Ministry Conversational Bible Reading

110 of 26 items

The coming of the Holy Spirit

I was just impressed with the awesome wonder of the coming of the Holy Spirit. My father came from a sect of Russian pacifists, the Doukhobors, and as one of their practices they would bow to one another in recognition of the Holy Spirit in one another. That may be a bit over the top, but I like the idea. It is amazing to think that the Holy Spirit has come and is dwelling in the saints. Maybe we could just look at John 14 in this connection.

Then, thinking of the many effects of the Holy Spirit, here are two: sin is reproved, and Christ is exalted. And we get that in Acts 2.

The Incarnation of Christ is an awesome and wondrous fact, and a reality that we can never get enough of. But the coming of the Spirit is so wonderful, powerful, and has such implications, that I just felt, myself, the need to be expanded in the awesome wonder of His coming. So we have Christ here physically – and you can see Him, but only those who have faith really discern Who He is. Then we have the Spirit, and He is not seen – as it comes out in this section in John 14, we cannot see Him.

Revival

In reading these passages, I had in mind the thought of revival. We live in days that Paul describes to Timothy as difficult days (2 Tim 3:1), and as you look at that section in Timothy, you see how difficult the days are. There has been such a turning away from the things of Jesus Christ. Therefore, from that background, it should be an exercise with us that there may be revival – first of all, in our own hearts, our own lives; then in our local meetings; and finally, revival of interest in the things of Christ in our nation, which largely has turned its back on the Christian faith.

The wilderness journey

suggested these passages because they all speak of the journey of the children of Israel in the wilderness. It is striking how many times the journey through the wilderness is spoken of in the Scriptures. It comes into several of the Psalms and several of the prophets, and Paul draws on it in his teaching to those in Corinth when he says all “these things happened as types of us” (1 Cor 10:6), which makes the subject important in our own day for what it can teach us.

Just so that we can be clear about what the wilderness is for us – I think it is what the world becomes to the believer when the light of Christ really lays hold of our hearts and souls, so that the world is shown up for what it truly is: “Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev 11:8). As a result, just as the children of Israel were enabled to move out of Egypt, so you and I are to be enabled to move out, in that sense, of this world. God has called us out of this world, to be a people for His possession (see Deut 7:6; 1 Pet 2:9).

Seeing more of the wonderful things of God

When I was thinking about this afternoon, for some reason I had an overriding impression of Psalm 23. And then, following through from the thought of what we can enjoy currently, as believers in this wilderness scene that we are all treading through, we can touch what is eternal and what is of God.

It led me to think of Psalm 27, too. These are both psalms of David, a man of experience. What comes out here, linking with what we were saying yesterday, is that he had a desire and an earnest longing to see more of these wonderful things. He did not just want to look in from the outside; he wanted to enter in to what God would have for him, and to see something of “the beauty of Jehovah” (v4).

I read the other two Scriptures because, whilst many, many readings have taken place on Luke 15 and John 14, there is always something new you can gain, I think, from the truth of the Father’s house. Luke 15, I suppose, tells us what, again, we can enjoy currently. The younger son wanted an inheritance now. He actually came into something, now, that was far better than what he had actually hankered after in the first place.

And then what we read about in John 14 is a future day in many ways. It is something the believer can look forward to. We should not forget that. It is not all current, we have a future. It is the wonderful thing for a believer that he does have a bright future. The wonder and glory of that should affect us now as well. That is why the Lord spoke to His disciples, that the future prospect might also be a current enjoyment.

Psalm 23 is for where we are now.

The Gifts of Eternal Life and the Holy Spirit

My thought today is quite simply that we should have a desire to appreciate what God has given us. As believers in the Lord Jesus we come into much blessing. Some of it is future, but much of it is now. But, also, I am challenged as to how much I am concerned with knowing more of it.

There are two things principally that I want to speak of this afternoon. One is the gift of eternal life, the other is the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are two things which are to be enjoyed currently. And they are two things which we should desire to know more of.
So I read the New Testament Scriptures so that we can think about the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Spirit. But then I read the Old Testament Scriptures because I think it is always good to get practical examples of truth that we are considering. What strikes me about Caleb and his daughter is that they both had desires. Also, in fact, the woman in John 4 said, “Give me this water” (v15). I know for myself that, as being brought up in a Christian household, amongst the brethren, we take a lot for granted. But these things are to be gone in for. Would that each of us desired a blessing!

