Roy Hession

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Servants and their Lord

Posted by on 28 May 2011 | Tagged as: Jesus Christ, Roy Hession, Servant

Christ-Centered Servants

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.

Phil. 2:5-7

A servant is a man or woman who freely and willingly lays down their rights, needs, and desires for the purpose of helping other men and women achieve their hopes and dreams. Christ-centered servants put others first for they trust that Christ can and will meet all their needs and fulfill their heart’s desires (Matt. 6:33).

Why would anyone want to yield his or her goals for another friend, relative, or even enemy? Our supreme example, Jesus, set aside his status in heaven in order that through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, we could have a relationship with our heavenly Father (Phil. 2:5-7).

What motivates servants? Servants are compelled to please their Lord (2 Cor. 5:9). Jesus is the Suffering Servant who took our place and received our just condemnation (Isa. 53:5). Servants love Jesus for his great sacrificial love loved them when they were so very unlovely (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, Christ-centered servants want to serve like Jesus: unconditionally giving love and blessing to others (Mark 10:45).

We shall see more clearly our calling when we understand that we are servants of One who was Himself willing to be a servant.

How do Christ-centered servants serve? We serve out heart gladness knowing that his grace enables us to lay down our lives for others. Christ-centered servants serve unselfishly: their hearts have been transformed by the Cross. Christ-centered servants desire to work for things that will last for eternity. For that reason, they choose a life of service without hesitation or equivocation. They live not for money, sex, and power, but for God, his people, and his kingdom (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

When do servants serve? Servants do not wait to be seen. They give of themselves without concern for praise or attention.

Where do God’s servants serve? They serve anywhere. Christ-centered servants are not concerned about formal ministry positions: they overflow with the life of Jesus wherever the Lord places them.

This, then, is the Way of the Cross. It is the way that God’s lowly Bondservant first trod for us, and should not we, the bondservants of that Bondservant, tread it still? Does it seem hard and forbidding, this way down? Be assured, it is the only way up. It was the way by which the Lord Jesus reached the Throne, and it is the way by which we, too, reach the place of spiritual power, authority and fruitfulness. Those who tread this path are radiant, happy souls, overflowing with the life of their Lord.

Roy Hession, The Calvary Road (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1950), 94.

Servants serve because that is what servants do. Servants do not worry about being used because they know that the Lord is their protector. Servants know that God is always watching. Servants believe that God sees their efforts and will honor their work. Christ-centered servants live to hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Servants do not condemn others for not serving: they know that except for God’s great grace, they would be self-absorbed, too. Servants want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.

Servants live lives of joy and fulfillment. The Lord refreshes their spirits and they live for the joy of basking in his pleasure.

Oh Lord, help us to serve as you served: willingly, unselfishly, and graciously.

From his incarnation to his reign at the Father’s right hand, Jesus is not only the Lord who became the servant, but the servant who is Lord and continues even in this exalted state to serve his Father’s will and his people’s good. From eternity to eternity, he offers his ‘Here I am’ to the Father on behalf of those who have gone their own way. For now, Christ reigns in grace; when he returns in judgment and vindication, his kingdom will be consummated in everlasting glory.

Michael Horton, The Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 533.

HT: Of First Importance

 

Oh No, Not Me! I Didn’t Do It.

Posted by on 14 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: Exchanged Life, Forgiveness, Jerry Bridges, Justification, Martin Luther, My Sermons, Roy Hession, Sin

repentance

The Human Heart (Chapter Ten)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9 KJV).

Our Hearts

Chapter ten of Roy Hession’s’ The Calvary Road addresses the human heart. A heart affected by the Fall is deceitful, conniving, prideful, and defensive (Mark 7:21-22). We protest as innocent when God reveals, convicts, and corrects the foolishness conceived within our hearts. We deny, obfuscate, and protest when our actions manifest our selfishness to others. “How often have not we, too, protested our innocence on the many occasions when God has been convicting others, and when He has wanted to convict us too” (pg. 108). We cover up our sinful struggles assuming that if we do not confess our moral failings, then God will not know about our sinful indiscretions (Ezek. 21:24).

