The Indwelling Spirit

Here is something you have probably read many times. But this time, I want you to read it from a translation you may not have read before:

At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning. All creation took place through him, and none took place without him. In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankind. The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.

A man called John was sent by God as a witness to the light, so that any man who heard his testimony might believe in the light. This man was not himself the light: he was sent simply as a personal witness to that light.

That was the true light which shines upon every man as he comes into the world. He came into the world—the world he had created—and the world failed to recognise him. He came into his own creation, and his own people would not accept him. Yet wherever men did accept him he gave them the power to become sons of God. These were the men who truly believed in him, and their birth depended not on the course of nature nor on any impulse or plan of man, but on God (John 1:1-13, J.B. Phillips)

I used J.B. Phillips’ translation because it is one of my favorites, but also because sometimes we just need to refresh ourselves, and see things with new eyes. As disciples of Jesus, we are seeking to develop unbroken communion with our Father, but it seems so difficult, at times. How do we find this type of fellowship with Him?

That is probably one of the greatest questions in our hearts. I say that because the new spiritual life we received when we surrendered to ourLord Jesus can only be sustained by constant fellowship with Him and our Father (who is its source). This no different in our physical life, we need to breathe again and again to continue living, right?

Our four children are grown, and as this writing, we have six beautiful grandchildren, and whenever I begin to think about this life I have received from my Lord, I remember when our children were born. I looked at them and was so amazed at how much they needed to learn just to grow; but one thing, above everything else, it was to breathe! Well, as new Christians, we have a whole bunch we need to learn and experience, and the Lord spends a lot of time training us, but above everything else, he teaches us to breathe — breathe in new life day-by-day in communion with Him, and He leads us on as we are able to endure.

The dictionary defines communion as “discourse, interchange of thought,” and describes communion as the act of “consulting, conversing, or talking with someone else.” Well, that’s what communion with God means — a ceaseless “consulting” with Him; a blessed conversation over every problem, concern and difficulty — and every joy and pleasure. A sharing of “one-on-one.” And what a refreshing time it can be!

Amos wrote:

Do two people ever walk together without meeting first?
Does a lion roar in the forest if it has no prey?
    Does a young lion growl in its den unless it has caught something?
Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there’s no bait in it?
    Does a trap spring up from the ground unless it has caught something?
If a ram’s horn sounds an alarm in a city, won’t the people be alarmed?
    If there is a disaster in a city, hasn’t Yahweh done it?
Certainly, Adonay Yahweh doesn’t do anything
    unless he first reveals his secret to his servants the prophets” —Amos 3:3-7

Look at that. There is a lot to learn in those simple three verses. First, in the 7th verse we see that God has always warned the world of coming judgments. He warned Noah of the coming flood (Genesis 6:13); Abraham and Lot of the future destruction of Sodom (Genesis 18:17; 19:14); Joseph of the seven-year famine (Gen. 41:30); Moses of the ten plagues on Egypt (Exod. 7:1ff.); Jonah of the destruction of Nineveh (Jonah 1:2; 3:4); Amos of the downfall of Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Isra’el (Amos 1 and 2). Various prophets were told in detail about the final events in connection with the captivities of the chosen people, and in every

Various prophets were told in detail about the final events in connection with the captivities of the chosen people, and in every case, the warnings were startlingly executed. Jonah announced the destruction of Nineveh, but their judgment was postponed after they repented. When later generations of Ninevites backslid and reverted to extreme wickedness, the warning of Nahum was carried out completely against them. Christ’s coming was also foretold throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi. And equally, plain and inevitable of fulfillment, are the warnings of Jesus and the prophets concerning the future that each day comes nearer to every nation on earth.

Back in the 3rd verse, we see that two won’t walk together unless they meet first. Well, God made an appointment to meet each sinner at the cross of Calvary, and spiritual communion begins there. In our natural state, we are enemies of God, but God was in Christ is reconciling the world to Himself and that peace was made by the blood of the cross of Jesus.

Paul wrote,

“God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)

So it is all clear on God’s side, and He issues an appeal to His enemies and makes an appointment to meet them at Calvary — the place of reconciliation.

It’s there — in full sight of that wonderful sacrifice — that He brings us into an agreement with Himself. First, He shows us our sins nailed to the cross (I Peter 2:24), but our salvation goes a whole bunch further than that. We are spared years of struggle and failure if we simply learn — as the converts did in the days of the Apostles — that we were also put to death in the death of Christ. With our past blotted out, we are accounted crucified with the crucified Lord, and from that point on, we are joined to Him and share His very Life. As Paul said, “it is no longer I who lives, it is Christ who lives . . .” That is indeed salvation! As Conybeare says, “Saved by sharing in His life.” (Romans 5:10). Hallelujah!

However, as great as that is, you will never realize and experience it in your own life — in all its depth and meaning — unless you yield completely to God (Romans 6:13). How can we hold back anything for ourselves? How can the Lord Jesus dwell in us, and manifest His own life through us, if we won’t give Him the throne?

Our will is all that we really have to give our Lord. He does all the work, if we will just let Him have the absolute right-of-way — complete surrender — no looking back. The reality is we can neither save ourselves or deliver ourselves from our sins. He has redeemed us, and He will do the work in us we need — if, read that in all caps: IF, we give Him entire control. He simply asks us decisively to take sides with Him against everything in us and in our lives, from which He must set us free.

Well, so what do I mean? Let me explain. Paul wrote:

Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness? Can Christ agree with the devil? Can a believer share life with an unbeliever? Can God’s temple contain false gods? Clearly, we are the temple of the living God. As God said,

“I will live and walk among them.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”
The Lord says, “Get away from unbelievers.
    Separate yourselves from them.
        Have nothing to do with anything unclean
            Then I will welcome you.”
The Lord Almighty says, “I will be your Father,
    and you will be my sons and daughters.” —II Corinthians 6:14-18

In short, we need to give ourselves irrevocably into His hands so He can make of us whatever He pleases. By His Grace we must resolve to say, “Yes, Lord” to every indication of His will.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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