we find the Bible difficult because we try to read it as we would read any other book, and it is not the same as any other book.

The Bible is not addressed to just anybody. Its message is directed to a chosen few. Whether these few are chosen by God in a sovereign act of election or are chosen because they meet certain qualifying conditions I leave to each one to decide as he may, knowing full well that his decision will be determined by his basic beliefs about such matters as predestination, free will, the eternal decrees and other related doctrines.

But whatever may have taken place in eternity, it is obvious what happens in time: Some believe and some do not; some are morally receptive and some are not; some have spiritual capacity and some have not. It is to those who do and are and have that the Bible is addressed. Those who do not and are not and have not will read it in vain.

Right here I expect some readers to enter strenuous objections, and for reasons not hard to find. Christianity today is man-centred, not God-centred. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men.

The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable.

This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show.

The notion that the Bible is addressed to everybody has wrought confusion within and without the church. The effort to apply the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount to the unregenerate nations of the world is one example of this. Courts of law and the military powers of the earth are urged to follow the teachings of Christ, an obviously impossible thing for them to do. To quote the words of Christ as guides for policemen, judges and generals is to misunderstand those words completely and to reveal a total lack of understanding of the purposes of divine revelation. The gracious words of Christ are for the sons and daughters of grace, not for the Gentile nations whose chosen symbols are the lion, the eagle, the dragon and the bear.

Not only does God address His words of truth to those who are able to receive them, He actually conceals their meaning from those who are not. The preacher uses stories to make truth clear; our Lord often used them to obscure it.

The parables of Christ were the exact opposite of the modern “illustration,” which is meant to give light; the parables were “dark sayings” and Christ asserted that He sometimes used them so that His disciples could understand and His enemies could not (see Matthew 13:10-17). As the pillar of fire gave light to Israel but was cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, so our Lord’s words shine in the hearts of His people but leave the self-confident unbeliever in the obscurity of moral night.

The saving power of the Word is reserved for those for whom it is intended. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. The impenitent heart will find the Bible but a skeleton of facts without flesh or life or breath. Shakespeare may be enjoyed without penitence; we may understand Plato without believing a word he says; but penitence and humility along with faith and obedience are necessary to a right understanding of the Scriptures.

In natural matters faith follows evidence and is impossible without it, but in the realm of the spirit faith precedes understanding; it does not follow it. The natural man must know in order to believe; the spiritual man must believe in order to know. The faith that saves is not a conclusion drawn from evidence; it is a moral thing, a thing of the spirit, a supernatural infusion of confidence in Jesus Christ, a very gift of God.

The faith that saves reposes in the Person of Christ; it leads at once to a committal of the total being to Christ, an act impossible to the natural man. To believe rightly is as much a miracle as was the coming forth of dead Lazarus at the command of Christ.

The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.

** Written by Aiden Wilson Tozer (A.W. Tozer) **
*** From the Book - "Man: The Dwelling Place of God" ***


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The Once-Born And The Twice-Born



Classification is one of the most difficult of all tasks. Even in the realm of religion there are enough lights and shades to make it injudicious to draw too fine a line between men and men. If the religious world were composed of squares of solid black and solid white classification would be easy; but unfortunately it is not.

It is a grave error for us evangelicals to assume that the children of God are all in our communion and that all who are not associated with us are ipso facto enemies of the Lord. The Pharisees made that mistake and crucified Christ as a consequence.

With all this in mind, and leaning over backwards to be fair and charitable, there is yet one distinction which we dare make, which indeed we must make if we are to think the thoughts of God after Him and bring our beliefs into harmony with the Holy Scriptures. That distinction is the one which exists between two classes of human beings, the once-born and the twice-born.

That such a distinction does, in fact, exist was taught by our Lord with great plainness of speech, in contexts which preclude the possibility that He was merely speaking figuratively. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," (John 3:3). He said, and the whole chapter where these words are found confirms that He was speaking precisely, setting forth meanings as blunt and downright as it is possible for language to convey.

