January 19, 2009

Are you afraid of the Spirit of God?

In a previous post, I mentioned that (based on my experience worshipping at churches who hold a "cessationist position" and are reformed and Calvinistic in doctrine) it has been my observation that they are actually afraid of the supernatural power and reality of the Spirit of God and many are guilty of squelching His Spirit. I remember thinking that it seems as though, in many of these churches "Grace has replaced the Holy Spirit, as the third person of the Trinity". Oh, let us guard against "hyper-cessationism" as that is as dangerous to the church as "charismatic chaos".

Listen to the warnings of J.C. Ryle:

The work of the Holy Spirit, though mysterious, will always be known by the fruits He produces in the character and conduct of those in whom He dwells.

The presence of the Spirit is like . . . light which can be seen, fire which can be felt, and wind which causes noticeable results. Where there are no fruits of the Spirit--there is no presence of the Spirit. Those fruits, I need not tell you, are always the same: conviction of sin, true repentance, lively faith in Christ, and holiness of heart and life.

I am afraid there are myriads of professing Christians throughout the land, who really know nothing about the Holy Spirit. They seem to think that as baptized members of a great ecclesiastical corporation--that they possess the Spirit. But of the work of the Spirit on their own individual hearts--of conversion, repentance, and faith--they know nothing at all.

They are spiritually asleep and dead--and unless they awake, are in great danger!

'Those fruits" J.C. Ryle

Is this the song of your heart? Is this music to your soul? It is to mine. 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.

Dearly Beloved--Do not fear the Spirit of God.

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