“The heart is the main thing in true religion…It is the hinge and turning-point in the condition of man’s soul. If the heart is alive to God and quickened by the Spirit, the man is a living Christian. If the heart is dead and has not the Spirit, the man is dead before God.” (J.C. Ryle)
Come, Holy Spirit, come,
Let thy bright beams arise,
Dispel the darkness from our minds,
And open all our eyes.
Convince of our sins,
Then lead to Jesus’ blood
And to our wondering view reveal
The secret love of God.
Show us that loving Man
That rules the courts of bliss,
The Lord of Hosts, the Mighty God,
The eternal Prince of Peace.
’Tis thine to cleanse the heart,
To sanctify the soul,
To pour fresh life in every part
And new create the whole.
Dwell, therefore, in our hearts,
Our minds from bondage free;
Then we shall know, and praise and love,
The Father, Son and thee.
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
Death and condemnation to the church that is not yearning after the Spirit, and crying and groaning until the Spirit is wrought mightily in her midst. He is here; he has never gone back since he descended at Pentecost. He is often grieved and vexed, for he is peculiarly jealous and sensitive; and the one sin never forgiven has to do with his blessed person; therefore let us be tender towards him, walk humbly before him, wait earnestly on him and resolve that there should be nothing knowingly continued that would prevent him from working in our midst.
Brethren, if we do not have the Spirit of God, it would be better to shut the churches, to nail up the doors and put a black cross on them and say, “God have mercy on us!” If you ministers have not the Spirit of God, you had better not preach, and you people had better stay at home. I think I speak not too strongly when I say that the church in the land without the Spirit of God is rather a curse than a blessing. This is a solemn word: the Holy Spirit or nothing and worse than nothing.
The Holy Ghost is here,
Where saints in prayer agree;
As Jesus’ parting gift he’s near
Each pleading company.
Not far away is he,
To be by prayer brought nigh,
But here in present majesty
As in his courts most high.
He dwells within our soul,
An ever-welcome guest;
He reigns in absolute control
As monarch in our breast.
Our bodies are his shrine,
And he, indwelling Lord;
All hail, thou Comforter Divine,
Be evermore adored!
Obedient to thy will,
We want to feel thy power,
O Lord of life, our hopes fulfill,
And bless this hallowed hour.
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
“But whoever has become a partaker of the divine character, the being of Jesus Christ and the power and character of the Holy Spirit, conforms himself to the image of Jesus Christ in all submission, obedience, and righteousness serves God,
in summary is a right-believing Christian;
that one is a new person and a new creature in Christ Jesus.”
“The Word took bodily form so that we might receive the Holy Spirit:
God became the bearer of a body so that men might be bearers of the Spirit.”
(Attributed to Athanasius)
“And to expose our hearts to truth and consistently refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arouses is to stymie the motions of life within us and, if persisted in, to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence.”
“When we are at our wits’ end of an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer. But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?”
“We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by our ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone…[We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.”
(This article was written by Frank Reed and originally posted here)
One of the most defining moments in Church History occurred in 1523 in Zurich, Switzerland. Ulrich Zwingli had been studying and teaching the Bible with his students. The local authorities eventually realized that this Bible study was bringing division to the community. The whole religious world was Roman Catholic. The Bible study in Zurich was a challenge to the Catholic system.
Actually, the Catholic system had been challenged by Martin Luther in Germany since 1517. Now that challenge had spread to Switzerland. Zwingli, an excellent Bible scholar and priest in the Catholic Church in Zurich, was teaching a group of his students to study the Scriptures. His students would take that study more seriously than Zwingli ever imagined.
The students, Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, Simon Stumpf and others’ study of the Scripture led them to accept the Word of God at face value. They took the Bible study beyond the academic approach of their teacher. Their lives were changed. They began to challenge the current religious system of belief and practice. It only seemed logical to them that understanding of the Scripture would produce changes in lives. One of the changes they saw was the need for believers’ baptism. Infant baptism was the practice of the Catholic Church. These men believed that the Bible taught adult, believers’ baptism.
The authorities called for meetings where these differences could be discussed. The authorities wanted to control the changes to be made. At one of these meetings, Zwingli, instead of standing with his students, deferred to the authorities. He said, “my lords will decide” how to proceed with decisions about following the Scripture.
His students were dumbfounded. They were taken aback. How could their respected Bible teacher now defer to and allow authorities to decide about truths which they had learned from the Bible? When Zwingli said, “my lords will decide,” Simon Stumpf responded, “Master Ulrich, the Spirit of God has already decided!”
These young men were committed to following the Spirit of God in the face of what ever the authorities would do to them. Indeed Zwingli, their beloved teacher, had deserted them at a time when they desperately needed him. What would they do? Would they follow their teacher? Would they follow the authorities? Who or what was the authority? Their study of the Bible convinced them that God and His Word was the only authority that was safe to follow.
What authority is safe to follow? The only safe authority is the Scripture as studied under the direction of the Holy Spirit. This was the conviction of Zwingli’s students in 1523. This commitment was the beginning of the Anabaptist movement. The Anabaptist movement was the beginning of the Mennonite, Hutterite, and Amish Church groups. This Anabaptist movement greatly influenced the beginning of the Brethren movement in 1708. Alexander Mack had similar convictions about the source of authority. He believed that the source of authority was the Scripture as understood by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The question today is: what is our source of authority? Can we say that it is the Scripture as understood by the indwelling Holy Spirit? Or, have we replaced that conviction with something else? Has a system of authority replaced the ultimate Authority?
May the words of Zwingli’s students continue to be the conviction with which we approach the decisions of life – “The Spirit of God decides!”
Radio advertisements for the Home Depot often end with the motto, “More saving. More doing. That’s the power of the Home Depot.”
That’s a good motto. I have recently been thinking about a Christian modification of that statement. Perhaps something like, “More saving. More doing. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Consider these verses:
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also make alive your mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:9–11, LEB)
“But when the kindness and love for mankind of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not by deeds of righteousness that we have done, but because of his mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4–7, LEB)