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February 27, 2011

REVIVE ME O LORD!

While reading Psalm 119:153-160 last night, three times the phrase "revive me according to..." is repeated in this Psalm.

It's interesting too because I've been hearing quite often how the church needs to experience a great revival again because of the depravity that is seen in our society and even around the world.  We desperately need one too, but it will come at a price of time in prayer and hunger for more of His Word to feed our souls.

If we are revived to live deeply in Christ, studying His Word and going forth into the world and preaching the Gospel to people, hoping for God's work of salvation to be fulfilled in the hearts of people who hear, a mighty revival CAN take place!

I believe though that a revival must begin with ourselves first and these three verses expresses that is where it begins as the psalmist said, "Revive me...".  We must hunger desperately for such a revival within us, seeking to draw ever so close to God through daily study of His Word and intimate prayer with Him.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the eight verses (153-160) of this Psalm is quite refreshing to read, which he says:

The closer we cleave to the word of God, both as our rule and as our stay, the more assurance we have of deliverance. Christ is the Advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Those who were quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, often need to have the work of grace revived in them, according to the word of promise. The wicked not only not do God's statutes, but they do not even seek them. They flatter themselves that they are going to heaven; but the longer they persist in sin, the further it is from them. God's mercies are tender; they are a fountain that can never be exhausted. The psalmist begs for God's reviving, quickening grace. A man, steady in the way of his duty, though he may have many enemies, needs to fear none. Those that hate sin truly, hate it as sin, as a transgression of the law of God, and a breaking of his word. Our obedience is only pleasing to God, and pleasant to ourselves, when it comes from a principle of love. All, in every age, who receive God's word in faith and love, find every saying in it faithful.

Note: The King James uses the word quicken compared to the New King James Version, which uses the word reviveEmphasis mine.

The following is Charles Spurgeon's commentary of three verses in this Psalm where the words, Revive me...is repeated, from his book, The Treasury of David.

Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word. Psalm 119:154

“Plead my cause, and deliver me.” In Psalm 119:153 he had prayed, “Deliver me,” and here he specifies one method in which that deliverance might be vouchsafed (granted or given), namely, by the advocacy of his cause.  In providence the Lord has many ways of clearing the slandered of the accusations brought against them.  He can make it manifest to all that they have been belied, and in this way he can practically plead their cause. He can, moreover, raise up friends for the godly who will leave no stone unturned till their characters are cleared; or he can smite their enemies with such fearfulness of heart that they will be forced to confess their falsehood, and thus the righteous will be delivered without the striking of a blow.  Alexander reads it, “Strive my strife, and redeem me” - that is, stand in my stead, bear my burden, fight my fight, pay my price, and bring me out to liberty.  When we feel ourselves dumb before the foe, here is a prayer made to our hand.  What a comfort that if we sin we have an advocate, and if we do not sin the same pleader is engaged on our side.  “Quicken me.”  We had this prayer in the last section, and we shall have it again and again in this.  It is a desire which cannot be too often felt and expressed.  As the soul is the centre of everything, so to be quickened is the central blessing.  It means more love, more grace, more faith, more courage, more strength, and if we get these we can hold up our heads before our adversaries.  God alone can give this quickening (revival); but to the Lord and giver of life the work is easy enough, and he delights to perform it.  “According to thy word.”  David had found such a blessing among the promised things, or at least he perceived that it was according to the general tenor of God's word that tried believers should be quickened and brought up again from the dust of the earth; therefore he pleads the word, and desires the Lord to act to him according to the usual run of that word.  What a mighty plea is this - '“according to thy word.”  No gun in all our arsenals can match it.

Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your judgments. Psalm 119:156

February 26, 2011

Trust in God


As D. L. Moody said, "Trust in yourself, and you are doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends, and they will die and leave you; trust in reputation, and some slanderous tongue may blast it; but trust in God, and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity."

Luther gave a similar testimony when he said, "I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."


"And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him." 1 Chronicles 5:20, NKJV

February 22, 2011

How does the church grow?