Cover-Up

We do not confess our failures. We worry that if others know, then God will know, how terrible we really are on the inside. We assume that God will reject us if our secret sins are exposed. We avoid being honest with God and ourselves for fear that love and forgiveness will not be found if the true condition of hearts were known. We wrongly assume that God’s love is conditional based on our good behavior. Therefore, we do not call sin, “sin.” We protest our innocence even though we know that our lives do not measure up to God’s holy standards. One more sin, one more failure, one more shortcoming, we cannot and will not admit. Our failures overwhelm us for we did not have the willpower or the energy to fix it (1 John 1:8).

Defensive

God has said that we are self-centered, prideful, and dishonest, yet we continue to defend ourselves. Not only are we dishonest with God, we defend our friends, and loved ones from the Holy Spirit’s conviction as well.

There is yet another error we fall into, when we are not willing to recognize the truth of what God says of the human heart. Not only do we protest our own innocence, but we often protest the innocence of our loved ones. We hate to see them being convicted and humbled and we hasten to defend them. We do not want them to confess anything. We are not only living in a realm of illusion about ourselves, but about them too, and we fear to have it shattered. But we are only defending them against God – making God a liar on their behalf, as we do on our own, and keeping them from entering into blessing, as we do ourselves (pg. 110).

Righteousness of Christ

We assume that our performance of the Christian life is the measure by which God accepts us into his kingdom. We are sure that we have forfeited God’s acceptance by our disobedience. Our hearts condemns us, therefore we assume that we are condemned by God. However, one truth stands forth above all others for us as believers: the only righteousness that exists in our lives is the righteousness of Christ. Christ’s righteousness was imputed (and imparted) to us when we believed that Christ’s terrible death on the Cross was punishment for our sin (Gal. 3:10-14).

Christians are not made righteous by doing righteous things, but being made righteous by faith in Christ, they do righteous things.

[Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, CD-Rom (Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996), 3:11.]

The Great Exchange

We received God’s forgiveness and Christ’s righteousness not based on our personal performance, but because of Christ’s beautiful performance on the Cross. This beautiful exchange of my sin for his righteousness is the Gospel (2 Cor. 5:21).

The simple truth is that the only beautiful thing about the Christian is Jesus Christ. God wants us to recognize that fact as true in our experience, so that in true brokenness and self-despair we shall allow Jesus Christ to be our righteousness and holiness and all in all – and that is victory (pg. 107).

This wonderful exchanged is the one-sided trade of my sins, inadequacies, and numerous failings for Christ’s forgiveness, life-sufficiency, and overcoming victory. Ultimately, the greatest of all exchanges is Jesus Christ, the one who is fully man and fully God, truly innocent and without sin, taking upon himself at Golgotha all my selfishness, rebellion, brokenness, and hatred by substituting his righteousness, forgiveness, restoration and love. We can live the exchanged life because Christ by his gracious grace made the Great Exchange of my sin for his righteousness on the Cross (Gal. 2:20).

Abundant Grace

Because of the Cross, our lives are lived in a state of grace. We receive all the blessings of Christ’s obedience as if these great acts were our own. Because of grace, the Christian life is not a performance based on moralism and legalism, but a life lived in God’s acceptance.

No one can understand the message of Scripture who does not know the meaning of grace. The God of the Bible is ‘the God of all grace’ (1 Pet. 5:10). Grace is love, but love of a special sort. It is love which stoops and sacrifices and serves, love which is kind to the unkind, and generous to the ungrateful and undeserving. Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor, loving the unlovable, seeking the fugitive, rescuing the hopeless, and lifting the beggar from the dunghill to make him sit among princes.

[John Stott, Understanding the Bible, Revised (London: Scripture Union, 1984), 127.]

Since we are saved by grace and not by our performance, we are now free to be brutally honest with God (Eph. 2:8-9). We can say with David,

Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest and be clear when Thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4 KJV). Let us not fear then, to make such a confession where God convicts us that we must, thinking that it will “let Jesus down.” Rather the reverse is true, for out of such confession God gets glory, for we declare Him to be right (pg. 112).

