Communion with God (53)

 

We have adoption also by the Spirit; hence he is called the “Spirit of adoption;” that is, either he who is given to adopted ones, to secure them of it, to beget in their hearts a sense and persuasion of the Father’s adopting love; or else to give them the privilege itself, as is intimated, John 1:12.
He is also called the “Spirit of supplication;” under which notion he is promised, Zech. 12:10; and how he effects that in us is declared, Rom. 8:26, 27, Gal. 4:6; and we are thence said to “pray in the Holy Ghost.” Our prayers may be considered two ways:—
(1.) First, as a spiritual duty required of us by God; and so they are wrought in us by the Spirit of sanctification, which helps us to perform all our duties, by exalting all the faculties of the soul for the spiritual discharge of their respective offices in them.
(2.) As a means of retaining communion with God, whereby we sweetly ease our hearts in the bosom of the Father, and receive in refreshing tastes of his love. The soul is never more raised with the love of God than when by the Spirit taken into intimate communion with him in the discharge of this duty; and therein it belongs to the Spirit of consolation, to the Spirit promised as a comforter.
In Summary the Spirit brings the promises of Christ to remembrance, glorifying him in our hearts, shedding abroad the love of God in us, witnessing with us as to our spiritual estate and condition, sealing us to the day of redemption (being the earnest of our inheritance), anointing us with privileges as to their consolation, confirming our adoption, and being present with us in our supplications.

Adapted from Communion with God by John Owen

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Feast of Tabernacles (6)

Sung Psalm 116:9-19 (note refs to vows)

Readings Judges 21:16-25 and I Samuel 1.

Was the yearly feast at which the remaining Benjamites grabbed a wife each, the feast of Tabernacles? Very likely. It was in the right place, and the dancing and vineyards suggest a joyful feast. The whole scenario resulted from war between Israel’s eleven tribes and Benjamin, brought about with their siding with the rapists of Gibeah. After the war which initially went Benjamin’s way with massive Israelite losses, only 600 male Benjamites remained. The elders of Israel not willing to see one tribe become extinct but having made a rash vow not to give any of their daughters to the Benjamites, alternative arrangements had to be made.This led to two episodes of forced marriage, in the first of which 400 virgins from Jabesh-gilead were given them after all the men were slaughtered, then at this feast 200 more were taken by kidnap during the festivities. These were times of anarchy!

When we get to first Samuel we read of Elkanah and his two wives and children attending at Shiloh a yearly feast. Was it the feast of tabernacles? Again quite likely, as he took the whole family, which suggests more than a one-day feast like Pentecost, thus it likely was a week-long feast. It was in the place where the tabernacle was situated namely Shiloh and alcohol (a source of gladness) was associated. At this feast Hannah makes a vow to consecrate he firstborn son to the Lord to which her godly husband acquiesces (v23).

Communion with God (52)

 

