Posts Tagged ‘Satan’

sanctified…preserved…called

Normally we think of “holy,” or  “saints,” but have you ever thought of yourself as beloved – if not, add that to your list of definitions for sanctified.

For sanctification is not only meant to be considered as internal, but also to election – the appointment to service – vessels set apart with design and purpose for sacred use and service.  I think it still implies a separation from the world so that we are considered a distinct and peculiar people – as such we are loved by God the Father.

We owe our preservation wholly to Jesus; and know full well that everlasting life comes only by Him. We would all fall away and perish if it were not for the grace of God keeping us.

We continue our walk in the faith unshaken knowing that this faith of ours can not be preserved unless we continue in union with Christ, by whose  grace alone we can be preserved and called.

We have a place in His heart, and we are in His hands, and are in Him, and united to Him, and we are represented by Him in the covenant of grace; and being in Him, we are preserved by Him,  We need to understand that we are not  preserved from falling   from the corruption of human nature, nor from actual sins and transgression.  However, the law could not execute the sentence of condemnation on us, nor sin damn us, nor Satan.

We are not preserved  from indwelling sin, nor from the temptations, nor from doubts and fears and unbelief, nor from slips and falls into sin; but from the tyranny and dominion of sin, from being devoured by Satan, and from a total and final falling away;  we are preserved in the love of God, and of Christ; in the covenant of grace; in a state of adoption; and in the paths of right living, truth, faith, and holiness.

Called to be saints.

Saints is the same as Christians; to become such we are called to believe in Christ.  We are called out of darkness into light, and from bondage to liberty; and from a dependence on ourselves to the grace and righteousness of Christ; and from society to fellowship with Him; and to eternal glory.

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Can Satan fill a Christian’s heart?

Well, I guess that we need to state the obvious – great deeds of wickedness are traced to the influence of Satan.

He is the father of lies – he owns the franchise on the attempts to deceive.

It becomes our problem when we find ourselves yielding to the temptation.

Nowhere in the Bible are people supposed to be free from guilt from the mere fact that they have been “tempted” to commit it. God requires them to “resist” temptation; and if they “yield” to it… then…

For when our hearts or our minds are “full” of such a crime – when we are “intent on it”, strongly “impelled to it”; or when we are fully occupied with it, maybe even excited about it – what does that mean?

To lie is to attempt to deceive. The deception which we practice, what we pretend with can be seen as “tempting” God – supposing that He could not detect a fraud.

Maybe the real issue here is not with God the Father, but God the Holy Spirit?

I think that is the real issue here – I think this is an act against the Holy Spirit.  When the Holy Spirit guides us and leads us and we follow, but somehow along the way we are not true to the call, and “keep some for ourselves” but act like we gave it all away – are we not making a fool of the Holy Spirit?

Barnes shares these two thoughts:

(1) The Holy Spirit is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son; or, in other words, there is a distinction of some kind in the divine nature that may be designated by the word “person.” This is clear from the fact that sin is said to have been committed against him – a sin which it was supposed could not be detected. “Sin” cannot be committed against an “attribute” of God, or an “influence” from God. We cannot “lie unto” an attribute, or against wisdom, or power, or goodness; nor can we “lie unto” an “influence,” merely, of the Most High. Sin is committed against a “Being,” not against an “attribute”; and as a sin is here against “the Holy Spirit,” it follows that the Holy Spirit has a “personal” existence, or that there is such a distinction in the divine essence that it may be proper to “specify” a sin as committed especially against him. In the same way sin may be represented as committed especially against the “Father” when his “name” is blasphemed; when his “dominion” is denied; when his mercy in sending his Son is called in question. Sin may be represented as committed against “the Son” when his atonement is denied; his divinity assailed; his character derided, or his invitations slighted. And thus sin may be represented as committed against “the Holy Spirit” when his office of renewing the heart, or sanctifying the soul, is called in question, or when “his” work is ascribed to some malign or other influence. See Mark 3:22-30. And as sin against the Son proves that he is in some sense distinct from the Father, so does sin against the Holy Spirit prove that in some sense he is distinct from the Father and the Son.

(2) the Holy Spirit is divine. This is proved, because he is represented as being able to search the heart, and to detect insincerity and hypocrisy. Compare Jeremiah 17:10; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 2:10, “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God”; Revelation 2:23. And he is expressly “called” God.

This should cause us to examine ourselves, pray and dread hypocrisy, covetousness, and seeking glory for ourselves. It will prevent us from being false teachers. Let us learn to hate lies, follow the God of truth, and avoid as much as possible doubtful expressions or even double meaning in our speech.

 

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The presence of the Lord

God has come to dwell with people because of Jesus and we have become the servants of the living God because of what Christ has done for us…

We know He is powerful because of the resurrection, and He has displayed it so personally, especially to those who saw the waters roll back at the sea and at the Jordan river.

The truth in those cases was implied – the fact that God was there and the inference from that, or the truth which followed from that, was, that before that God in whose presence from whom the waters of the sea fled in alarm – the whole earth should tremble.

The majestic, powerful, and gracious presence of God; such as He sometimes causes to attend His ministers, His Word, His Church, His martyrs and confessors; and so as to strike an awe upon, and terror into, their greatest enemies, as well as to convert His own people.

