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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Way in which God Leads Us

Discovering God's WillSinclair B. Ferguson:

The way in which God leads us is the way of following Christ in bearing the cross. Any “guidance” which contradicts this principle will lack the familiar autograph of Christ. Any “voice” which beckons us to forsake this pathway we will silence. For we will have come to recognize the accents of our Master. There is no voice like the voice of the One who has been crucified. (Discovering God’s Will)

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Longing for God’s Law

R.C. SproulR. C. Sproul:

A survey by George Gallup Jr. revealed a startling trend in our culture. According to Gallup, the evidence seems to indicate that there are no clear behavioral patterns that distinguish Christians from non-Christians in our society. We all seem to be marching to the same drummer, looking to the shifting standards of contemporary culture for the basis of what is acceptable conduct. What everybody else is doing seems to be our only ethical norm.

This pattern can emerge only in a society or a church wherein the law of God is eclipsed. The very word law seems to have an unpleasant ring to it in our evangelical circles.

Let’s try an experiment. Read the passages from Psalm 119 that accompanies this devotion. Try to crawl into the skin of the writer and experience empathy. Try to feel what he felt when he wrote these lines thousands of years ago.

Does this sound like a modern Christian? Do we hear people talk about longing passionately for the law of God? Do we hear our friends expressing joy and delight in God’s commandments?

Psalm 119:97: “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

Psalm 119:11–12: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You! Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes!”

Psalm 119:131: “I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.”

Read more articles at Ligonier Ministries. . . .

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God

JohnWilburChapmanIf you do not love a person, he can grieve you very little. On the other hand, if you love someone – that person has the power to hurt you. In Ephesians 4:30, we find evidence of the love of the Holy Spirit for the Christian. In this verse, Paul commands us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1917) shares his thoughts on this below:

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” (Ephesians 4:30)

Of all the epistles that ever came from the heart of the great Apostle Paul, this letter to the Ephesians seems to me about the sweetest and best. It is the epistle in which we find “the heavenly places” mentioned so many times; it is the epistle in which we find so many different names applied to our Father in heaven; and I suppose it is the letter in which we find the very highest spiritual truth presented in all the Bible. But while we find the very highest idea of spiritual things, we also find the Apostle Paul turning to give us instructions concerning the most ordinary affairs of daily life. Some rules are here concerning Christian conversation. Some suggestions are made touching the relation which the husband sustains to the wife, and the wife to the husband. Indeed, if one should live in the spirit of this letter to the Ephesians, he would do nothing less than live what has been called by some “the life of surrender,” and others “the victorious life,” but which Paul calls “the life in the heavenly places.” Paul makes all these different suggestions, and then adds: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” as if He could be grieved by a wrong atmosphere in the home, or by a wrong use of the lips; and this is true.

While many of us would shrink from doing things plainly inconsistent with our Christian profession, we would be astonished if we could be made to understand that the way we have used our lips has grieved the Holy Spirit.

First of all, the very fact that we may grieve Him proves by inference His personality. You cannot grieve an influence. It seems to me that we may grieve the Spirit by even stopping to prove that He has a personality equal to the Father and to the Son, for it is so self-evident. Yet many men and women do not seem to have grasped the truth of His personality, and thus must grieve Him. In the second place, the fact that we may grieve Him proves His sensitiveness. In John 1:32, it is said: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove.”

The dove stands for all that is sensitive in the family of birds. I have been told that the dove has been known to tremble when there was held before it one single feather of a vulture’s wing. The Spirit of God is so sensitive that that which has even the appearance of the evil in it hurts Him. . . .

There are several different expressions in the New Testament in line with my text. “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51). I believe that only the unregenerate resist Him. In his letter to the Thessalonians Paul says, “Quench not the Spirit.” That may refer especially to the life of the Holy Ghost in the church, so that we may quench Him by ignoring Him in the government of the church. If we would have a blessing sweeping over our land from sea to sea, from north to south, I believe that we must begin by conforming the life of our churches to the teachings of the Holy Ghost.

“Grieve not the holy Spirit of God.” Only a child of God may grieve the Spirit, and that is the sad part of it. How many times we have heard these words referred to and read as if they admonished us not to grieve away the Spirit of God! It seems to me that we must at least grieve the Spirit when we add to or take from any part of revealed truth. It would be contrary to Scripture to say that we could grieve away the Spirit. If the Spirit of God comes to abide in us, He comes to stay, and there is no power on earth that can separate us from Him, when once He takes possession of us. We have been born of the Spirit, and we cannot grieve Him away. That would mean a change of all God’s plan for us, for we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. I believe that I am a part of God’s great plan for ages to come, and if I should fall out it would mean a change of all God’s plans for time and eternity. We cannot grieve away the Holy Spirit of God; no, but we may grieve Him. (“Grieving the Spirit”)

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