For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.
— 1 Corinthians 1:17
Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel; but remember what Paul means by “the gospel,” viz., the reality of Redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are apt to make sanctification the end-all of our preaching. Paul alludes to personal experience by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are nowhere commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification; we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (John 12:32). It is a travesty to say that Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to redeem the whole world, and place it unimpaired and rehabilitated before the throne of God. The fact that Redemption can be experienced by us is an illustration of the power of the reality of Redemption, but that is not the end of Redemption. If God were human, how sick to the heart and weary He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation, for our sanctification. We tax His energies from morning till night for things for ourselves – some thing for me to be delivered from! When we touch the bedrock of the reality of the Gospel of God, we shall never bother God any further with little personal plaints.
The one passion of Paul's life was to proclaim the Gospel of God. He welcomed heart-breaks, disillusionments, tribulation, for one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved devotion to the Gospel of God.
~ Oswald Chambers ~
Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.
– Prov 3:6 NET
He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water.
– Ps 23:2 NET
In “pastures green”? Not always; sometimes He
Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.
—HENRY H. BARRY
The Shepherd knows what pastures are best for his sheep, and they must not question nor doubt, but trustingly follow Him. Perhaps He sees that the best pastures for some of us are to be found in the midst of opposition or of earthly trials. If He leads you there, you may be sure they are green for you, and you will grow and be made strong by feeding there. Perhaps He sees that the best waters for you to walk beside will be raging waves of trouble and sorrow. If this should be the case, He will make them still waters for you, and you must go and lie down beside them, and let them have all their blessed influences upon you.
—H. W. SMITH
~ Mary Tileston ~
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. – John 16:13 NET
“He shall not speak of himself.” There is something peculiarly gracious in this feature of the Holy Spirit, that, if we may use the expression, he does not glorify himself by speaking of himself in the same direct, personal manner as the Father and the Son speak of themselves. Thus the Father speaks of himself all through the word; and the Son speaks of himself in Scripture after Scripture; but the Holy Spirit, though he speaks in the Scripture, for by his divine inspiration the whole was written, yet does not speak of himself in a positive, direct manner, nor call upon us in a clear, personal way to believe in, worship, and adore him.
But his office and work are to testify to our conscience and bear witness to our spirit of both the Father and the Son. Thus as a Spirit of adoption he enables the soul to cry, “Abba, Father,” and so testifies of the Father. As a Spirit of revelation he manifests to the soul the glorious Person of Christ, and thus testifies of the Son. But he does not in a personal manner manifest himself, or testify of himself.
How, then, do we know him? By his operations, his influences, his teachings, his consolations, his sealings, his softenings, meltings, humblings, waterings, enlargings, openings, liberatings, strengthenings, and enablings. The Lord therefore said to his disciples, “But you know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.” Thus we know his indwelling by the light he gives to see our evidences clear and bright; by the life which he diffuses into the soul, to renew and revive our drooping graces; by the submission which he imparts in affliction and tribulation to the sovereign will of God; by the meekness which he bestows under the chastening rod; by the gracious confidence which he will not allow us to cast away; by the holy boldness which he grants before the enemies of truth; by the zeal which he kindles in the heart for the truth as it is in Jesus, and for the glory of God; by the suitable words which he brings to the mind in defense of the gospel; and by the power which he gives to speak them forth with an authority which silences, if it does not convince, the adversary.
Thus, though the blessed Spirit does not speak of himself, he makes himself effectually known by his indwelling power and grace. O blessed Teacher, holy Comforter, gracious Intercessor, and heavenly Witness, come and take up your abode in our heart; there reveal and form Jesus, the hope of glory; there shed abroad the love of God; there bear your divine testimony to our sonship; there cry, “Abba, Father;” there teach and sanctify and bless, that we and all in whom you have wrought your work of grace may be “filled with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
~ J.C. Philpot ~
“If a man sins against the Lord, who then will intercede for him?”
– 1 Sam 2:25 NET
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.—God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.
God is gracious to him and says, “Spare him from going down to the place of corruption, I have found a ransom for him.”
What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? It is God who justifies. Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.
1 John 2:1-2, Rom 3:25-26, Job 33:24, Rom 8:31, Rom 8:33-34
~ Samuel Bagster ~
My God will hear me
Friends may be unfaithful, but the LORD will not turn away from the gracious soul; on the contrary, He will hear all its desires. The prophet says, “Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. A man's enemies are the men of his own house.” This is a wretched state of affairs; but even in such a case the Best Friend remains true, and we may tell Him all our grief.
Our wisdom is to look unto the LORD and not to quarrel with men or women. If our loving appeals are disregarded by our relatives, let us wait upon the God of our salvation, for He will hear us- He will hear us all the more because of the unkindness and oppression of others, and we shall soon have reason to cry, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy!”
Because God is the living God, He can hear; because He is a loving God, He will hear; because He is our covenant God, He has bound Himself to hear us. If we can each one speak of Him as “My God,” we may with absolute certainty say, “My God will hear me.” Come, then, O bleeding heart, and let thy sorrows tell themselves out to the LORD thy God! I will bow the knee in secret and inwardly whisper, “My God will hear me.”
~ Charles Spurgeon ~
And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
There is a divine voice that continues to call. It is the voice of the Creator God, and it is entreating us. Just as the shepherd went everywhere searching for his sheep, just as the woman in the parable went everywhere searching for her coin, so there is a divine search with many variations of the voice that entreats us, calling us back.
If we were not lost, there would be no Father’s voice calling us to return, calling us back. So, I say again that we have not been given up.
Think of the Genesis account: Adam fleeing from the face of God, hiding among the trees of the garden. It was then that the sound of God’s gentle voice was heard, saying “[Adam,] where are you?”
I would remind you that His seeking voice has never died out. The echo of that voice is sounding throughout the widening years. It has never ceased to echo and reecho from peak to peak, from generation to generation, from race to race, and continent to continent, and off to islands and back to the continent again. Throughout all of man’s years, “Adam, where are you?” has been the faithful call.
I pray earnestly, O God, that I may not be found among those with hardened hearts, no longer able to hear Your voice. Please speak to me today…I’m listening.
~ Aiden Wilson Tozer ~