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Gifts from the Ascended Christ

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Gifts from the Ascended Christ

6 minuten leestijd

“...Thou hast received gifts for men...” (Psalm 68:18b).

Thou hast received gifts for men.” The first gift that we realize and are taught in the Scriptures that Christ has brought into this world through His wonderful finished work (we read of it in John’s gospel) is the gift of God, the Holy Ghost. He is the third person in the glorious Trinity; His love for the Church is exactly like that of the Father and the eternal Son. Oh, what a part He has in God’s plan for salvation. We mentioned this morning that Christ’s advent into this world was through the work of the Holy Ghost—He brought about the Incarnation—and at the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, John beheld the Holy Ghost descend from heaven and abide upon Him. The Spirit was given to Him without measure, and as He ascended on high, this blessed, wonderful gift that He has received for men—sinful men—in this world, and every blessing that the Church has, spiritually, every favour that we have, any knowledge that we have spiritually must come by the indwelling and work of God, the Holy Ghost. There is no salvation outside of that. Whatever we learn in our heads, and you may study the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, if the Holy Ghost is not in it, it will avail you nothing in eternity. We must speak the truth even if it is hateful.

Everything that comes down from heaven is given by the Holy Ghost, even as He convinces all His people of their sins; it is His blessed work, and none can accomplish it compellingly but He. You might read about it, you might believe it with a nominal, natural belief which is perhaps good in its way, but of itself, it will never save you eternally. It is the Holy Ghost’s work alone that can convince savingly of sin. As I have said many times, it is not a matter of a change of opinion concerning religion or even a change of religion itself. It is a secret work in the heart. First of all, He blesses His people with a new heart—a heart of feeling—and that heart possesses eternal life that will never perish. Whatever the soul is brought through later in this life, it will never alter the life which the Holy Ghost puts into the heart at the new birth. Never. We might alter in our feelings regarding it. Faith, living faith, will sometimes soar very high; it will sometimes droop very low, but it makes no difference to that faith, and it makes no difference to that life within. “And I give unto them (My sheep) eternal life; and they shall never perish...” (John 10:28). Oh, what a mercy this is, a wonderful mercy amidst all the changes that the Church is subject to in this sinful world. Well, this glorious gift, what a wonderful gift it is.

The next gift I would mention is the gift of the ministry, for He raises up men as ever He has done since the apostles’ days, to proclaim the gospel of Christ—the gospel of His blessed grace and mercy—showing His love to His Church. First of all, men receive this gift by the Holy Ghost; nothing other than this is effectual, and what a mercy it is. As we said, however, the first thing that the Holy Ghost does is to convince of sin. Now, the poor sinner when he is under this teaching cannot believe that this springs out of eternal love toward him. Sometimes, according to the sovereign work of the Holy Ghost and confronted with the holiness of God, the sinner feels nothing but death and ruin. When he feels his sins, his fallen state, and his helplessness to do anything about it, he cannot believe that this work of God, the Holy Ghost, springs from eternal love; however, the first real conviction of sin does spring from eternal, unchanging, and blessed love in the Trinity towards that poor sinner. Sooner or later, as certainly as the Holy Ghost makes him to know himself as a sinner, so surely will he be given a taste of the love that moved the Trinity to save his poor soul from a well-deserved hell. Oh, but what a wonderful gift this is, and the Lord uses the preaching of the gospel in some cases to this end; He ever has, and He ever will.

The Lord has given His Word—what a gift this is—and everything He does by the Holy Ghost in this world is in exact accordance with this Word. Nothing the Holy Ghost does will ever contradict this Word. We read that He shall not speak of Himself; neither does He. It is His delight to show the sinner the love of Christ, to show him salvation, to show him there is a way in which God can be just and yet justify the ungodly sinner. Oh, He shows him the beauty, the loveliness of the person of Christ; it is the delight of the Holy Ghost to do this, and when He does, how sweet it is. Do you know anything about the love of Christ in your heart? Have you ever felt a preciousness in the Person of Christ? Have you ever seen Him as the one thing needful? Have you ever felt that “Without Him I must perish”? Have you ever felt in your poor soul, “Give me Christ, or else I die”? Have you ever longed for Him after you have seen in Him all that your poor, helpless soul needs for time and eternity—such suitability in His salvation, His finished work? You do not perceive these things all at once, but this new heart is drawn toward Christ; it is the work of none other than the Holy Ghost.

People may confess in a mere profession of religion how they love Christ, but there is no love in the natural heart of yours and mine to Christ. We were born in sin and shapen in iniquity, and there is nothing within us at all, not a single thing that God can look upon with any degree of allowance. We are enemies of Him. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). What a wonderful mercy it is to know the things of the Spirit in some little measure in your heart, in your experience of them. If you have been brought to see yourself as a poor, lost, undone sinner, not only in the ruin of the fall but by your own transgressions, and what lies in your iniquitous heart, what a wonderful mercy it is to see and feel these things.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van donderdag 1 mei 2008

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

Gifts from the Ascended Christ

Bekijk de hele uitgave van donderdag 1 mei 2008

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

PDF Bekijken