The Gospel for Everyday

We learn to apply the gospel not only to my salvation experience, but also to my on-going growth in Christ (Rom. 8:1-4). As Jerry Bridges has noted,

The gospel applied every day to our hearts, frees us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with God. The assurance of His total forgiveness through Christ’s blood means that we don’t have to play defensive games anymore. We don’t have to rationalize and excuse our sins. We can say that we told a lie instead of continuing to blame others for our emotional distress. We can call sin exactly what it is, however ugly and shameful it may be, because we know Jesus bore that sin in His body on the cross. We have no reason to hide from our sins anymore.

[Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day by Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 25.]

Brokenness Though the Cross

Thank God, we know longer have to pretend, cover up or hide from our sins and failures. We no longer have to fake a victory that does not exist. We no longer have to act holy when we know that we are behaving badly. Because of the Cross, we can come to a place of brokenness–a place where all my sins can be washed away by the blood of the Lamb.

A man never comes to this position of brokenness, but God shows him the Divine Lamb on Calvary‘s Cross, putting away his sin by the shedding of His Blood. The God who declares beforehand what we are, provides beforehand for our sin. Jesus was the Lamb slain for our sins from the foundation of the world. In Him, who bore them in meekness, my sins are finished. And as I, in true brokenness, confess them, and put my faith in His Blood, they are cleansed and gone. Peace with God then comes into my heart, fellowship with God is immediately restored, and I walk with Him in white (pg. 113).

With this post, we conclude our study of personal revival as taught by Roy Hession in his classic work, The Calvary Road.

Lose All Your Guilty Stains

Posted by on 28 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Blood of Jesus, Forgiveness, My Sermons, Repentance, Revival, Roy Hession, Sin

christ_on_the_cross-400

There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood (Chapter Nine)

The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20 ESV).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23 ESV).

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21 ESV).

The biggest problem to experiencing personal revival is sin, individual and corporate. My sin and your sin grieve the Holy Spirit and prevent him from blessing our lives and our ministry efforts on his behalf. Our relationship with God remains in tact, but our fellowship with each person of the blessed Trinity suffers. In chapter ten of The Calvary Road, Roy Hession explains the simplicity of “walking in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25) and maintaining on-going fellowship with God:

The message and challenge of Revival, which is coming to many of us these days, is searching in its utter simplicity. It is simply that there is only one thing in the world that can hinder the Christian’s walking in victorious fellowship with God and his being filled with the Holy Spirit – and that is sin in one form or another (pg. 97).

We all sin and we know that our behavior disappoints God and hurts others. I am wrong because I have broken God’s law; my selfish actions have wounded God’s heart and hurt others. Sin turns the world upside down: it says that everyone and everything should revolve around my desires, needs, and wants. My sin is rebellion toward God and unbelief in his plans and purposes. Sin came into the world through Adam’s fall and continues through my willful rebellion and unbelief.

I have failed as a Christian so what do I do? I try harder. No, I look to the same grace that saved me to forgive me. I must remember that I am accepted by God not based my personal performance, but based on Christ’s infinitely beautiful performance on the Cross. “But  if we walk in the light,  as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and  the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7-8 ESV). I run to the blood of Christ to find forgiveness, cleansing, and renewal.

There is only one thing in the world that can cleanse him from sin with all that that means of liberty and victory – and that is the power of the Blood of the Lord Jesus. It is, however, most important for us that we should see what it is that gives the Blood of Christ its mighty power with God on behalf of men, for then we shall understand the conditions on which its full power may be experienced in our lives (pg. 97).

The blood of Christ is clear confirmation that Christ died a sacrificial death to pay for our release from the captivity of sin and bondage to Satan’s schemes. In other words, we owe our salvation to the death of Christ. His blood removes our guilt before God (1 Pet.1:18-19), cleanses ours stricken consciences (Heb. 9:14), gives us bold access to the Father (Heb. 10:19), on-going cleansing from our sin (1 John 1:7) and conquers all of Satan’s accusations (Rev. 12:10-11). We sinned, the penalty of our sin is death, Christ took our place, and died so that we might live. Jesus’ blood condemns death and in that death, the penalty of our sin was paid in full. In short, the blood of Jesus is the virtue of his death for our sins. That virtue continues to flow even after we become Christians.

