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nChrist
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« Reply #330 on: December 07, 2006, 09:40:15 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Psalm 32:2 John 16:5-14

Controlled to Convict

John 16:5-14

The indwelling Holy Spirit helps us to share Christ with others. The Lord promised this in John 15:26,27: "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."

The Holy Spirit confirms to us what is true about Christ, and we in turn share those truths with others.

If the Spirit of God is responsible to convict the world of sin, He must first of all convict us of sin because we are the ones He indwells--we are the tools He will use.

He not only makes the life of Christ real to us, but He also causes us to understand our own sinfulness. We can do little to impress others with the awfulness of sin if we ourselves are not acutely aware of our own sinfulness.

This is possibly one basic reason why the world is not convicted of sin, yet is bound for hell at an accelerating speed.

We are the key to the world's conviction and conversion. This is why we need to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Only as we are completely surrendered to Him can He use us to convict people around us of sin, righteousness and judgment.

It is necessary for us to surrender completely, not for personal enjoyment but so the Father's work in the world might be done in and through us.

"Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile" (Ps. 32:2).

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« Reply #331 on: December 13, 2006, 09:26:26 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 Corinthians 3:1 Ephesians 1:13 Romans 8:9 2 Corinthians 1:18-22

Sealed and Sure!

2 Corinthians 1:18-22

A key verse related to the sealing of the Holy Spirit is Ephesians 1:13: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise."

This truth is also stated in 2 Corinthians 1:22: "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." God the Father has anointed us and sealed us, according to 2 Corinthians 1:21. The seal, however, is the Holy Spirit Himself.

The persons sealed are those who have trusted in Christ. This is clear from the Scripture verses already quoted. The basis for this sealing is belief in the Gospel of Christ.

When a person trusts Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and God seals the believer by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us as the earnest, or down payment, of our further inheritance.

The Word of God does not say that the Spirit is given only to the spiritual Christian. Believers can, and sometimes do, become carnal; nevertheless, they are sealed by the Spirit of God.

Paul told the Corinthians that he could not write to them as spiritual believers but had to treat them as "carnal, even as . . . babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1).

Yet to this same group he wrote: "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Cor. 1:21,22).

"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9).

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« Reply #332 on: December 13, 2006, 09:27:52 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference John 17:13-19 John 15:3

The Word Cleanses Your Walk

John 17:13-19

The Bible speaks of our being sanctified by the Word of God as well as by the blood of Christ and by the Holy Spirit.

Just as Christ is not of the world, so the believer is not of the world. God uses His Word, under the power and work of the Holy Spirit, to bring about the changes He wants in our conduct.

Concerning this our Saviour prayed in John 17:16-19, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth."

This sanctification by the Word of God is a continuous process; it goes on from day to day. Obviously, in order to be set apart by the Word of God, we must learn to know the Word of God.

Some people are not separated from the old life of sin as they should be, even though they have made a profession of faith in Christ. The reason is not necessarily that they are not born again but that the Word of God does not have the place in their lives it should.

The Holy Spirit indwells them, but because they have not studied the Word of God and allowed the Spirit to apply it to their lives, they have not experienced the purification and cleansing that follows.

"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).

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« Reply #333 on: December 13, 2006, 09:29:08 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Ephesians 5:18 John 7:37-39

Fullness Begins With Thirst

John 7:37-39

Along with obeying we must desire to be filled and then appropriate the filling. Our Lord said in John 7:37, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."

Here are two prerequisites for the filling of the Holy Spirit: thirst and trust. Thirst suggests desire, and drinking suggests obedience and trust.

Included in this desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit must be our wanting God to judge and put away sin in our lives.

We must desire to be separated unto the Lord from the world and its evil system. We must reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. This is true positionally, but it can be made true in our spiritual life only as we yield to the Holy Spirit's control.

We must also desire the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Do we want love, joy, peace and these other evidences of the Spirit's life in us? Do we long to enthrone Christ as Lord?

