therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.2 Thessalonians 1:4(NASB)
The Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. (Acts 7:48 NLT)
Christendom is largely constituted by this [aesthetic] sense—its architecture, its ritual, its music, its adornment, its lighting (or lack of it), its tone, its atmosphere, its vestments and so forth. All are of the soul.... Spiritual death marks that realm, and while there may be intense emotions which make for resolves, "high" thoughts, and desires, there is no genuine change in the nature of those concerned, and repeated doses of this must be taken to maintain any measure of soul-self-satisfaction which makes them feel good. All religions have their soulish feature in common, more or less, and it is here that the fatal blunder has been made by many religious people who contend that other religions, which are undoubtedly devout and sincere, should not be interfered with, but the good in them should be recognized and accepted. It is the confusing of religion with what the Bible means by being spiritual. Religion can rise to high levels and sink to terrible depths. It is the same thing which does both. But that thing never rises above the human level; it never really reaches God. Religion can be the greatest enemy of God's true thought, because it is Satan's best deception. Asceticism is no more truly spiritual than aestheticism. There is no more a brief with God for rigors, denials, fastings, puritanic iciness, etc., as such, than for the opposite. Simplicity may give God a chance, but it is not necessarily spiritual. It may just be a matter of taste....
How near to the truth in perception and interpretation can the mystical go! What wonderful things can the imagination see, even in the Bible! What thrills of awe, amazement, ecstasy, can be shot through an audience or congregation by a master soul! But it may all be a false world with no Divine and eternal issues. It may all go to make up the life here, and relieve it of its drabness, but it ends there. What an artificial world we live in! When the music is progressing and the romantic elements are in evidence — the dress and tinsel — the human personalities are parading, see how pride and rivalry assert themselves, and what a power of make-believe enters the atmosphere! Yes, an artificial world.... The tragedy in this melodrama is that it is "real life" for so many. This soul-world is the devil's imitation. It is all false, wherever we may find it, whether associated with religion or not.... "The Christian Faith" embraced as a religion, a philosophy, or as a system of truth or a moral or ethical doctrine, may carry the temporary stimulus of a great ideal; but this will not result in the regeneration of the life, or the new birth of the spirit. There are multitudes of such "Christians" in the world today, but their spiritual effectiveness is nil.
This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. § Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things. § If children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
I and My Father are one. § The Father is in Me, and I in Him. § My Father and your Father, and … My God and your God. § I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one.
The church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
There was … a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” § The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
Jesus … rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me" (John 15:4).
A barren life means barren service, and no amount of self-effort will ever make up for that!"Not I, but Christ.' The Lord Jesus does not ask that we should work for Him, but He intends to work through us. There is all the difference in the world between the two. In the one I plan and then ask His blessing upon it; in the other He plans and lets me into the secret of His glorious purpose. The one ends in futility and disappointment; the other in life, progress, and joy.
"In the one I slave and work worthily for Him, and constantly feel the barrenness of a busy life; in the other I let His life flow through me in all His glorious effortlessness, and rest in the assurance that the Lord Jesus at work cannot fail. The one is a life of endeavor, always being keyed up to do something greater; the other is a life of faith always looking to the Lord Jesus to reveal the next step and then give the enablement to carry it out." -H.G.
"The great question is not what you are doing, how successful you are, how great are your crowds, how impressive your work - but the question is, by what power are you doing it? It is difficult to attend any large religious gathering without perceiving the governing influence, consciously or unconsciously, of the psychological - which is of the human. Many apparently successful revival' meetings have much more in them of psychology than Spirit. Large numbers of seekers are brought to the altar by human soul-power rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit. And this accounts for the large numbers of so-called backsliders and repeaters' at the altar."
"Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
“Building up yourselves on your most holy faith.” Jude 1:20
There was nothing either of the nature of impulse or of cold-bloodedness about Our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the line of our temperament, not along the line of God. Impulse is a trait in natural life, but Our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God checks impulse, His checks bring a rush of self-conscious foolishness which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulse is all right in a child, but it is disastrous in a man or woman; an impulsive man is always a petted man. Impulse has to be trained into intuition by discipline.
Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land. We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.
All the ancestors of the Jews were baptised into Moses.
1 Corinthians 10:2
John said, I baptise you with water for repentance. But He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Jesus said, Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
As we read the Bible, we discover that the word “baptism” is used in different ways. John we are told baptised with water while the Israelites were baptised into Moses. Christ was to baptise with the Holy Spirit – which is a baptism for believers, – but He was also to baptise with fire – a baptism of judgement for the lost.
It is important to know what the word baptise means – and its significance, but is vital to know what each type of baptism is – or we may become confused. But in each case, it refers to being “put into” something – being “immersed” or “submerged”.
John immersed repentant Israelites into water – Believers are immersed into Christ. Water was the agency that John used – the Holy Spirit is the agency for believers. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance and people were placed into water. Spirit baptism occurs when we believe – we are placed into Christ by the Spirit.
Because there was no English word for “baptise”, the word has been transliterated from the Greek language and most people think that baptism is connected with water. However, water is only one of many elements into which one can be baptised.
In Exodus 14 we read that all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. This baptism is where the people were put into Moses, having made a conscious decision to follow Moses’ leadership – and is explained well by G.G. Findlay:-
The cloud, shading and guiding the Israelites from above, and the “sea” making a path for them throughread more
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.
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 Saviour Jesus Christ.
The mystery among the Gentiles, is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
So many passages to the Church from Christ’s apostles give serious and dire warnings.. forewarning of things to come, lest we be swept up into the error of the age – warnings that the mystery of lawlessness can damage the stability, of a Christian.
We are well down the path of that volatile society, about which we are warned. We are living at a time when Christian stamina is increasingly being wearied. We are experiencing a season when the believer’s endurance is being taxed.
Are we to throw up our hands in horror as we see society tumble into the abyss? Are we to bemoan these evil days and sink deeper into a Slough of Despond? Are we to simply sit back and sanctimoniously accept prophetic inevitable? – for scripture tells us that the error of lawless men will wax greater in end times.
I think not – important though it is to recognise the signs of the approaching “day”. We shouldn’t accept the inevitable by allowing it to submerge our witness and walk. The deeper the darkness of the hour, the more vivid the brightness of His illumination. The greater the troubles of this age, the more manifest is His glorious, sufficient grace. The bigger today’s pressures and pain, the more ready will Christ carry His own – though not always in the way we expect.
As the mystery of lawlessness increases, so the mystery of godliness multiplies - grace; more grace; much grace –Grace built upon more grace. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace John 1:16 For where sinread more