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Where is the Power? (Part 2)

While I was reflecting on my previous post, I realized that one of the primary reasons that I was so aware of the absence of the Holy Spirit in the churches that I attended was because of my exposure to the teaching and preaching of the Puritans.

I found myself amused, in a sad way (if that is possible) because I realized that in some (if not many) "reformed" churches today, these men's thoughts and sermons, in reference to the Holy Spirit's power would be viewed as potentially dangerous if not bordering on "charismatic". Of course, they would not admit that, once they knew the source. But, if a lay person were to say the exact same things, they might even be counselled by the Elders. Sad, but true.

One of my favorite Puritans is Richard Sibbes. I found "The Works of Richard Sibbes" in a used book store long before I even knew what "Puritan's" were. When I started reading, my soul was thrilled beyond words. It was like a down pour of fresh rain on a field that hadn't been watered in years.

I have copied a small excerpt from an article written by Joel Beeke which summarizes Sibbs teaching on the Holy Spirit. Please take the time to read it. There is a link to the complete article at the end of the post for you brave and thirsty souls.

This is so important to understand. I feel this is what is lacking in many of the "Bible" faithful churches. They have the Word, but not the Spirit. We are impotent if we quench the Spirit of God.

In his book Preaching and Preachers, Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote: "I shall never cease to be grateful to Richard Sibbes, who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onslaughts of the devil.... I found at that time that Richard Sibbes... was an unfailing remedy. His books The Bruised Reed and The Soul's Conflict quietened, soothed, comforted, encouraged, and healed me."

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was one of the greatest Puritans of his age. He greatly influenced the direction and content of Puritan preaching, theology, and writing in England and America. Sibbes's theology of the Holy Spirit is especially important because of its emphasis on how the Spirit operates in the daily life of the Christian. Sibbes winsomely referred to that process as "entertaining the Spirit" in the soul. For Sibbes, that entertaining meant to nurture the friendship and hospitality of an indwelling Spirit. "There is no one in the world so great and sweet a friend who will do us so much good as the Spirit, if we give him entertainment," Sibbes wrote.

Sibbes's teaching on entertaining the Holy Spirit can be divided into the following four categories: (1) the indwelling of the Spirit, (2) the sealing of the Spirit, (3) the comfort of the Spirit, and (4) grieving the Spirit.

The believer is like a musical instrument, tuned and played by the Spirit. Sibbes wrote, "Let us lay ourselves open to the Spirit's touch. When the Spirit has ruling sway in our lives he fine-tunes our souls much like a musical instrument, and then he plays our lives as a piano concerto before God."

Sibbes went on to describe this process of tuning and the touch of the Holy Spirit: "The Holy Spirit must rule; he will have the keys delivered to him. We must submit to his government, and when he is in the heart he will subdue by little and little all high thoughts, rebellious risings, and despairing fears."

Our soul is the battlefield upon which the Spirit marches and He will have the final victory, Sibbes said. For wherever the Spirit dwells, He also rules, for He will not be an underling to lusts. He repairs the breaches of the soul. in this battle we must submit to the Spirit in all things, however, for only then will we experience the victorious life that is the inheritance of believers in Jesus Christ. To be sure, the greatest battles were won on Calvary and in our hearts when we were brought to new birth, but we must also fight daily battles in our life of sanctification. Our ever present foes — our flesh, the world, and the devil — will unceasingly strive to tear up the foundation upon which we stand as children of the Most High.

The believer's greatest encouragement in spiritual warfare is the abiding presence of the Spirit. "The Spirit is the leader and enabler of our soul," Sibbes wrote. It is through what Sibbes termed "the motions, or holy stirrings of the Spirit" that the Spirit enables us to overcome the sin that attacks us internally and the forces of darkness set against us externally. The Spirit of Christ is powerful and strong. Through His indwelling, we are able "to perform duties above nature, to overcome ourselves and injuries," Sibbes said. He added, "He makes us to be able to live and die, to do what others cannot do, just as he enabled Christ to do things that another man could not do."

To read the entire article click here.


Mel said…
Where is the Power? It is in the Holy Spirit... Unseen but Omnispresent and Omnipowerful. The Triune God, Who miraculously dwells within and among every single person who is born of the Spirit. I will never be able to comprehend this truth, until I meet Christ face to face. And yet my entire being bows in awe...

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