How many achievements and how many blessings for men the Scripture ascribes to the power of the Blood of the Lord Jesus! By the power of His Blood peace is made between man and God (Col 1:20). By its power there is forgiveness of sins and eternal life for all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus (Col 1:14; John 6:54). By the power of His Blood Satan is overcome (Rev 12:11). By its power there is continual cleansing from all sin for us (1 John 1:7). By the power of His Blood we may be set free from the tyranny of an evil conscience to serve the living God (Heb 9:14). By its infinite power with God the most unworthy have liberty to enter the Holy of Holies of God’s presence and live there all the day (Heb 10:19) (pg. 98).

How do we experience the full power of the blood of Christ in our lives? Repentance. Repentance is simple, but not easy. It is a change of mind and heart which affects my attitude and alters my conduct. Repentance is not turning inward, but turning around. It is the recognition that God is right and that I am wrong. Repentance renews my fellowship with the Lord that was lost through sin. Repentance opens the door to the forgiveness that was already bought for me on the Cross. Repentance is not trying to get God to forgive, but receiving the forgiveness that Christ released two thousand years ago on Calvary’s hill. That forgiveness, that blood, that joy is flowing, always flowing from Golgotha.

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,

Lose all their guilty stains.

Forgiveness is not getting even: it is giving away the right to get even. We have committed grave injustices in the world. In fact, we have acted in such a way that we place ourselves above all others. By our behavior, attitudes, and actions we have turned the world upside down by making ourselves the center of attention instead of God and his glory. When God forgives us, he chooses to forget all the wrongs that we have done to him and all damage that we have done to others. Because of Christ’s awesome and bloody sacrifice, God himself gives away the right to get even with us. Forgiveness is always found in the blood of Christ.

Lord, teach us to run to the foot of the Cross that there we might repent and receive the forgiveness bought for us by the blood of the Lamb.

Doulos: Bond Servant of Our Lord

Posted by on 24 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: My Sermons, Roy Hession, Servant

washing-feet

Christ-Centered Servants (Chapter Eight)

Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant . . . (Phil 2:5-7 NIV).

Chapter eight of Roy Hession’s book, The Calvary Road focuses on the meaning of being a bondservant of our Lord and our need for maintaining a Christ-centered servant attitude. A servant is a man or woman who freely and willingly lays down their rights, needs, and desires for the purpose of helping other men and women achieve their hopes and dreams. Christ-centered servants put others first for they trust that Christ can and will meet all their needs and fulfill their heart’s desires (Matt. 6:33). “Our servanthood to the Lord Jesus is to express itself in our servanthood to our fellows” (pg. 91).

Why would anyone want to yield his or her goals for another friend, relative, or even enemy? Our supreme example, Jesus, set aside his status in heaven in order that through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, we could have a relationship with our heavenly Father (Phil. 2:5-7). What motivates servants? Servants are compelled to please their Lord (2 Cor. 5:9). Jesus is the Suffering Servant who took my place and received my just condemnation (Isa. 53:5). Servants love Jesus for his great sacrificial love loved them when they were so very unlovely (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, Christ-centered servants want to serve like Jesus: unconditionally giving love and blessing to others (Mark 10:45).

We shall see more clearly still what our position is to be when we understand that we are to be the bondservants of One who was Himself willing to be a bondservant. Nothing shows better the amazing humility of the Lord Jesus, whose servants we are to be . . . (pg. 90).

How do Christ-centered servants serve? We serve out of heart gladness knowing that his grace enables us to lay down our lives for others. Who serves unselfishly? Only those whose hearts have been transformed by the Cross serve selflessly. They desire to work for things that last for eternity. For that reason, they choose a life of service without hesitation or equivocation. They live not for money, sex, and power, but for people and the kingdom (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Christ-centered servants do not worry about burning-out: they know that their strength will be renewed like the eagle (Isa. 40:30-31). Truly, the joy of the Lord is their strength as they exchange their weaknesses and failings for pleasure, forgiveness, and righteousness in Christ. (2 Cor. 12:1-12; Neh. 8:10).

