Wise with spiritual wisdom

Wise with spiritual wisdom

“We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom.

Colossians 1:9 NLT

Discerning cultural trends

C. S. Lewis was born on this day in 1898, and 40-plus years after his death it is startlingly clear that he was not only a keen apologist but also a true prophet for our postmodern age.

Lewis wrote his book Miracles in 1947, before most Christians were aware of the emerging philosophy of naturalism, which says that there is a naturalistic explanation for everything in the universe.

Naturalism undercuts any objective morality, opening a door to tyranny. In The Abolition of Man, Lewis warned that naturalism turns human beings into objects to be controlled and turns values into “mere natural phenomena” that can be selected and inculcated into a passive population by powerful Conditioners. He predicted a time when those who want to remold human nature “will be armed with the powers of an omnicompetent state and an irresistible scientific technique.”

Why was Lewis so uncannily prophetic?

One reason is that Lewis was a professor with a specialty in medieval literature. This gave him a mental framework shaped by the whole scope of intellectual history and Christian thought.

We Christians need to liberate ourselves from the prison of our own narrow worldview and immerse ourselves in Christian ideas “down the ages.” The best way to celebrate Lewis’ birthday is to be at our posts, as he liked to say, with renewed spirits and with probing and informed minds.

Adapted from How Now Shall We Live? Devotional by Charles Colson (Tyndale) pp 665-66

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

The strength of a horse does not impress him; how puny in his sight is the strength of man. Rather, the Lord's delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.  Psalm 147:10-11

The strength of a horse does not impress him; how puny in his sight is the strength of man. Rather, the Lord’s delight is in those who honor him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:10-11

 

GAL. 5:25

 

 

God’s barriers against man’s sin

“Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.” Jeremiah 5:22-23

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 1:1-4

God here contrasts the obedience of the strong, the mighty, the untamed sea, with the rebellious character of his own people. “The sea,” saith he, “obeys me; it never breaks its boundary; it never leaps from its channel; it obeys me in all its movements. But man, poor puny man, the little creature whom I could crush as the moth, will not be obedient to me. The sea obeys me from shore to shore, without reluctance, and its ebbing floods, as they retire from its bed, each of them says to me, in the voices of the pebbles, ‘O Lord, we are obedient to thee, for thou art our master.’ But my people”, says God, “are a revolting and a rebellious people; they go astray from me.” And is it not, my brethren, a marvellous thing, that the whole earth is obedient to God, save man? Even the mighty leviathan, who maketh the deep to be hoary, sinneth not against God, but his course is ordered according to his Almighty Master’s decree. Stars, those wondrous masses of light, are easily directed by the very wish of God; clouds, though they seem erratic in their movement, have God for their pilot; “he maketh the clouds his chariot;” and the winds, though they seem restive beyond control, yet do they blow, or cease to blow just as God wills. In heaven, on earth, even in the lower regions, we could scarcely find such a disobedience as that which is practised by man; at least, in heaven, there is a cheerful obedience; and in hell there is constrained submission to God, while on earth man makes the base exception, he is continually revolting and rebelling against his Maker.

For meditation: Jonah, a great wind, a great fish, a plant, a worm, an east wind (Jonah 1:3,4,17; 2:10;4:6-8)—which is the odd one out?

Answer: God’s servant Jonah—the rest obeyed God at once. This should humble us!

Sermon no. 220
16 November (1856)

 

 

SETTING AN EXAMPLE/THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Today’s promise: God blesses those who seek after him

THE LAND OF THE FREE?

Setting An Example

“In everything you do, stay away from complaining or arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them.”

Philippians 2:14-15 

Domestic Publicity

William Wilberforce is remembered as the parliamentarian most responsible for ending the British slave trade. But to the people of his own generation, he was the man who changed the way the British viewed their role as parents.

Wilberforce did not marry until he was nearly 40. But as Kevin Belmonte notes in Hero for Humanity, once Wilberforce became a husband and the father of six children, he took up his new responsibilities with relish.

It was not unusual, notes Belmonte, for him to excuse himself “from important deliberations with fellow MPs to go out on the lawn and have a race with the children.”

Belmonte says it was through Wilberforce’s example that British households “increasingly…became places where parents spent more time with their children, educating them, praying with them, reading with them, and playing with them.” Wilberforce resigned his powerful seat in the House of Commons in order “to take a more active role in education and rearing his children.”

Sadly, these days, too many Christians in business or politics neglect their families. Wilberforce is a reminder of what every Christian father should be in spite of great demands on his time. For the sake of his children — and for the sake of his witness — he must be “at home, a candle set on a candlestick, as well as abroad in a city built upon a hill.”

Adapted from How Now Shall We Live? Devotional by Charles Colson (Tyndale) pp 559-60

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

The work of the Holy Spirit

KILL DEVIL HILL NC 09 2013

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3

Suggested Further Reading: John 3:1-8

It is simple enough for a man that hath the Spirit in him to believe, when he hath the written Word before him and the witness of the Spirit in him; that is easy enough. But for the poor, tried sinner, who cannot see anything in the Word of God but thunder and threatening—for him to believe—ah, my brethren, it is not such a little matter as some make it to be. It needs the fulness of the power of God’s Spirit to bring any man to such a faith as that. Well, when the sinner has thus believed, then the Holy Spirit brings all the precious things to him. There is the blood of Jesus; that can never save my soul, unless God the Spirit takes that blood, and sprinkles it upon my conscience. There is the perfect spotless righteousness of Jesus; it is a robe that will fit me and adorn me from head to foot, but it is no use to me till I have put it on; and I cannot put it on myself; God the Holy Spirit must put the robe of Jesus’ righteousness on me. There is the covenant of adoption, whereby God gives me the privileges of a son; but I cannot rejoice in my adoption until I receive the spirit of adoption whereby I may be able to cry, “Abba, Father.” So, beloved, you see that every point that is brought out in the experience of the new-born Christian, every point in that part of salvation which we call its beginning in the soul, has to do with God the Holy Spirit. There is no step that can be taken without him, there is nothing which can be accomplished aright without him.

For meditation: It is impossible to begin in the flesh and end up with the Spirit (John 6:63-64; Romans 8:9).

Sermon no. 178     17 November (Preached 5 November 1857)

Charles Spurgeon (C)