The Spirit anoints believers. We are “anointed” by the Spirit, 2 Cor. 1:21. We have “an
unction from the Holy One, and we know all things,” 1 John 2:20, 27.  Christ is pre-eminently anointed  which is what Messiah or Christ mean (Isaiah 61:1,Dan. 9:24). Christ is said to be “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” Heb. 1:9; which
is the same with that of John 3:34, “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” We, who have the Spirit by measure, are anointed with the “oil of gladness;” Christ has the fulness of the Spirit, whence our measure is communicated: so he is anointed above us, “that in all things he may have the pre-eminence.” Christ was anointed with the Spirit to his threefold office of king, priest, and prophet; and by virtue of an unction, with the same Spirit dwelling in him and us, we become interested in these offices of his, and are made also kings, priests, and prophets to God. Isaiah. 11:2, 3 states, “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the LORD,” etc. Many of the endowments of Christ, from the Spirit wherewith he was abundantly anointed, are here recounted. Principally those of wisdom, counsel, and understanding, are insisted on; on the account whereof all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are said to be in him, Col. 2:3. And though this be but some part of the furniture of Jesus Christ for the discharge of his office, yet it is such, as, where our anointing to the same purpose is mentioned, it is said peculiarly on effecting of such qualifications as these: so 1 John 2:20, 27, the work of the anointing is to teach us; the Spirit therein is a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel, knowledge, and quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. So was the great promise of the Comforter, that
he should “teach us,” John 14:26, — that he should “guide us into all truth,” chap. 16:13. This of teaching us the mind and will of God, in the manner wherein we are taught it by the Spirit, our comforter, is an eminent part of our unction by him; which only I shall instance on. There is a threefold teaching by the Spirit:—
(1.) A teaching by the Spirit of conviction and illumination. So the Spirit teacheth the world (that is, many in it) by the preaching of the word; as he is promised to do, John 16:8.
(2.) A teaching by the Spirit of sanctification; opening blind eyes, giving a new understanding, shining into our hearts, to give us a knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; enabling us to receive spiritual things in a spiritual light, 1 Cor. 2:13; giving a saving knowledge of the mystery of the gospel: and this in several degrees is common to believers.
(3.) A teaching by the Spirit of consolation; — making sweet, useful, and joyful to the soul,
the discoveries that are made of the mind and will of God in the light of the Spirit of sanctification. Here the oil of the Spirit is called the “oil of gladness,” that which brings joy and gladness with it; and the name of Christ thereby discovered is a sweet “ointment poured forth,” that causeth souls to run after him with joy and delight, Song of Solomon 1:3.  John makes mention of the teaching of this unction, it respects peculiarly the Spirit teaching of us the love of God in Christ, the shining of his countenance; which, as David speaks, puts gladness into our hearts, Psalm 4:6, 7. We have this, then, by the Spirit:— he teacheth us of the love of God in Christ; he makes every gospel truth as wine well refined to our souls, and the good things of it to be a feast of fat things; — gives us joy and gladness of heart with all that we know of God whereby we are preserved from seduction. Indeed, to know any truth in the power, sweetness, joy, and gladness of it, is that great security of the soul’s constancy in the preservation and retaining of it.

Adapted from Communion with God by John Owen

Communion with God (51)

The Spirit as an earnest (down payment, pledge).

He is an earnest unto us. 2 Cor. 1:22, He has “given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts;”
5: 5, “Who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit;” as also, Eph. 1:13, 14, “Ye are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.” In the two former places we are said to have the earnest of the Spirit; in the latter, the Spirit is said to be our earnest. The Spirit is our earnest; the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts is directly
answering that of Gal. 4: 6, “God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts;” that is, the Spirit of his Son. The Spirit of promise himself is this earnest. In giving us this Spirit he gives us this earnest. God gives us the promise of eternal life. The full inheritance promised, is the fulness of the Spirit in the enjoyment of God, when that Spirit which is given us in this world shall have perfectly taken away all sin and sorrow, and shall have made us able to enjoy the glory of God in his presence, that is the full inheritance promised. So that the Spirit given us for the fitting of us for enjoyment of God in some measure, whilst we are here, is the earnest of the whole (Isa. 59:21), that we may have all the security we are capable of.  He has given us the Holy Spirit, the first-fruits of glory, the utmost pledge of his love, the earnest of all. If we are sons, then we are heirs of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. We have a right to an inheritance (1 Peter 1:4), kept in heaven for us.

Communion with God (50)

The Sealing of the Spirit.