"Ye must be born again," (John 3:5-7) said Christ. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). This clear line of demarcation runs through the entire New Testament, quite literally dividing one human being from another and making a distinction as sharp as that which exists between different genera of the animal kingdom.

Just who belongs to one class and who to the other it is not always possible to judge, though the two kinds of life ordinarily separate from each other. Those who are twice-born crystallize around the Person of Christ and cluster together in companies, while the once-born are held together only by the ties of nature, aided by the ties of race or by common political and social interests.

Our Lord warned His disciples that they would be persecuted. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," (John 16:33) He said, and "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matthew 5:10-11).

These are only two of many passages of the New Testament warning of persecution or recording the fact of harassment and attack suffered by the followers of the Lord. This same idea runs through the entire Bible from the once-born Cain who slew the twice-born Abel to the Book of the Revelation where the end of human history comes in a burst of blood and fire.

That hostility exists between the once-born and the twice-born is known to every student of the Bible; the reason for it was stated by Christ when He said, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19). The rule was laid down by the apostle Paul when he wrote, "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now" (Galatians 4:29).

Difference of moral standards between the once-born and the twice-born, and their opposite ways of life, may be contributing causes of this hostility; but the real cause lies deeper. There are two spirits abroad in the earth: the spirit that works in the children of disobedience and the Spirit of God. These two can never be reconciled in time or in eternity.

The spirit that dwells in the once-born is forever opposed to the Spirit that inhabits the heart of the twice-born. This hostility began somewhere in the remote past before the creation of man and continues to this day. The modern effort to bring peace between these two spirits is not only futile but contrary to the moral laws of the universe.

To teach that the spirit of the once-born is at enmity with the Spirit of the twice-born is to bring down upon one’s head every kind of violent abuse. No language is too bitter to hurl against the conceited bigot who would dare to draw such a line of distinction between men. Such malignant ideas are at odds with the brotherhood of man, says the once-born, and are held only by the apostles of disunity and hate. This mighty rage against the twice-born only serves to confirm the truth they teach. But this no one seems to notice.

What we need to restore power to the Christian testimony is not soft talk about brotherhood but an honest recognition that two human races occupy the earth simultaneously: a fallen race that sprang from the loins of Adam and a regenerate race that is born of the Spirit through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

To accept this truth requires a tough mindedness and a spiritual maturity that modern Christians simply do not possess. To face up to it hardly contributes to that “peace of mind” after which our religious weaklings bleat so plaintively.

For myself, I long ago decided that I would rather know the truth than be happy in ignorance. If I cannot have both truth and happiness, give me truth. We’ll have a long time to be happy in heaven.

** Written by Aiden Wilson Tozer (A.W. Tozer) **
*** From the Book - "Man: The Dwelling Place of God" ***


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Character Of A Christian



Text: Matthew 5:1-6

Key Verse: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6)

John Hill Aughey, one of the notable gospel ministers, said: “Holiness consists of three things – separation from sin, dedication to God, transformation into Christ’s image. It is in vain that we talk about the last, unless we know something experimentally about the first.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the verse above, pointed out some salient issues about Christian conducts. When a great multitude followed Him, He went to the mountain where He taught them what they should know about true fellowship with God, which obviously would make them enjoy life on earth and in heaven.

Remarkably, Jesus pointed out that nobody would be able to make heaven without being poor in spirit. Heavenly-minded people should not be haughty, but be humble and lowly. They must acknowledge their spiritual wretchedness, bewail their guilt and thirst after God.

For those who mourn for their spiritual state, Jesus assured that they will be comforted and filled with happiness. Their godly sorrow will enable them have true repentance, become watchful of everything they do and continue to depend on God wholeheartedly.

Jesus equally taught of the benefit of meekness, pointing out that those who quietly submit to God and bear all insults patiently would inherit the kingdom of God. Those who are meek would always live peaceably with everybody.

These teachings of our Lord are still relevant to us today. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. At every moment, we should be friendly with everyone, not being proud or feel that we know more than others.

“Nothing so clearly discovers a spiritual man as his treatment of an erring brother.”