Thirst should cause us to drink, and desire should cause us to trust. In the words of our Saviour, out of our innermost beings "shall flow rivers of living water" (v. 38).

We not only trust Christ to save us from sin, but we also trust Him to fill us with the Spirit.

This particular phase of believing, or trusting, in Christ should be a continuous attitude of trusting, of committing ourselves to the Lord in order to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).

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« Reply #334 on: December 13, 2006, 09:31:10 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Ephesians 4:23 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

How to Mind Your Mind

2 Corinthians 10:1-6

We must depend on the Spirit's power to control our thoughts. Here is what the Scriptures have to say on that point: "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God [the indwelling Holy Spirit].... bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4,5).

Only the Spirit of God can make this possible in our lives, and He does it only when we are under His complete control.

When an evil thought comes to our mind, what are we to do? We should turn it over to the Spirit and ask Him to take charge. I have personally done this for years. It is the only method that works for me.

I cannot help it when a thought comes, whether it is good or bad. I do not, however, have to dwell on that thought. So the moment a wrong thought comes, I ask the Holy Spirit to take over, for that is His responsibility.

When I give Him control, He gives me victory. I have experienced this thousands of times.

Thoughts that come to our mind can also be the Holy Spirit's reminder to pray. In I Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to pray without ceasing. Can we possibly do that? Only by letting the Holy Spirit control us.

As He dwells in us and we continue to give Him control so that no sin hinders His working in our hearts, He reminds us of the things He wants us to pray about.

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph. 4:23).

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« Reply #335 on: December 13, 2006, 09:32:49 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 Corinthians 9:21 Romans 8:2 Galatians 6:2 Romans 8:2-3 Galatians 5:1-7

The Law of Liberty

Galatians 5:1-7

The law of Christ is a law of liberty, a law of freedom made operative through the Spirit of God within us.

Nothing in our sin nature could produce a godly life. Indeed, it is opposed to righteousness. It is void of all power to do what pleases God.

Though we may know what the right standard of righteousness is because we have God's Law, we do not have in ourselves the ability to meet the Law's righteous demands. All the Law can do under such circumstances is to demand death as a penalty.

But since Jesus Christ paid the death penalty the Law required and has provided life and liberty, we are free to let Christ live His life in us. This is done through the working of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote in Romans 8:2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

The word "law" does not refer to Old Testament Law but to a principle, a new method God has provided whereby the Holy Spirit produces the life of Christ in us. This is referred to in the Bible as the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; 1 Cor. 9:21).

The Mosaic Law did not provide freedom from sin for us, nor could it produce righteousness in us because we were spiritually incapable of obeying it.

God, however, sent His own Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). Christ judged, or dethroned, the power of sin and set us free so that it is possible for us to please God with lives of righteousness.

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).

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« Reply #336 on: December 13, 2006, 09:34:26 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Romans 9:1 Psalm 119:11 Isaiah 6:1-8

Spirituality Demands Honesty


Isaiah 6:1-8

The Bible has a great deal to say about the conscience. Much is said to believers with regard to the conscience. For example, Paul wrote in Romans 9:1: "1 say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost."

The apostle connected his conscience and the Holy Spirit in such a way as to show that the Holy Spirit works with the believer's conscience to keep it clear, to keep it functioning as it should.

One of God's attributes is His holiness. He hates--and will eventually destroy--evil, but He loves good. A person's conscience reflects God's attitude in this. It condemns sin and approves what is right.

God created people with a conscience to hate sin and to love right. The conscience condemns sin and approves of what pleases God. So through the conscience God still works in people.

The believer who wants to be filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit must allow God to instruct and control his conscience. Therefore, since God the Holy Spirit works through the conscience, it must be trained by the Word of God to be sensitive to the Spirit's dealing.

A clear conscience will characterize a spiritual person. We need an alert conscience, as Paul said, "My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 9:1).

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Ps. 119:11).

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« Reply #337 on: December 14, 2006, 11:38:27 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference John 15:7 John 14:12-17

Prayer and the Trinity

John 14:12-17

Each member of the Trinity has a distinct role in prayer.