When do servants serve? Servants do not wait to be seen. They give of themselves without concern for praise or attention. Where do God’s servants serve? They serve anywhere. They are not concerned about formal ministry positions: they overflow with the life of Jesus wherever the Lord places them.

This, then, is the Way of the Cross. It is the way that God’s lowly Bond Servant first trod for us, and should not we, the bondservants of that Bondservant, tread it still? Does it seem hard and forbidding, this way down? Be assured, it is the only way up. It was the way by which the Lord Jesus reached the Throne, and it is the way by which we, too, reach the place of spiritual power, authority and fruitfulness. Those who tread this path are radiant, happy souls, overflowing with the life of their Lord (pg. 95).

Servants serve because that is what servants do. Servants do not worry about being used because they know that the Lord is their protector. Servants know that God is watching. Servants believe that God sees their efforts and will honor their work. Christ-centered servants live to hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Servants do not condemn others for not serving: they know that except for God’s great grace, they would be self-absorbed, too. Servants want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world:

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
Compassion on this world
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are His body
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Words by St. Theresa of Avila: Music by John Michael Talbot

Servants live lives of joy and fulfillment. The Lord refreshes their spirits and they live for the privilege of basking in his pleasure (Psa. 16:11).

Oh Lord, help us to serve as you served: willingly, unselfishly, and graciously.

Correction and Confrontation

Posted by on 12 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Brokenness, Repentance, Roy Hession, Sin

the_calvaryroad_hession

The Speck and the Plank (Chapter Seven)

We continue in our study of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession with some reflections on personal correction and one-on-one confrontation in the Christian life.

Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and  with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but  do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matt 7:1-5 ESV).

Matthew 7:1-5 is one of the most misused, misunderstood, and misappropriated passages in the entire New Testament. These verses found in the heart of the Sermon of the Mount have been used to justify my right to sin, “you should not judge me” and my right to reject correction, “you have more faults than me,” and my right to be defensive, “you have no right to speak to me about my failings.” Yet, these unique verses which describe, “specks” and “planks” are God’s gift to not only bring personal revival to the offender, but also to the offended.

Now we all know what Jesus meant by the mote (speck) in the other person’s eye. It is some fault which we fancy we can discern in him; it may be an act he has done against us, or some attitude he adopts towards us. But what did the Lord Jesus mean by the beam (plank) in our eye? I suggest that the beam in our eye is simply our unloving reaction to the other man’s mote. Without doubt there is a wrong in the other person. But our reaction to that wrong is wrong too! The mote in him has provoked in us resentment, or coldness, or criticism, or bitterness, or evil speaking, or ill will – all of them variants of the basic ill, unlove. And that, says the Lord Jesus, is far, far worse than the tiny wrong (sometimes quite unconscious) that provoked it. A mote means in the Greek a little splinter, whereas a beam means a rafter. And the Lord Jesus means by this comparison to tell us that our unloving reaction to the other’s wrong is what a great rafter is to a little splinter! (pg. 81).

Jesus has allowed a fault of another to touch our sensitivities: we are offended, our hurt is real or imagined, and we long for some type of justice. We want the offender corrected, but as Hession stated, our reaction, in many instances, is many times worse than the original offence. God by his sovereignty is exposing a flesh pattern in my life: playing the martyr, sorrow for the victim, and pity for the wounded.

It is some fault which we fancy we can discern in him; it may be an act he has done against us, or some attitude he adopts towards us. But what did the Lord Jesus mean by the beam in our eye? I suggest that the beam in our eye is simply our unloving reaction to the other man’s mote. Without doubt there is a wrong in the other person. But our reaction to that wrong is wrong too! The mote in him has provoked in us resentment, or coldness, or criticism, or bitterness, or evil speaking, or ill will – all of them variants of the basic ill, unlove. And that, says the Lord Jesus, is far, far worse than the tiny wrong (sometimes quite unconscious) that provoked it (pg. 83).

So, what exactly is the plank in our eye?