What is a Holy Spirit church? Well, it is a church baptized into his power, and this will be known first by its being devoted.

Read the 42nd verse: “They devoted themselves.” He will not bless a church which is excited and then relapses, is carried away by every novelty, and does not know what it believes, but a church which lives in Jesus and in his truth.

They were devoted in four points. “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

In the apostle's teaching. They were a doctrinal church, they believed in being devoted to the unmovable truth; they did not belong to the shifty generation of men who plead that their views are progressive, and that they cannot hold themselves bound by a ordinary creed. Dear brothers and sisters, never give up the grand old truths of the gospel. Let no excitement, even though it is the whirlwind of a revival, ever sweep you off your feet concerning the great doctrines of the cross. If God does not save men by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival; we will keep to the old truth, anyhow, come what may! Our flag is nailed to the pole.

Next they were devoted in fellowship. They loved each other, and they continued doing so. They conversed with one another about the things of God, and they did not give up the conversation. They helped each other when they were in need, and they continued in such kindness. They were true brethren, and their fellowship was not broken.

Next they continued in the breaking of bread, which is a delightful ordinance, and never to be despised or underestimated. As often as they could they celebrated the death of Christ, until he would come again. They delighted the dear memorials of his sacred passion, both in the church and from house to house.

They also remained devoted in prayer. Mark that! God cannot bless a church which does not pray, and churches must increase in supplication if they would increase in strength. Sacred insistent requests must surround the throne of God, and then the blessing will be given. Oh, children of the heavenly King, you hamper the Spirit and hinder the blessing if you restrain prayer.

Here were four points, then, in which the church was devoted, and God blessed it.

Note next that it was a united church.

We read of them that they were so united that they had all things in common, and they daily continued with one accord in the church. There were no parties among them, no petty strifes and divisions, they loved the Lord too well for that. The Sacred Dove takes his flight when strife comes in. If you divide the church within itself, you also divide it from the mighty operations of the Spirit of God. Be full of love to one another, and then you may expect that God the Holy Spirit will fill you with blessing.

They were a generous church as well as a united church.

February 20, 2011

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness

“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” This is the only beauty which he cares for in our public services, and it is one for which no other can compensate. Beauty of architecture and apparel he does not regard; moral and spiritual beauty is that in which his soul delighteth. Worship must not be rendered to God in a slovenly, sinful, superficial manner; we must be reverent, sincere, earnest, and pure in heart both in our prayers and praises. Purity is the white linen of the Lord's choristers, righteousness is the comely garment of his priests, holiness is the royal apparel of his servitors. “Fear before him, all the earth.” “Tremble” is the word in the original, and it expresses the profoundest awe, just as the word “worship” does, which would be more accurately translated by “bow down.” Even the bodily frame would be moved to trembling and prostration if men were thoroughly conscious of the power and glory of Jehovah. Men of the world ridiculed “the Quakers” for trembling when under the power of the Holy Spirit; had they been able to discern the majesty of the Eternal they would have quaked also. There is a sacred trembling which is quite consistent with joy, the heart may even quiver with an awful excess of delight. The sight of the King in his beauty caused no alarm to John in Patmos, and yet it made him fall at his feet as dead. Oh, to behold him and worship him with prostrate awe and sacred fear!

Psalm 96:9, Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth.


Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David

Reference
 
Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].
 
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

February 19, 2011

In Christ: In One Sentence

As I was catching up on my very backlogged list of posts that I haven't been able to read in the last few days, I saw this one that was written by Justin Taylor from The Gospel Coalition.

The post is titled, In Christ: In One Sentence, which is a nice reflective read, especially since I had just taught from this passage at our mid-week bible study at church, which was titled, To the Praise of His Glory.

The following is copied from Justin Taylor's post at The Gospel Coalition.  Follow Justin's tweets at @between2worlds.  Enjoy.