The sealing of the Spirit: “We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, Eph. 1:13; and, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption,” chap. 4:30. What it is and its purpose. Owen says it is the imparting of the image or character of the seal to the thing sealed (see image above). This is to seal a thing, — to stamp the character of the seal on it. In this sense, the effectual communication of the image of God unto us should be our sealing. The Spirit in believers, really communicating the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness, unto the soul, sealeth us. AMEN and HALLELUJAH! To have this stamp of the Holy Ghost, so as to be an evidence unto the soul that it is accepted
with God, is to be sealed by the Spirit; taking the metaphor from the nature of sealing. And in this sense is our Saviour said to be sealed of God, John 6:27, even from that impression of the power, wisdom, and majesty of God that he had upon him in the discharge of his office.
The purpose of sealing is twofold:—[1.] To ratify what has been written (in Scripture!) or to confirm the testimony that is given by any one of the truth of any thing. Hence it is said, that he who receives the testimony of Christ “sets to his seal that God is true,” John 3:33. The promise is the great grant and conveyance of life and salvation in Christ to the souls of believers.
That we may have full assurance of the truth and irrevocableness of the promise, God gives us the Spirit to satisfy our hearts of it; and thence is he said to seal us, by assuring our hearts of those promises and their stability.
[2.] To appropriate, distinguish, or keep safe. This is the end of sealing. Men set their seals on that which they appropriate and desire to keep safe for themselves. So, evidently, in this sense are the servants of God said to be sealed, Rev. 7:4; that is, marked with God’s mark, as his peculiar ones, — for this sealing answers to the setting of a mark, Ezek. 9:4. Then are believers sealed, when they are marked for God to be heirs of the purchased inheritance, and to be preserved to the day of redemption. Now, if this be the sealing intended, it denotes not an act of sense in the heart, but of security to the person. The Father gives the elect into the hands of Christ to be redeemed; having redeemed them, in due time they are called by the Spirit, and marked for God, and so give up themselves to the hands of the Father.
If you ask, now, “Which of these senses is chiefly intended in this expression of our being
sealed by the Holy Ghost?” I answer, The first, not excluding the other. We are sealed to the day of redemption, when, from the stamp, image, and character of the Spirit upon our souls, we have a fresh sense of the love of God given to us, with a comfortable persuasion of our acceptation with him. Thus, then, the Holy Ghost communicates unto us his own likeness; which is also the image of the Father and the Son. “We are changed into this image by the Lord the Spirit,” 2 Cor. 3:18; and herein he brings us into fellowship with himself. Our likeness to him gives us boldness with him. His work we look for, his fruits we pray for; and when any effect of grace, any discovery of the image of Christ implanted in us, gives us a persuasion of our being separated and set apart for God, we have a communion with him therein.

Adapted from Communion with God by John Owen.

The Militant Christ

We need to bear this in mind much more than we do!

Introduction to “Keeping the Sword Drawn”

by Rev. Brian Huzinga

OUR MILITANT CHRIST

We must believe and confess the whole revelation of scripture; therefore, we must believe and confess that the Christ of the church is a militant Christ. In his tender mercy to his beloved church, and in his zealous devotion to his beloved Father, Jesus is a militant Christ toward his enemies, his Father’s enemies, and his church’s enemies.

Who can forget the story of wicked Balaam riding his donkey to go curse God’s Israel? The donkey saw something Balaam did not see, and in fear the donkey went off the path into the field. Balaam smote her. There in the vineyard the donkey saw the same terrifying sight and thrust herself against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot. Again, Balaam smote her. The donkey kept walking through a very narrow place, and she saw the fearful sight yet again and fell down under Balaam. Again, Balaam smote her. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey and she demanded of Balaam an explanation for those three beatings. Finally, the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam so that he could see the terrifying sight that the donkey had seen: “he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee [or literally, “to be an adversary unto thee”], because thy way is perverse before me” (Num. 22:31–32).

The angel of Jehovah whom Balaam encountered was not a common angel, but Jesus Christ in his Old Testament, preincarnate manifestation. Walking in a perverse way, Balaam and his donkey saw the Christ of Israel—a militant adversary standing in the way with his sword drawn. The New Testament Christ who is the Son of God incarnate is not essentially different than the sword-bearing angel of Jehovah in the Old Testament; therefore, the enemies of the church today see a militant Christ as they walk in their perverse ways. When the buyers and sellers of Jerusalem made the Father’s house of prayer a house of merchandise, they saw a whip-brandishing militant Christ (John 2:15). When the Jewish leaders corrupted true religion and killed the prophets, they were confronted by the militant Christ deftly wielding the sword of his effectual word and thrusting them through with denouncements: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Ye fools and blind! Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt. 23).

After the false prophets bring their “damnable heresies” into the church (2 Pet. 2:1), it is said that they “have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (v. 15). Therefore they must see what Balaam saw—the militant Christ with his sword drawn.

When the enemies of the church in the final manifestation of the kingdom of antichrist see Christ returning on the clouds of glory, they will see a militant Christ, for “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,” he will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and they will “be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess. 1:7–9).

Moreover, on that last day the enemies of Christ will hide “themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains” and say to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15–17).

To the eyes of faith, no clearer revelation of the militancy of the Christ can be found than in his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. It is exactly there at the cross that we see not only the supreme manifestation of his tender mercy to his church and his zealous devotion to his Father, but also his militancy toward his enemies. For when he was nailed to the cross to blot out the “handwriting of ordinances that was against us,” he was actively spoiling the “principalities and powers,” which are Satan and his hordes of demons, making a “shew of them openly [and] triumphing over them” (Col. 2:14–15). The cross was war. The cross was victory.