The Father waits at the throne of grace to hear the prayers of us who trust His Son. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Advocate in the presence of God the Father. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is the Advocate in our hearts, teaching us to pray.

We can view it from another position. The Holy Spirit in us prepares the case we need to make. Christ pleads that case before the Judge. God the Father, as the Judge, hears the case.

So we pray to the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is not something natural. Prayer to God is not the same as communion with our family or friends. It is on a spiritual level and goes beyond the natural and the physical.

The Son receives from the Father and reveals for our benefit what God wants us to know. But the Holy Spirit within us acts as an interpreter of spiritual truths.

Christ's unceasing intercession for us is indispensable. We need this in order to receive that which the Father has planned for us.

But just as essential is the intercession of the Spirit within us, praying for these things in our behalf and accepting from the Son what the Father desires to provide us with.

"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).

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« Reply #338 on: December 16, 2006, 07:46:17 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Matthew 6 Hebrews 4:16 1 John 5:1-14

Learning How to Pray

1 John 5:1-13

We need the Holy Spirit to help us pray. Our own prayers tend to be selfish. It is natural for us to concentrate our prayers only on our own desires and needs.

A large part of our praying is concerned with our families or our own personal needs. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray for God's work and for others.

The so-called Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 instructs us how to pray beyond our own desires. It begins, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (vv. 9,10).

The first three requests of this prayer center around God Himself. What motivates our usual praying? Do we seek the glory of God only? This is where the Spirit of God must help us.

We find also that our prayers often lack insight. We just do not know how to pray in the will of God. John told us in his first letter: "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" (5:14).

We need to learn what God's will is. But sometimes we do not know what we should pray for. And if we know what we should pray for, we do not always know how we should pray for it.

This is why we need the help of the Spirit. Our infirmities would make true prayer impossible were it not for the Spirit's enabling.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

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« Reply #339 on: December 16, 2006, 07:47:36 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Ephesians 6:12 Romans 15:30 Ephesians 6:18 Colossians 4:12-13

Fire on the Prayer Altar

Colossians 4:12,13

We often pray out of a sense of duty, paying a sort of lip service to what we believe. The average prayer meeting today is a sad event for this very reason.

Sometimes we who are there scold those who are absent, and we look down on them. Sometimes those who attend the prayer meeting feel themselves to be better than those who do not. This attitude hinders real prayer.

We are inclined to say the same things over and over again without really ever getting down to the real business of praying.

Prayer is one of our weapons against sin. But if we remain indifferent to the seriousness of sin, our prayers will lack fervor, and we will not care about those who are lost or the interests of God. We just do not know how to pray.

Paul told us in Romans 15:30: "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."

Paul encouraged his readers to pray fervently and to strive in prayer. This involved agonizing and wrestling in prayer.

Ephesians 6:12 says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

When these things confront us, we need to know how to pray fervently. That is why Paul said in Ephesians 6:18, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" (Eph. 6:18).

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« Reply #340 on: December 17, 2006, 01:36:13 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference James 1:6-8 Hebrews 11:6 Mark 11:24 Romans 22:28

Power in Prayer

Romans 8:22-28

Our difficulties in prayer also show up in our lack of power and faith. Of course, if our prayers are selfish, inconsistent and lacking in spiritual understanding, they cannot be powerful. But more than that, they are empty because they are not supported by faith. Without faith we know it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). James told us that the person who prays must "ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8).

Do we have faith to ask God for the big things He wants to give us? Only the Spirit of God can provide us with that faith. We must pray, "Lord, teach us to pray." Our prayers must be in harmony with God's will, and then we can expect things to happen as God wants them to happen. We will see answers and victories.

We often think that if we have a burden to pray about something, God is bound to answer us if we get someone else to pray with us. Such unity in prayer is merely man-made. True unity must come from the Holy Spirit. He must lay the burden on our heart and on the heart of someone else. We may not even know who that other person is, but we can be praying together.

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).