The first beginning of a resentment is a beam, as is also the first flicker of an unkind thought, or the first suggestion of unloving criticism. Where that is so, it only distorts our vision and we shall never see our brother as he really is, beloved of God. If we speak to our brother with that in our hearts, it will only provoke him to adopt the same hard attitude to us . . . (pg. 84).

To help our brother or sister in Christ, we must first go the Cross with our offense and find the peace of Christ concerning that offense.

Very often bystanders will tell us, and sometimes our own hearts, that the sin we are confessing is not nearly so bad as the other’s wrong, which he is not yet confessing. But we have been to Calvary, indeed we are learning to live under the shadow of Calvary, and we have seen our sin there and we can no longer compare our sin with another’s (pg. 85).

We gain freedom from sin by taking our attitude to the Cross and then we gain a friend who now knows that we care about their needs and blind spots. Notice, the text does NOT say notice your faults and give up on correcting and confronting your brother or sister. The text does say, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt 7:5 ESV). After God deals with us, then we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to help others with their spiritual lives. The offenders will now be able to receive the correction that the Lord has been longing to give him or her, but God could not confront because of our bad attitude.

He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored (Prov 13:18 NIV).

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself (Gal 6:1-2 NLT).

My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins (James 5:19-20 NLT).

The Only Way Out

Posted by on 07 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Brokenness, Oswald Chambers, Repentance, Roy Hession

family

Revival in the Home (Chapter Six)

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor 5:14-15 NIV).

As we continue walk down The Calvary Road with Roy Hession, chapter six takes us on the way home. Hession reminds us that holiness begins with how we treat our closest family members.

How different is the experience of so many of us professing Christians in our homes – little irritations, frayed tempers, selfishness and resentments; and even where there is nothing very definitely wrong between us, just not that complete oneness and fellowship that ought to characterize Christians living together. All the things that come between us and others, come between us and God and spoil our fellowship with Him, so that our hearts are not overflowing with the divine life (pg. 71).

We can walk in the Spirit with people we don’t know, but we struggle with impatience, anger, bitterness, and even revenge with family members. Dependence on the Holy Spirit is needed in even greater measure for our fuses are shorter at home, our frustrations are greater at home, and our memories of hurt are deeper at home.

How do we stand up to those tests in our homes? So often we act in the very opposite way. We are often impatient with one another and even unkind in the way we answer back or react. How much envy, too, there can be in a home. A husband and wife can envy the other their gifts, even their spiritual progress. Parents may be envious of their children, and how often is there not bitter envy between brothers and sisters. Also “not behaving unseemly,” that is, courtesy, what about that? Courtesy is just love in little things, but it is in the little things that we trip up. We think we can “let up” at home (pg. 74).

God uses our home lives as a place of discipline to correct the weaknesses of character and selfishness of heart that outsiders cannot see (Heb. 12:7-11). Oswald Chambers reminds us that life away from home is always easier. That insight could expand why on some occasions, we avoid our families.

We sing, “There’s no place like home,” but the author of that song was far away from home when he wrote it. The description the Bible gives of home is that it is a place of discipline. Naturally we do not like what God makes; we prefer our friends to our God-made relations. We are undressed morally in our home life and are apt to be meaner there than anywhere else. If we have been captious and mean with our relations, we will always exhibit that spirit until we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. That is why it is easier to go somewhere else, much easier often to go as a missionary than to stay at home. God alters the thing that matters.

[Oswald Chambers, The Highest Good : Containing Also The Pilgrims Song Book and The Great Redemption (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996), 10.]

Personal revival begins here: my repentance must be quick, my forgiveness must be greater, and my love must be fuller. My family must be and should be the first testimony of my renewed life in Christ. Revival is the life of Christ filling us and flowing through us (pg. 70). The only way out of this vicious pattern of hurt, anger and resentment is by depending on Christ to be himself in us. Call sin, “sin,” repent to family members, forgive quickly past offences, and love with the love of Christ: these godly choices bring renewal to families severed by hurt, envy, and jealousy.

