The Marks of An Authentic Work of the Spirit

Does your ministry bear the marks of an authentic work of the Spirit of God?

From the fourth chapter of First John, Jonathan Edwards established five things as essential in a genuine work of God’s Holy Spirit.

First, a true work of the Holy Spirit raises the “esteem of Jesus that He was born of the Virgin, and was crucified without (outside) the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish believer’s minds in the truth of what the Gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Savior of men.

Secondly, A true work of the Holy spirit operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, against sin and men’s worldly lusts.

Third, a true work of the Holy Spirit establishes in God’s people a greater regard for the Holy Scriptures in their truth and divinity.

Fourth, a true work of the Holy Spirit dispenses God’s truth — a Spirit who shows people the uniqueness and holiness of God and that they must die and that very soon, and “that they must give account of themselves to God; one who convinces them that they are helpless in themselves and confirms them in other things that are agreeable to sound doctrine,” that is a Spirit of truth.

Fifth, a true work of the Holy Spirit generates love to God and man is the Spirit of God.[1]

To ensure that our work for Christ has His distinctive imprint and blessing, we ought to ask the following questions after every sermon, Bible study, ministry meeting, evangelistic appointment, worship service, officer meeting, and counseling appointment:

  1. Did I exalt the Savior? Were people led to elevate their view of the triune God?
  2. Was sin exposed for what it is, an offense to the character of a holy God?
  3. Were people led to have a greater regard for the Scriptures so much so that they actually became doers of the Word?
  4. Was the Spirit of truth evident in promoting God’s holiness so that sinners realize their need of and accountability to Him?
  5. Was love for God and man generated in the hearts of God’s people?

 

[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God in the Great Awakening, ed. C.C. Goen (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ., 1972), p.249.

 

Prayer of Confession of Sin – The Beatitudes

CONFESSION OF SIN

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy; 
Be gracious to us for we have gone astray from your ways. 
Create in us new and contrite hearts, 
that we may now truly lament and confess our sins to You.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. 
But in our pride we exalt ourselves.
Blessed are those who mourn. 
But in our envy we recoil from others’ happiness.
Blessed are the meek and the peacemakers. 
But in our wrath we lash out in revenge.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
But in our sloth we despair of virtue.
Blessed are the merciful. 
But in our greed we demand to possess and fail to give.
Blessed are the pure in heart. 
But in our lust we sacrifice others to serve ourselves.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. 
But in our gluttony we consume unto sickness.
Heavenly Father, it is evident we too have loved darkness. Give us grace to walk again in the light so that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and we have true fellowship with one another. Do this for our good and Your glory. AMEN.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON         1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners
of whom I am the chief.

Marks of An Authentic Work of the Holy Spirit

75887From the fourth chapter of First John, Jonathan Edwards established five things as essential in a genuine work of God’s Holy Spirit.

First, a true work of the Spirit raises the “esteem of Jesus that was born of the Virgin, and was crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish believer’s minds in the truth of what the Gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Savior of men.

Secondly, it operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, against sin and men’s worldly lusts.

Third, men are established in a greater regard for the Holy Scriptures “in their truth and divinity.”

Fourth, the Spirit operates as a Spirit of truth — a Spirit who shows people the uniqueness and holiness of God and that they must die and that very soon, and “that they must give account of themselves to God; one who convinces them that they are helpless in themselves and confirms them in other things that are agreeable to sound doctrine,” that is a Spirit of truth.

Fifth, the Spirit who generates love to God and man is the Spirit of God (Jonathan Edwards, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God in the Great Awakening, ed. C.C. Goen (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ., 1972), p.249).

To ensure that our work for Christ has His distinctive imprint and blessing, we ought to ask the following questions after every sermon, Bible study, evangelistic appointment, worship service, board meeting, and counseling appointment:

(1)     Did I exalt the Savior? Were people led to elevate their view of Christ?

(2)     Was sin exposed for what it is, an offense to the character of a holy God?

(3)     Were people led to have a greater regard for the Scriptures so much so that they actually became doers of the Word?

(4)     Was the Spirit of truth evident in promoting God’s holiness so that sinners realize their need of and accountability to Him?

(5)     Was love for God and man generated in the hearts of God’s people?

 

 

Psalm 46 – A Rebuke to a Restless, Turbulent World

Ps. 46:10 declares “Be still and know that I am God.”
This injunction is not, in the first place,
comfort for the harassed, but a rebuke to a restless and turbulent world. ‘Quiet” in fact… It resembles the command to another raging sea:
“Peace! Be still!’ And the end in view is stated in terms not of man’s hopes
but of God’s glory.

His firm intention, ‘I will be exalted,’ is enough
to arouse the resentment of the proud
but also the longing and resolve of the humble who pray:
‘Be exalted, O God, above the heavens’ (Ps 57:11).
—Derek Kidner

Prayer based on Psalm 46:
Lord God, our refuge and strength,
when the restless powers of this world and the waters of hell
rise up against your holy city,
watch over it and keep it safe.
By the river that flows from the throne of the Lamb,
purify us, your new Jerusalem,
as your chosen dwelling,
for you are with us,
our stronghold now and forever. AMEN.

Martin Luther’s Reflection on Music

God’s Fair and Glorious Gift

“Music is a fair and glorious gift of God.
I would not for the world forego my humble share of music.
Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry,
and smile through their troubles in song.
Music makes people kinder, gentler,
more staid and reasonable.
I am strongly persuaded that after theology
there is no art than can be placed on a level with music;
for besides theology,
music is the only art
capable of affording peace and joy of the heart…
the devil flees before the sound of music
almost as much as before the Word of God.”

– Martin Luther

Wise Counsel from a Young Pastor

mccheyne

Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne

Learn much of your own heart;
And when you have learned all you can,
Remember you have seen but a few yards
into a pit that is unfathomable.
“The heart if deceitful above all things and desperately wicked:
Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Learn much of the Lord Jesus.
For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.
He is altogether lovely. Such infinite majesty,
And yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief!

Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in His beams.
Feel His all-seeing eye settled on you (not in judgment) but in love,
and rest in His almighty arms.

Cry after divine knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding.
Seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasure,
according to the word in Proverbs 2:4.
See that v. 10 be fulfilled in you.

Let wisdom enter into your hearts and knowledge be pleasant to your soul; so you will be delivered from the snares mentioned in the following verses. Let your soul be filled with a heart-ravishing sense
of the sweetness and excellency of Christ
and all that is in Him.
Let the Holy Spirit fill every chamber of your heart;
And so there will be no room for folly, or the world, or Satan, or the flesh.
Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne

Receiving & Giving Neighbor Love

good-samaritanJesus is the Great Samaritan
to whom the Good Samaritan points…
Before you can give this neighbor-love,
you need to receive it.
Only if you see that you have been saved graciously
by someone who owes you the opposite
will you go out into the world looking to help
absolutely anyone in need.
— Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, p. 77

Loving your neighbor springs from the biblical notion of
love as the law that causes people to flourish
emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially
and to experience life to the full (1 John 4:7-21).

This neighbor love shows itself in different forms:

O Lord, your love for rebels like us reached its height
in the cross of Calvary.
Fueled by your love,
would you lead us today to those whom you want to love through us. AMEN.