The Lord Jesus our Teacher

I have been concerned that we might get further gain from considering the Lord Jesus as our Teacher. At the beginning of the Acts this same servant, Luke, said that he put this Gospel together “concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach.” There was clearly a great emphasis in his mind, led of the Holy Spirit, to set out the teaching the Lord Jesus gave when He was here.

The habitation of God

I have just a simple thought about the way in which what was on David’s heart in organising a habitation for God has been answered in the line of promises of God in a full way in the work of the Lord Jesus, and how this work is being carried on now as the house is being built. We refer, of course, to two different houses in these passages. One is a physical house that was actually built as a Temple, not by David, but by his son, as we know. And that house was meant in the exercise and desire of David to be God’s habitation amongst His people, as related to the centre of His promises in Zion, the place that God had chosen. The house that is being built now is not physical, nor localised in any particular place, but is made of living persons who have been put together by the Lord Jesus in His work. The Lord is building what will become, in true result, a habitation and pleasure of God. I thought that, following up what we had before us yesterday, and what we enjoyed together this morning, we could consider how God can find this habitation amongst His own, and how this can really be formed through what the Lord Himself is doing. I hope this thought can be developed by the brethren together.

Establishment

I am thinking about the importance of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ being established. Paul speaks in this lovely doxology at the end of the Epistle to the Romans about God as the One Who “is able to establish you.”

I think the establishment of believers is a very important part of the ministry of the apostle Paul. You read, for example, in the Acts that he went on his missionary journeys to new territory to secure believers for the Lord Jesus. When he came back again to see these believers, one of the things he did was to establish them (Acts 14:22). In other words, it was important for them not just to hear the message and believe the message, but to be established in the great things of God. I think there is a need today for myself, and others who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to become established Christians.

Appreciating our Blessings

In reading these Scriptures, I had the thought in mind to ask myself, and, I trust, my brethren, ‘How appreciative are we of the blessings that have come to us?’ We need hardly say that we live in a day which is marked by unthankfulness, indeed it is one of the features that is mentioned in Romans (ch 1:21). Man away from God is unthankful. But that should not mark the believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. He has got much to give thanks for.

The blessings that have come to us in Christ are absolutely wonderful! They have come in the operation of divine love, and surely they would stimulate a responsive appreciation in every one of our hearts for the way God has richly blessed us. Indeed, just before coming out I was looking in one of the magazines, and there is a quotation there from Isaac Watts’s hymn:

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!
(Hymn 272).

Titles and Offices of the Lord Jesus as presented in the Epistle to the Hebrews

I just suggest these Scriptures, dear brethren, as presenting to us some of the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, and desiring, as our brother said in prayer, that we might get some fresh views of Him and His Person and excellence. There is, of course, nothing new in Scripture; the Scripture is its own record, but we come back to it looking for what we might call fresh impressions of what the Scripture contains.
As regards titles and offices, I think they mainly relate to the Lord Jesus. That is to say that He fills many of the needs of God as desiring to have to do with men, and, through grace, of men as desiring to have dealings with God. It may be said of the Holy Spirit, of course, that He is the Comforter and the Earnest, and maybe has other titles as well. But Scripture, I think, dwells a good deal on the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Epistle to the Hebrews is one – not the only one, obviously, but one – good place to look to see what the Spirit has to say about the offices that the Lord Jesus fills.
I read these Scriptures in the order in which they occur in the Epistle, because that is just the easiest way to keep them in mind. But I did not have in mind to suggest that there was any progression through the passages we have read. They each stand by themselves, apart from the close connection that there is between chapter 3, “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession,” and what there is in chapter 8, where the apostle himself says that a summary of what has gone before is that “we have such a one High Priest Who has sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Greatness in the heavens.” And he then says that He is “Minister of the holy places and of the true tabernacle.” So, I think it is good to think of the High Priest and the Minister perhaps in somewhat the same context.