“And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it – lest you even be found to fight against God.”
~ Acts 5:38-39
In our day and age of religious superficiality and people seeking health, wealth and prosperity in this world rather than the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom, it is only natural that movements such as what is occurring in the small Kentucky town of Wilmore, at the even smaller Christian school of Asbury University, might raise some skepticism in the eyes of interested onlookers.
Therefore, I think we have to bear in mind a few things. First, what was occurring in the 1st century when the Apostles began preaching and teaching Christ and Him crucified, changed the course of history. The Holy Spirit erupted forth with a presence, power and authority the world had never known. And if what is occurring at Asbury University is of the same Holy Spirit and grounded in Biblical renewal and revival, then praise God.
But, if Asbury is of men, if it is just an emotionally filled, superficial gathering of young people who just want to “feel” something for their own sakes, then as the Bible says, it will come to nothing. Yet, we cannot read the hearts of men. We look on the outside while the Lord God peers into the very marrow of our spirit. And if the Asbury revival (and other similar revivals which have since sprung up) is of God – you cannot overthrow it – lest you even be found to fight against God.
“In sharp contrast to the contemporary definition of faith, biblical faith is not an irrational “leap in the dark.” It is not a mystical encounter with the “wholly other” or the “ground of being.” Nor is it optimism, psychological self-hypnosis, or wishful thinking. True faith is a reasoned response to revealed truth in the Bible, and salvation results from an intelligent response, prompted by the Holy Spirit, to that truth.”
~ John MacArthur
“Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.”
~ Colossians 3:5
“While a darling sin lives and keeps the throne in the heart — grace and holiness will be kept exceeding weak and low. But when your darling sin is dethroned and slain by the power and the sword of the Spirit — grace and holiness will quickly grow stronger and stronger, and rise higher and higher.
When a man has eaten poison, nothing will make him thrive, until he has vomited up the poison. Beloved sins are the poison of the soul — and until these are vomited up, and cast out by sound repentance, and the exercise of faith in the blood of Christ — the soul will never thrive in grace and holiness!
If ever you would attain to higher degrees of holiness, then fall with all your might upon subduing and crucifying your most raging corruptions, and your most darling lusts!
Oh do not think that your golden and your silver idols will lay down their weapons, and yield the battle, and lie at your feet, and let you trample them to death — without striking a blow! Oh remember that besetting-sins will do all they can to keep their ground, and therefore you must arise with all your strength against them, and crush them to powder, and burn them to ashes!”
~ Thomas Brooks
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
~ Matthew 5:17
I wonder if my title grabbed your attention? Bible-believing Christians know that we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works. Yet, the catch is, I’m not talking about our works – I’m speaking to the perfect work of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s right. It is by believing in His works we are saved. I hope you understand beloved how important, how imperative, how essential it is we affirm, as followers of Christ, salvation by works. Again, not by our own worthless works, but by the perfect work of Jesus Christ in fulfilling the Law of God. That Christ did what we cannot do. He kept the high standard of God’s holy law, something Adam nor any of his descendants did or can do in our own strength. Jesus did not run from the Law of God. He did not try to minimize the Law. He did not try to plead ignorance to the Law. No. Jesus boldly embraced, obeyed and perfectly fulfilled the Law of God on the behalf of His people. Praise His name!
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
~ Romans 5:1
Conflict has become a part of mankind’s nature. Conflict is a result of man’s original fall from grace and that a state of peace and bliss into which he was created – only to fall into a condition of depravity, dejection and despair. Since the time when Cain slew Abel, mankind has suffered under the curse of this kind of conflict that is conceived and born from sin darkened hearts filled with lust, greed envy and all manner of sin and disobedience.
Yet, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through faith, faith in Christ, who He is and what He has done that any one will ever have peace with God. It’s interesting the word Paul uses here in Romans 5:1 that we translate “peace” is the Greek noun “eirḗnē” which is derived from the Greek verb “eiro” which literally means “to join together”. As sin has separated us from God and caused His great displeasure to befall us, and separate us from God’s blessing and favor, so through Christ we can be joined together, we can be “eirḗnē” that is, at peace with our Maker once more.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
~ John 4:24
Our Heavenly Father eagerly desires His people to come before Him to worship in spirit & truth. So how do we do that? I believe first of all, to worship God in spirit means to come to Him with the right attitude of heart. It refers to the “mind,” the “soul,” the “heart.” When we worship in spirit, we come before the Lord prepared in our heart & mind to meet the living God. We should with reverence, yet joyfully, offer our sacrifice of worship to our Maker.
We’re also to worship in spirit and in truth. This means we come not only with the right heart, but also according to truth – that is – according to the Word of God. Jesus says in John 17:17, “Thy Word is truth”. Likewise Jesus is the Incarnate Word (Jn 1:1). Jesus is the Way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father but by Him. The true way of direct access to God is through Jesus Christ. This is to worship Him in spirit and truth.
“When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.”
~ Proverbs 11:2
Pride has been the arch nemesis of humanity since the dawn of man. It was pride that made Adam believe he could “be like God“. Sinful willful pride is a hinderance to our prayers and fellowship with God (Job 35:12). And, of course, pride is always the prerequisite for our fall into sin and leads to our ultimate destruction. But the path to true holiness and spiritual life is one of true humility. Godly wisdom is the fruit borne from a life given to God in deference, faith and love. The Lord saves the humble (Ps. 18:27). With pride, man foolishly strives to lift himself. But it is the Lord who lifts the humble. And it is only the humble who find God’s grace.
“Bring your life into accord with the Sermon on the Mount and such other New Testament Scriptures as are designed to instruct us in the way of righteousness. An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly. I recommend that the self-examination be made on our knees, rising to obey God’s commandments as they are revealed to us from the Word.”
~ A.W. Tozer
“Now the Israelites settled in Egypt…”
~ Genesis 47:27
If Israel is representative of God’s people, certainly Egypt represents bondage, suffering and sin. For 400 years God’s people languished in Egypt under the heavy hand of Pharaoh’s rule. It was there God’s people began to worship evil idols and false gods. And it wasn’t until God sent His deliverer that His people were set free. May Christians today never settle in their sins. May we never grow comfortable in the chains of iniquity. But may we always look in faith to our freedom from sin in Jesus Christ, our hope and Deliverer.
“For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.”
~ Proverbs 23:18
As sure as the Bible teaches there is a God, a Savior and a need for salvation, the Scriptures teach there is a hereafter. This present world is not all there is. There is another place, another time, which spans all eternity. Each person has an appointment with the hereafter. The Bible describes the hereafter as one of two places: heaven or hell, paradise or perdition, eternal joy or everlasting justice. Where will you be? For those trusting in Jesus Christ, your hope will not be cut off.