Nov 19, 2012
Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing Sweet, Sweet Spirit
There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.
Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.
There are blessings you cannot receive
Till you know Him in His fullness and believe;
You’re the one to profit when you say,
“I am going to walk with Jesus all the way.”
If you say He saved you from your sin,
Now you’re weak, you’re bound and cannot enter in,
You can make it right if you will yield,
You’ll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel.
If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection… —Romans 6:5
Co-Resurrection. The proof that I have experienced crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a definite likeness to Him. The Spirit of Jesus entering me rearranges my personal life before God. The resurrection of Jesus has given Him the authority to give the life of God to me, and the experiences of my life must now be built on the foundation of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus here and now, and it will exhibit itself through holiness.
The idea all through the apostle Paul’s writings is that after the decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus penetrates every bit of my human nature. It takes the omnipotence of God— His complete and effective divinity— to live the life of the Son of God in human flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a guest in merely one room of the house— He invades all of it. And once I decide that my “old man” (that is, my heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything. My part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals to me. Once I have made that important decision about sin, it is easy to “reckon” that I am actually “dead indeed to sin,” because I find the life of Jesus in me all the time (Romans 6:11). Just as there is only one kind of humanity, there is only one kind of holiness— the holiness of Jesus. And it is His holiness that has been given to me. God puts the holiness of His Son into me, and I belong to a new spiritual order.
Beware of bartering the Word of God for a more suitable conception of your own. Disciples Indeed, 386 R
With hundreds of prophecies related to the Messiah, it shouldn’t surprise us that God used many people—believers, unbelievers, and even some unquestionably wicked individuals—to ensure the Savior’s earthly life would unfold according to plan. For example, a census ordered by Caesar Augustus brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, the city of Christ’s birth. (See Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:1-4.)
What’s more, God used some of the most powerful men of the day to bring about His Son’s sacrificial death on the cross. Trumped-up charges by the Pharisees and Sadducees helped turn the crowd against Jesus (Mark 15:9-11). Pilate condemned Him, and the Romans carried out the actual crucifixion. They even bartered for His clothes and chose not to break His legs, as predicted in Scripture. (See John 19:24, 36.)
During the dark days between Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, the disciples must have believed the messianic plan had been derailed. But God’s goal wasn’t to bring political revolution as some believed. He sent His Son to redeem mankind: Jesus paid the penalty of death for all our sins.
Before the foundation of the world, God had planned for the salvation of every tribe and nation. Throughout history, He orchestrated events to fulfill His purpose, using even the ungodly to move His plan forward.
Many have had a hand in advancing the Savior’s story, but the ultimate responsibility is the Father’s. He gave His only Son over to death on behalf of the world that He loved (John 3:16). Both the righteous and the wicked who took part in God’s story were following His script.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:2)
The benefits of the Lord are, indeed, great and marvelous, and it would be an act of ingratitude not to remember and appreciate them. Note the following partial list in this psalm:
– Forgiveness. “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities” (v. 3). God forgives all! He “cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
– Healing. “Who healeth all thy diseases” (v. 3). The greatest and ultimate disease is that of aging and death, but one day “there shall be no more death” (Revelation 21:4).
– Redemption. “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction” (v. 4; see also 1 Peter 1:18-19).
– Glorification. “Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (v. 4).
– Provision. “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things” (v. 5; see also James 1:17).
– Strength. “Thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (v. 5).
– Protection. “The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (v. 6).
The greatest benefit of all, of course, is the gift of salvation, by the mercy of God. Note the testimonies of God’s mercy: “Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (v. 4). “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (v. 8). “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (v. 11). “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him” (v. 17).
Infinite as the universe, enduring as eternity—these are the dimensions of God’s mercy! “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (v. 12). No wonder this great psalm both begins and ends with the inspiring exhortation: “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” HMM
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. —Psalm 103:1-2
Increasing knowledge of God’s ways and works, especially His wise and tender treatment of His redeemed children, fills me with ever-mounting degrees of admiration and praise. It is becoming every day easier to understand experientially the hosannas and hallelujahs which make up such a large portion of the sacred Scriptures. They are the normal response of the heart to the manifold goodness of God, and it would, in fact, be hard to understand their omission if they were not found there.
While I have no doubt that the grace which has followed me since my boyhood will continue with me while I live on earth and for an eternity after, I have enjoyed already enough of God’s benefits to supply me with matter for constant praise for at least a
thousand years to come. If God were to close my account tomorrow and refuse any longer to honor me with His favors, the circumstances of His grace to me so far would require that I should still thank Him unceasingly with tears of honest gratitude.
Lord, don’t ever let me take for granted the many blessings You send my way. Give me a thankful heart today and be pleased with my offering of praise. Amen.
Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:15)
Some of you will object to my saying this—but it is my opinion that in Christianity we have over-emphasized the psychology of the lost sinner’s condition.
We spend time describing the sinner’s woes and the great burden he carries until we almost forget the principal fact that the sinner is actually a rebel against properly constituted authority!
That is what makes sin SIN! We are rebels, we are sons of disobedience. Sin is the breaking of the Law and we are fugitives from the just laws of God while we are sinners.
We are fugitives from divine judgment.
But thankfully, the plan of salvation reverses that, and restores the original relationship, so that the first thing the returning sinner does is confess: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight and I am no more worthy to be called Thy son. Make me as one of Thy hired servants!”
Thus, in repentance, we reverse that relationship and we fully submit to the Word of God and the will of God, as obedient children!
Wherever the church is, there is God. God is pleased, in his mercy and condescension, to stoop from the highest heavens to dwell in this lower heaven—the heaven of his church. It is here, among the household of faith, he deigns—let me say it with sacred reverence—to unbend himself, and hold familiar intercourse with those round about him whom he hath adopted into his family. He may be a consuming fire abroad, but when he comes into his own house he is all mercy, mildness, and love. Abroad he does great works of power; but at home in his own house he does great works of grace.