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The Dangers Of Hypocrisy



Text: Mark 7:5-15

Christians are a chosen generation and a peculiar people. Our lives should attract and draw out those in darkness into the marvelous light of the gospel. But when our lives contradict what we profess and preach, we become hypocrites and the hearts of sinners we are to win for the Lord become more hardened to the gospel.

It is not sufficient to cast out devils and do miracles in the Lord’s name and preach fiery sermons to sinners. Many who do these will be denied by the Lord on the last day because of the secret sins they indulge in and the evils they harbor in their hearts.

Our public and private lives when brought into examination at any time should receive the approval of God. We must not honour God with our lips and distant our hearts from Him. A double life is a life of hypocrisy and God disapproves it.

Hypocrites, no matter how much respect they command because of their eloquence or oratory, hospitality and charity and regular observance of Christian ordinances, will not receive any commendation from the Lord.

Some so called believers are hypocrites because they are ashamed to be identified with the Lord; they wrap their Bibles when going to church to avoid being ‘embarrassed’ by people around them.

Though they have received many blessings from the Lord, they cannot tell others about Christ with confidence and boldness. The Lord says, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him or her will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).


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We Must Be Examples



Key Verse: “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7)

Now that we have become believers in Christ there are few things that are now required of us, one of those things is to be an example to others; those who believe and to those who do not believe.

We are under a microscope; people are trying to see if we live the life that we proclaim. They are looking to see if we ‘walk the walk’ as well as we ‘talk the talk’. Those in the world are looking at us waiting for us to make a mistake so that they can accuse us of being a hypocrite, but those in the church are looking to us to be an example that they can look up to.

As we begin to mature in Christ those who are babes look to us as an example of how they should live their lives. We must live our lives in holiness and teach those who are young in the faith to do the same. There are several ways in which we must show ourselves as an example to those who believe.

In 1 Timothy 4:12, the Bible teaches us, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” These were the instructions Paul gave to Timothy because he was a young man. Paul instructed Timothy to be an example to those in the church.

We must be as Paul and begin to teach those who are young in the faith how they should live Christ-like. It is during this time we are best able to teach them how to live and to instruct them in the ways of holiness. We must teach them to be an example in word: the things we say will very often show what is in the content of our heart.

We must teach those who are young in Christ that they must allow the Holy Spirit to change their hearts so that their conversation will begin to change. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Paul then tells Timothy that he must be an example in charity or love. This is important because Jesus said this is the first commandment. In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus tells us, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

We must show them love! We must show that we love the Lord, and we do this by obeying His commandments. We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves; we show this by giving to those who are in need and not being selfish. When God blesses us, we must in turn bless others.

The story of the Good Samaritan is an example of loving thy neighbor (Luke 10:26-37). We must be an example in spirit; this is to say we must be of a humble spirit and to be forgiving. We must also exhibit a spiritual walk with God. Romans 8:14 tells us, “Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's children.” We don’t have to walk around speaking in tongues all the time to show them this; we must show them that we have the faith that God is in control and that we are doing things according to His will.

We must also be an example in faith. People are looking for us to show them that we have the faith to believe God for everything that we need. It is by our actions that they will know that we have faith. If we are looking to get a job, then we should go out and put in applications to get a job and not expect God to give us a job while we just sit around and eat Twinkies all day. God is able to do that if He wishes, but we have to do something to show God that we trust Him to provide for us.

We must show them our faith through our works. James tells us “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions” (James 2:18b). How will those around us know that we have faith unless they see us do something? And we must be an example in purity of heart and in living a holy life.

They will see what we do when we are not at church. Are we just a Sunday morning saint or is that how we live our lives daily? Those who are young in the faith are looking to us to be an example. They are like our children who do what we do so therefore we must take on Christ so that they will know how to live a life in holiness.

Let’s be an example of righteousness and holiness for all to see so that God will be glorified through us! May the God of peace, and the peace and love of Christ be with you always! Amen.

*** Written by Edwin D. Kerns ***


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