I know how hard it is to cling on to the joys of a good worship service as the week’s troubles, disappointments and sins set in. As well, our triumphs, work and family time can occupy all our thoughts and resources.
So, it is important to stop and reflect. To listen. To ponder and remember. To meditate and mull over the Lord our God in all His mysterious Glory and merciful compassion.
This newsletter is an opportunity for me to connect with you midweek and encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. On His all sufficiency, nearness, comfort and glory.
Where has the Spirit led you? Long after our to-do lists have gone to pot, God’s is still getting His done. He is working in and through you. Look to Him. Follow the Spirit into the wilderness where Jesus defeats His enemies. And commune there with your victorious Lord. Thank Him. Praise Him and Pray for His body.
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. (2 John 3)
Filling up the edges
Let us consider a few important things we learned on Sunday. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus, the son of God; in the book of Isaiah, we read;
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:2
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1
Jesus received the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, the spirit of the fear of the Lord. All so that the messiah could destroy the forces of darkness and bring justice, healing and liberty to those enslaved to Satan.
Why would Jesus need such a spirit?
As John Calvin said “Christ’s humility consisted in his abasing himself from the highest pinnacle of glory to the lowest humiliation: our humility consists in refraining from exalting ourselves by a false estimation. He gave up his right: all that is required of us is, that we do not assume to ourselves more than we ought.”
And we assume to ourselves, more dignity than we deserve.
Abraham Kuyper wrote that “what Christ needed was the gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable His weakened nature, in increasing measure, to be His instrument in the working out of His holy design,” to obey His father unto death. Jesus’ flesh is the instrument to fulfill His calling as the Son of God. The power to wield it is the Holy Spirit.
Dependence on the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to enable a weak and vulnerable person to fulfill their calling. Does that sound like something you need?
It’s as if God commands you to pick up a boulder, but the boulder is huge and you reason that you can’t. You can’t figure out why He would want you to. So, you don’t in disbelief. Resisting the power of God and the mission of God.
You turn to pleasures and distractions, altering God’s commands to fit in with your reason, strength and comfort.
You are attacked and assailed on every side by unbelief and human frailty. By temptation and tempests of fleshly desire.
We need to comprehend the Spirit that is ours in Christ and look at the Spirit’s ministry in Jesus’s life to understand the Spirit’s ministry in ours.
John 3:34; Luke 1:35; Acts 10:38; Hebrews 9:14; Mark 2:8; Mark 8:12
That Christ received the Spirit is an existential necessity of His true humanity; indeed, Christ would not have been Christ, apart from the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Far from being superfluous to Christ, who had a divine nature, the Holy Spirit must occupy a central place in any discussion of Christology because of His relation to the human nature of Jesus.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. Christ’s obedience in our place needed to be real obedience from a man. Jesus did not ‘cheat’ by relying on his divine nature while he acted as the second Adam. Rather, by receiving and depending upon the Holy Spirit, Christ was fully dependent upon His Father.
A dependence that He needed to fulfill His ministry. And if he was dependent, how much more are we? Jesus provides.
Jesus said in John 16:13“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
2 Corinthians 3:17–18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
When you seek the things the Holy Spirit sought, to be Jesus’ constant companion, then you may not “feel” the spirit, but you walk by, live in and will be led by the Spirit to the way, the truth and the life – Jesus Christ.
The spirit of power, the fear of the lord, of liberty, justice and purity – the fruit that only comes by the Spirit – will grow in your life in abundance. The life of Jesus is truly offered to you. Not in some abstract way. But day in and day out. From the womb to the tomb and beyond.
We fear this because where the Spirit leads is the wilderness. But isn’t the wilderness what you need? Where you put away all false comforts, sins, idolatries, fears and self?
The wilderness is where you will be dependent on Christ alone by faith alone to the glory of God alone.
Around the worldwide web
One of the best teaching tools I have found is the Bible Project. These are excellent illustrated overviews of books and themes of the bible. Watch it. Watch it with your spouse and with your whole family. Enjoy!
O’ God whose will conquers all, there is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying you and being engaged in your service; you are all in all, and all enjoyments are sanctified in you alone. Teach me to trust your will, whatever it is, for you are infinitely wise and cannot lead me amiss.
I rejoice to think that all things are in your hands, and it delights me to leave them there. This us how prayer turns completely into praise, and all I can do is adore and bless you. How can I repay your grace? I long to make some return, but have nothing to offer, and can only rejoice that you do all things well, that none in heaven or on earth shares your honor; I can’t do anything in myself to glorify your blessed name, but I can, through your grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to you. I know that you are the author and finisher of my faith, that the whole work of redemption is yours alone, that every good work or thought found in me is the effect of your power and grace, that your sole motive in working in me – to will and to do – is for your good pleasure.
O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much about man’s creaturely power and goodness, when, if you did not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate. This, by bitter experience, you are teaching me concerning myself. Lord, have mercy and continue to uphold me in all things….
As Christ, in Christ and for Christ,
Listen to it in advance. This is a song Joel will be incorporating. Give it a listen and see if you can’t sing along. J
Start Sunday, September 16, 9AM. Kid classes for ages 4-7 and 8-12 need volunteers; see Jered for more info.
Saturday, Sept 22, St. Edwards Park. Register for free meal tickets and meal times at heidelfest.org.
MEN’S PRAYER BREAKFAST
Saturday, Sept 29, 9AM at the church. Breakfast provided. Time of fellowship and prayer.
October 26-27. Why Marriage Matters (Doug & Nancy Wilson); Trinity Our response to God’s Word Church Office; 14623 NE North Woodinville Way, Suite 201.