In Christ: In One Sentence

It’s well known that Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence in Greek. The following is from the ESV but I’ve made some of the pronouns more explicit to highlight the way in which Paul sees the Christian life—from before the foundation of the world to eternity—as bound up with the idea of union with Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
In love God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
In Christ we have redemption through Christ’s blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.
In Christ we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
In Christ you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Christ, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

February 15, 2011

Sin looks good now, but you'll regret it later

While reading chapter 6 of Martin Luther's commentary on the book of Romans last night, I read this at the end of the chapter regarding verse 21.

"As long as passion burns like glowing fire, it appears as though it were something good and were bearing good fruit, namely, satisfaction and delight.  But when sin is finished, it appears to him who becomes conscious of what he did and repents, as most detestable and as something (disgraceful) which makes him blush with shame."  Martin Luther's Commentary Romans.

But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  Romans 6:21, ESV.

The greatest threat against to a Christian is sinning against God and treating the blood of Christ as a common thing (Hebrews 10:29).

The threat of sin is no different from a person whom you know is a Christian than from a person whom is not.  It is damaging to whomever has fallen to the empty promise that it is not as bad to engage in whatever activity of sin that is presented.

There are more than enough stories that we have all seen in the news regarding various people that are in ministry, whether they be Christian, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, or of any other faith background, whom have been caught in a terrible and embarrassing sin.

What every believer needs is a perspective of sin that is exceedingly sinful (Romans 7:13) to ourselves, as it is to God.  It must become detestable and shameful to ourselves when it even breaches our lives.

The apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:13-16 that we should live apart from the sinful habits of the past and live in accordance with God's perspective of holiness in our lives.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13-16, ESV)

Don't make Christ's death on the cross an act of worthlessness to your life. His death was for the punishment of every act of selfishness and sin you and I have ever committed and it was a huge price to pay, to God, to satisfy His judgment upon His Son - for us.

Please don't make the atonement of Christ an object of regret because of your selfishness to sin for a moment.  If you have, repent before God and know that He is gracious to forgive when we come to Him with a humble and contrite heart.

Remember this verse, when faced with the temptation to sin - 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV.

Don't allow yourself to be defeated by sin because it might look good now, because you will regret it later. Deeply regret it.


Faithfully live in Christ.

February 13, 2011

It is he who made us, and we are his

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3, ESV

“Know that the Lord he is God.” Our worship must be intelligent. We ought to know whom we worship and why. “Man, know thyself,” is a wise aphorism, yet to know our God is truer wisdom; and it is very questionable whether a man can know himself until he knows his God. Jehovah is God in the fullest, most absolute, and most exclusive sense, he is God alone; to know him in that character and prove our knowledge by obedience, trust, submission, zeal, and love is an attainment which only grace can bestow. Only those who practically recognise his Godhead are at all likely to offer acceptable praise. “It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” Shall not the creature reverence its Maker? Some men live as if they made themselves; they call themselves “self-made men,” and they adore their supposed creators; but Christians recognise the origin of their being and their well-being, and take no honour to themselves either for being, or for being what they are. Neither in our first or second creation dare we put so much as a finger upon the glory, for it is the sole right and property of the Almighty. To disclaim honour for ourselves is as necessary a part of true reverence as to ascribe glory to the Lord. “Non nobis, domine!” will for ever remain the true believer's confession. Of late philosophy has laboured hard to prove that all things have been developed from atoms, or have, in other words, made themselves: if this theory shall ever find believers, there will certainly remain no reason for accusing the superstitious of credulity, for the amount of credence necessary to accept this dogma of scepticism is a thousandfold greater than that which is required even by an absurd belief in winking Madonnas, and smiling Bambinos. For our part, we find it far more easy to believe that the Lord made us than that we were developed by a long chain of natural selections from floating atoms which fashioned themselves. “We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” It is our honour to have been chosen from all the world besides to be his own people, and our privilege to be therefore guided by his wisdom, tended by his care, and fed by his bounty. Sheep gather around their shepherd and look up to him; in the same manner let us gather around the great Shepherd of mankind. The avowal of our relation to God is in itself praise; when we recount his goodness we are rendering to him the best adoration; our songs require none of the inventions of fictions, the bare facts are enough; the simple narration of the mercies of the Lord is more astonishing than the productions of imagination. That we are the sheep of his pasture is a plain truth, and at the same time the very essence of poetry.

Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David










Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

February 11, 2011

Wednesday Night Bible Study: To the Praise of His Glory

I had the privilige to teach at our Wednesday night bible study at First Assembly of God and I decided to focus our study on Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus.

Maybe you're like me and have read this passage numerous times before and hadn't noticed more of what is in the text, the depth of Paul's theology when he wrote this letter to Christians in Ephesus. 

In my Expository Preaching class last week, we were working on this passage as an expository exercise and as the text became unfolded to me, when these wonderful truths became clearer to understand, what a joy and refreshing feeling it became to feed my soul! 

And if it accomplished feeding my soul, I wondered what it would do for those of us in the class as pastors, who would exposit this same passage for their congregations and bring the same exciting refreshment to feed their souls too!

I have written this before in other posts and I will continue to say so, but I firmly believe that the only way to help people understand the Scripture, what it says and what it means, would be by hearing expository sermons.  Sermons that explain a passage of Scripture, for the benefit of developing a deeper and richer understanding of the Word of God, which fosters greater spiritual growth in the lives of every born again believer, in Jesus Christ.

As you listen to this sermon, try to imagine yourself as one of the people in Ephesus listening to this letter being read to them and I asked those in attendance last night to do the same.

The Apostle Paul describes 3 major blessings that he encouraged the church in Ephesus to remember.  Follow along and write them down as a reference for yourself, or others later on:
  1. ________________________
  2. ________________________
  3. ________________________
There is also a consistent repetition of words and phrases that signify the importance and focus of the letter, to encourage the Christians in Ephesus.  Notice whom is mentioned and why such things were established.
  1. ______________________________
  2. ______________________________
The title of the sermon for the bible study last night: To the Praise of His Glory. Ephesians 1:3-14.

You can listen via the media player below, from the Podcast page here on the blog, or you can download it from www.sermon.net/kurtmichaelson and listen on your iPod or MP3 player while you're on the go.



May this be refreshing to your soul, as you hear this, as it has been to me and to the congregation last night.

Share this with others too, if you'd like and if you have any comments, please share them here too.


Faithfully in Christ.

Kurt


Postscript - Pastor Al had commented to the church that as I was preaching, he was reminded of Jesus' charge to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7, particularly verses 4 & 5, which is certainly a great reminder and warning to the church today as well.

Stay faithful to Christ and His Word.

February 9, 2011

Snow, Water & Ice - An Illustration of the Trinity

While preparing to teach for tonight's bible study at the church, I was doing some research of illustrations I could use to teach about the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Well, I found this one that I thought was good and wanted to share it here.  I'll consider using this one, but the illustration is pretty good, since many people have a hard time understanding how God can be three separate and distinct people, yet still remain as one.

There is ample evidence in the Scriptures that the Godhead is a unity made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We should not feel that it is an insult to our intelligence to expect us to accept this revealed truth of Scripture. Let us be as open to the truth as that converted Indian who gave the following illustration, imperfect though it is, for his belief in the Trinity: "We go down to the river in winter and we see it covered with snow; we chop through the ice and we come to the water. Snow is water, ice is water, water is water; therefore the three are one." In this way, God demonstrates his triune nature through the natural world.

 Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

February 3, 2011

Is the blood of his atonement truly applied to your soul?

This devotional message from Charles Spurgeon's book, Morning & Evening connects very well with my earlier post, Has God completely wiped away your sin? 

After you finish reading this post, go back and read the other one.  I'm sure that there will be a greater clarity regarding the certainty of God's removal of the guilt and condemnation of your sin.  Something that one can greatly rejoice over and be ever thankful, for such a great gift of forgiveness and redemption.

"He is merciful, compassionate, and full of lovingkindness, but He will not hold man guiltless without an atonement."  Anonymous

I hope this devotional by Charles Spurgeon regarding Christ's atonement is refreshing to your soul that is filled with immeasurable gratitude and joy, for the One who laid down His life, for you and I.