When the aged and persecuted apostle John was on the isle of Patmos and “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” he beheld Jesus and fell to the ground as a dead man (Rev. 1:9–10, 17). John fell down. John—the beloved disciple, who at the last passover so tenderly and intimately reclined in the bosom of Jesus (John 13:23)—fell to the ground in fear and awe. John saw the glorified Christ of heaven. Not only were Jesus’ head and hairs “white like wool,” his eyes “as a flame of fire … his feet like unto fine brass … his voice as the sound of many waters,” and his face as bright as the noon-day sun, but “out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword” (Rev. 1:14–16). Right now in heaven, the glorified Christ is a militant Christ.

Was not Christ the one who said, when sending out his apostles, “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10:34–36)?

I say again, we must believe and confess the whole revelation of scripture; therefore, we must believe and confess that the Christ of the church is a militant Christ. If Christ, the head of the church, is a militant Christ, who stands in the way of his enemies with his sword drawn, it stands to reason that we Reformed believers confess that the church of Christ on earth is to be identified as the church militant. It is our solemn duty then, in love for the church, in faithfulness to Christ, and in zealous devotion to our great God, to be militant and keep the sword drawn.

As it says in Song of Solomon 3:8, “They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.”

Link to booklet:

http://www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/keepingsworddrawn.pdf

Jacob’s hip.

And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good,” (Gen.32:12).

“And he (the wrestler-pre-incarnate Son of God) blessed him there.” (Gen.32:29).

“and he halted upon his thigh.” (Gen.32:31).

Sometimes God needs to cripple us to bless us. We are intent on doing things in our own strength and God humbles us, but be assured whatever he does is a blessing.

What God was teaching Jacob, he teaches all his people by leaving them with a sinful nature even after they are born again, instead of totally sanctifying them or taking them to heaven, so that as the catechism states they have only “a small beginning of new obedience.”  This makes us dependent upon God for daily grace-of forgiveness, for strength and for supplication.This is the message of  Romans 7 and Heidelberg Catechism L.D. 44.

Audio message or U tube below:

Which house are you building?

 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49. Note the foundation is true faith in Christ that leads to obedience and to heaven,  continued disobedience shows the professor is false, does not trust Christ, and ends up in hell. 

Communion with God (49)

Another great effective work of the Spirit is spoken of in Rom. 8: 16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” You know whose children we are by nature, — children of Satan and of the curse, or of wrath. By the Spirit we are put into another capacity, and are adopted to be the children of God, inasmuch as by receiving the Spirit of our Father we become the children of our Father. Thence is he called, verse 15, “The Spirit of adoption.” Now, sometimes the soul, aware of it’s depravity may doubt this but the Spirit comes and bears witness in this case. In the midst of the trial, a person of known and approved integrity (The Spirit) comes into the court, and gives testimony fully and directly on the behalf of the claimer; which stops the mouths of all his adversaries, and fills the man that pleaded with joy and satisfaction. Just as Christ is our heavenly Advocate!-JK .So is it in this case. The soul, by the power of its own conscience, is brought before the law of God. There a man puts in his plea, — that he is a child of God, that he belongs to God’s family; and for this end produceth all his evidences, every thing whereby faith gives him an interest in God. Satan, in the meantime, opposeth with all his might; sin and law assist him; many flaws are found in his evidences; the truth of them all is questioned; and the soul hangs in suspense as to the issue. In the midst of the plea and contest the Comforter comes, and, by a word of promise or otherwise, overpowers the heart with a comfortable persuasion and enables us to  cry  Abba, Father,” Gal. 4: 6. Remember still the manner of the Spirit’s working, before mentioned, — that he does it effectually, voluntarily, and freely. This is akin to the Lord Jesus Christ at one word stilled the raging of the sea and wind, all that were with him knew there was divine power at hand, Matt. 8:25–27. And when the Holy Ghost by one word stills the tumults and storms that are raised in the soul, giving it an immediate calm and security, it knows his divine power, and rejoices in his presence.

Adapted from Communion with God by John Owen.