When Christ comes for the salvation of His people , He redeems them from the power of sin and Satan, separates them from an ungodly world, forms them to be His people.  and becomes their King.  That same power is available to us – whether we are planting a church, involved is spiritual battles, preaching the gospel, facing temptations and more temptations than we could possible dream of, facing our own prejudices and praying they are removed, and the watching the whole person becoming new only happens when we have the presence of God’s Spirit within us.

In the presence of the Lord we are protected, provided for, have our sins washed away, supplied with a lifetime of life-giving water and comforted with the Holy Spirit,  and promised a boatload of blessings and unconditional love – but when we stand before Him, this Holy and incredibly powerful Judge, let us prepare our hearts to meet our God so that we may have full confidence before Him.

 

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Blow the trumpets!

Have you ever had days when you were completely intoxicated with being glad for having such a great day – ever feel like blowing a trumpet?

Have you ever had days, after an incredible amount of battle, wit and expended energy in battling the war either within you or from others externally, and you finished the battle as victor – ever feel like blowing a trumpet?

Have you had days where you needed to be reverent and need to come and experience God – ever feel like blowing a trumpet?

Did you have a day or days of fun and celebration – ever feel like blowing a trumpet?

I have had some amazing days, but I surely can say that I never felt like blowing a trumpet.  Yet, in these incredible experiences, God wants the world to know that we have received from Him a completed promise, actually promises, and that blessings He has laid up for us in these covenants, if you will, are for us.  His best idea, to let every one remember that incredible fact, was to blow a trumpet.

God then takes pleasure in our religious exercises, when we take pleasure in them. Holy work should be done with holy joy.

We sadly lack celebration in the church – on more than one occasion, church service has been compared to a sporting event, and church loses every time as we get nowhere near the level of emotion we seem to achieve at other events we participate in.

But I think these trumpets do more than just a reminder of God goodness and fulfillment of promise of blessing.  Matthew Henry puts it right when he states that they proclaim the good news to those who do not know God.  It calls them to repent, proclaims liberty to the captives and slaves of Satan and collects the worshippers of God. It directs and encourages their heavenly journey; stirs them up to combat against the world and sin, encouraging them with the assurance of victory. It leads their attention to the sacrifice of Christ, and shows the Lord’s presence for their protection. It is also necessary that the gospel trumpet give a distinct sound, according to the persons addressed, or the end proposed; whether to convince, humble, console, exhort, reprove, or teach. The sounding of the trumpet of the gospel is God’s ordinance, and demands the attention of all to whom it is sent.

Question is – how do I blow this trumpet today and what does it look like and what does it sound like?  How much longer will I serve my God quietly and secretly?

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Maintain discretion and preserve knowledge

Two words seldom heard in this “get it, use it, throw it away” world we live in – and they are maintain and preserve.  At least we know that those two things are very hard to do.  Much more fun for some of us to embrace change, out with the old – in with the new kind of attitudes.

But discretion and knowledge are considered so valuable that if you lost them you would actually be lost yourself.

Discretion – first of all you start seeing it alive in you and for the first time when you step back and say, I discerned that – retain that in your heart forever and then use it – think, speak, and act discreetly.

The idea here that thoughts, keeping good thoughts, are the thoughts of the heart that you are to observe.

People of spiritual wisdom will take notice of them.  Evil thoughts, which lead to sin, are not to be expressed and are to be challenged; good ones to be cherished and improved; wise and sagacious ones are to be attended to, as being of great advantage in the various affairs and business of life; and spiritual wisdom helps to such thoughts, and directs to the observance and exercise of them.

Knowledge – you want to be able to speak of things worthy to be known, and communicate the knowledge of them to others; by which means useful knowledge will be kept and preserved, and be continued in successive ages; even the knowledge of God and of Christ, and of the Gospel and its doctrines; and which will be a means of people keeping their faith alive, as from false doctrine, error, and heresy, so from profaneness and immorality; and particularly from the adulterous and wandering eye.

Let’s focus a bit on the seventh commandment sin, because at the end of the day – discernment and knowledge will keep you from violating this instruction.  For once you get involved in worshipping something or someone else as your god, once you stray from the truth and start to follow some strange doctrine, your hearts and minds will be lead astray.

One of Satan‘s method of drawing people from the worship of God into false religion is in the area of adulterous relationships. Consider how fatal the consequences; how bitter the fruit! Take it any way, it wounds. It leads to the torments of hell. The direct tendency of this sin is to the destruction of body and soul. We must carefully avoid every thing which may be a step towards it. Those who would be kept from harm, must keep out of harm’s way. If we thrust ourselves into temptation we mock God when we pray, Lead us not into temptation. How many foolish people attend this sin! It blasts the reputation; it wastes time; it ruins the estate; it is destructive to health; it will fill the mind with horror. Though you may feel quite happy and content now, yet sooner or later it will bring sorrow. The convinced sinner reproaches themselves, and makes no excuse for their folly. By the frequent acts of sin, the habits of it become rooted and confirmed. By a miracle of mercy, true repentance may prevent the dreadful consequences of such sins; but this is not often; far more die as they have lived. What can express the case of the self-ruined sinner in the eternal world, enduring the remorse of their conscience!

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