Jonathan Edwards

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“Handle Them With Hands”

Posted by on 17 Jan 2011 | Tagged as: Christian Ministry, Holy Spirit, Jonathan Edwards, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Puritans

Ministry That Is Full of the Spirit

And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom.

Acts 6:3 NLT

When I entered the ministry some thirty years ago (it seems like yesterday), the emphasis was on the Holy Spirit’s power. Christian leaders taught that Christian ministry should not be pursued without the Spirit’s blessing. Our ministry could not be successful without the Spirit’s enabling. Our ministry would not have a lasting impact without the anointing of the Spirit. Our ministry could not change hearts without the transforming work of the Spirit. All these statements were true and are still true.

While these “spiritual” concerns were real and should be heeded by any gospel minister: we should not neglect diligent study of the Word, faithful theological reflection, and research into the latest insights in pastoral care and counseling. Emphasis on the Spirit’s anointing should not displace diligent and faithful study. “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 NLT).

It’s not an either-or, God blesses the minister with a yielded heart and a faithful mind. We worship and serve the Lord in “Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). We are called to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

However for today’s new minister, the pendulum has swung the other direction. For the training of new pastors, the academic is over emphasized to the neglect of spiritual maturity. The obtaining of advance degrees more prized than a ministry candidate’s prayer life. The size of the congregation more valued than than the depth of the minister’s walk with the Lord.

We need both: faithful men and women who will walk with God while consistently acting on the means of grace: study of the Word of God, earnest prayer, receiving the sacraments, and fellowshipping with other believers.

This practice he [i.e., David Brainerd] earnestly recommended on his death-bed, from his own experience of its great benefits, to some candidates for the ministry that stood by his bedside. He often speaking of the great need of ministers have much of the Spirit of Christ in their work, and how little good they are like to do without it; and how, ‘when ministers were under the special influences of the Spirit of God, it assisted them to come at consciences of men, and (as he expressed it) as it were to handle them with hands: whereas, without the Spirit of God, said he, whatever reason and oratory we make use of, we do but make use of stumps, instead of hands.’

Jonathan Edwards quoted by D. M. Lloyd-Jones, “Jonathan Edwards and the Crucial Importance of Revival,” in The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1987), 370.

Humility in Today’s World

Posted by on 31 Jul 2010 | Tagged as: Humility, Jesus Christ, Jonathan Edwards

The Humility of Jesus

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matt 11:29 KJV

Humility is seeing yourself as God sees you: dark yet lovely (Song of Songs 1:5), weak yet strong (2 Cor. 12:9), and poor yet spiritually rich (2 Cor. 5:21). Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking less about yourself. Humility is not denigrating yourself by making yourself out to be less than the total person that God has gifted and called you to be as his servant.

Humility is admitting your weaknesses, calling out to God for help, and depending completely on his strengthening grace. Humility is surrendering yourself to God the Father by allowing him to do in your life whatever he pleases, irrespective of what others might say about you or do to you. Humility is not allowing people to walk over you, but humility is allowing Christ to live his life in and through you.

God is brilliant, yet he speaks to us in simplicity and with great tenderness. God is all-powerful, yet he waits for a response from us to his love. God is perfect, yet he does not expect perfection from us. God is all knowing, yet he never grows impatience with our ignorance and inability to understand. God is truly humble: he became God incarnate in human flesh in order that you and I might know him.

A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.

Jonathan Edwards, Christian Quote of the Day, January 16, 2007; available from http://www.christianquote.com/.

Biblical Humility

Posted by on 30 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: Humility, Jonathan Edwards

humility

Humility Equals Dependence on God

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)

Humility is seeing yourself as God sees you: dark yet lovely (Song of Songs 1:5), weak yet strong (2 Cor. 12:9), and poor yet spiritually rich (2 Cor. 9:8). Humility is not thinking less of myself, but thinking less about myself. Humility is not denigrating myself by making myself out to be less than the total person that God has gifted and called me to be as his servant. Humility is admitting my weaknesses, calling out to God for help, and depending completely on his strengthening grace. Humility is surrendering myself to God the Father by allowing him to do in my life whatever he pleases irrespective of what others might say about me or do to me.

God is brilliant, yet he speaks to me in simplicity and with great tenderness. God is all-powerful, yet he waits for a response from me to his love. God is perfect, yet he does not expect perfection from me. God is all knowing, yet he never grows impatience with my ignorance and inability to understand. God is truly humble: he became God incarnate in human flesh in order that you and I might know him.

A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.

Jonathan Edwards, Christian Quote of the Day, January 16, 2007; available from http://www.christianquote.com/.