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« Reply #341 on: December 18, 2006, 10:59:24 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Hebrews 7:25 Exodus 17:8-16

Victory on the Mount

Exodus 17:8-16

The Christian's war with the flesh is seen in the Israelites' desert experiences as outlined in the Old Testament. This age-old battle is seen in Amalek's attempt to keep Israel out of the land of promise.

The simple statement is made in Exodus 17:8: "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim." This historical battle furnishes us with a good illustration of the internal warfare every believer in Christ experiences.

Amalek is a type of the flesh. He did not want the Israelites to claim their inheritance in Canaan. Amalek was strong and had high aspirations. He did not like the idea of being subdued but wanted rather to be in control. So it is with our fleshly nature.

Joshua was the leader of the Israelites in this battle. Though he was an able general and fought well, Israel's subsequent victory was not attributed to him or his army but to the Lord.

Moses also fought in the battle--on a mountaintop by prayer and faith. He interceded, using the rod of God as his authority.

As long as he kept his arms and the rod raised, the Israelites were winning. When his arms dropped, then Amalek began to win. Aaron and Hur finally came to his aid and held up his arms as he interceded for Israel. This brought the final victory.

Believers have two members of the Trinity interceding for them--the Holy Spirit and Christ. This assures us of victory. We do not need to fear defeat if we will allow the Spirit of God to have control.

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25).

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« Reply #342 on: December 19, 2006, 08:11:30 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Acts 1:8 Luke 24:47-49 Acts 5:32 John 15:17-27

Power for Witness Is Yours

John 15:17-27

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to bear witness of the Saviour.

This promise was made by our Lord to His disciples before His ascension: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:47-49).

These words were fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost. He began a work then that He now continues--indwelling believers and empowering them to witness as they give Him complete control of their lives.

This is confirmed by Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

The disciples no longer hesitated to witness after the Day of Pentecost. We read in Acts 5:32: "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."

"And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

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« Reply #343 on: December 20, 2006, 08:57:55 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Acts 1:8 Acts 4:8-14

A Witness That Counts

Acts 4:8-14

A witness is one who has personal knowledge of some person or event. We who are born again have personal knowledge of Christ. If we do not know Him, we are not born again.

The person who has experienced the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus. This is not something that could take place in our hearts without our knowledge. We may not know the exact time or day or place where this transaction took place, but we do know that God has done something for us.

Most people who are born again know some of these details, but not all do. If the new birth has taken place in our hearts at all, however, we have witnessed the working of the Holy Spirit in our life. This puts us in a position to testify concerning this truth.

A witness in court is there to give evidence. He tells what he has seen and heard. It is our responsibility to tell of Jesus Christ, who has saved us. This witnessing is to take place in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth.

We are to begin testifying of Christ where we are, and then we are to seek, by every means possible, to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Since the Holy Spirit has come, we have no excuse for avoiding or excusing ourselves from witnessing.

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8).

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« Reply #344 on: December 21, 2006, 06:03:40 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Proverbs 3:1-8 Philippians 4:6-7 Ephesians 5:20 1 Corinthians 10:31 Colossians 3:17

Practicing God's Principles

Proverbs 3:1-8

God has given us some basic principles to guide us in any situation. One of these is 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Do all to the glory of God." We cannot sin to the glory of God. Let us be sure that whatever we do is for His glory.

Another principle is Ephesians 5:20: "Giving thanks always for all things." If we cannot thank the Lord while we are doing a certain thing, then we should not do it. At the same time, let us be thankful Christians for all God does for us.

A third principle is Colossians 3:17: "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Suppose you wonder, Should I go to this place? Could you go there in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?

A fourth principle is Philippians 4:6: "In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." We are to pray about everything.

If we cannot do what we plan to do for the glory of God, if we cannot give thanks for it, if we cannot do it in His name, if we would not feel right in praying about it, then we should not do it.

This means we must be saturated with the Word of God so that the Holy Spirit can bring the Word to our remembrance to guide us through every phase of life.

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).

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