As we bow the neck at the Cross, His self-forgetful love for the others, His long-suffering and forbearance flow into our hearts. The precious Blood cleanses us from the unlove and ill-will and the Holy Spirit fills us with the very nature of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 13 is nothing less than the nature of Jesus, and it is all gift to us, for His nature is ours, if He is ours. This blessed process can happen every single time the beginnings of sin and unlove creep in, for the cleansing fountain of Blood is available to us all the time (pg. 76).

We must yield up our wills, rights, desires, and self-images to Christ. Brokenness is needed. Brokenness is a heart yielded to God; ready and willing to obey the Holy Spirit whenever and wherever He directs. God will direct us to lay down our lives for our families. We can go to Africa and lay down our lives for complete strangers, but can we yield our rights at home? Are we willing and ready to forgive our biological biological brothers and sisters right here at home? Going to Christ together as families for forgiveness will unite our families and bring God’s blessing.

But God will surely answer our prayer and bring the other to Calvary too. There we shall be one; there the middle wall of partition between us will be broken down; there we shall be able to walk in the light, in true transparency, with Jesus and with one another, loving each other with a pure heart fervently. Sin is almost the only thing we have in common with everyone else, and so at the feet of Jesus where sin is cleansed is the only place where we can be one. Real oneness conjures up for us the picture of two or more sinners together at Calvary (pg. 78).

The only way out for families struggling with disunity and resentment is knelling together before the Cross.

Prayer: Lord, come by your Holy Spirit and work in our hearts. May our Christian lives be as evident in our homes as our Christian committment is apparent to outsiders.

The Dove and the Lamb

Posted by on 31 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Abiding in Christ, Roy Hession, Sanctification

baptismsqtile

The Humility of God (Chapter Five)

Over the last several weeks, we have been blogging through The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. So far, we have learned that revival is personal heart change: confession, repentance, joy, Spirit-baptism, and gospel-driven evangelism (preface). Revival is the restoration of God’s glory in his church. Revival is the manifested presence of the kingdom of God in and among his people actively bringing the lost to salvation and the lukewarm to renewed passionate devotion in Christ. The key: revival starts with me (Isa. 57:15 KJV; Hab. 3:2 KJV). I don’t wait for this big move of God–I get right with God now.

In chapter one,  Christian growth is defined as the Holy Spirit working through people, circumstances, and the Word of God to address self-centeredness still resident in my life. Chapter two reminds us that it’s the little sins that steal our joy. These “little foxes” keep us from enjoying the constant, conscious presence of Christ. Then in chapter three, Hession examines our need for transparency in relationships. If we want to experience on-going personal revival, we should be, as much as it depends on us, in right relationship with our family and friends. In all our struggles, failures, and lapses in holiness, we must go to the Cross for forgiveness of sin, cleansing from sin, renewal in grace, and power for victory. Chapter four points out that daily choices matter: these choices are the difference between sinning and abiding in Christ (John 15:5).

Today begins a reflection from chapter five: the Dove, the Holy Spirit, rested upon the Lamb, Jesus Christ, at his water baptism (Matt. 3:13-17). The Dove speaks of peace and the Lamb is a picture of total submission. When the Dove honors the Lamb, you and I see with our eyes that “the heart of Deity is humility” (pg. 58).

The main lesson of this incident is that the Holy Spirit, as the Dove, could only come upon and remain upon the Lord Jesus because He was the Lamb. Had the Lord Jesus had any other disposition than that of the Lamb – humility, submissiveness and self-surrender – the Dove could never have rested on Him. Being herself so gentle, she would have been frightened away had not Jesus been meek and lowly in heart (pg. 58).

Humility is seeing me as God sees me: dark yet lovely (S.S. 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 me (1 Peter 5:5). [Tim Keller, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Leader’s Guide (New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 159.]

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.

If God in his essence is humility then we are called to a life of yieldedness and brokenness to his will.

Here, then, we have pictured for us the condition upon which the same Holy Spirit can come upon us and abide upon us. The Dove can only abide upon us as we are willing to be as the Lamb. How impossible that He should rest upon us while self is unbroken! The manifestations of the unbroken self are the direct opposite of the gentleness of the Dove. Read again in Galatians 5, the nine fold fruit of the Spirit (“love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self control”) with which the Dove longs to fill us! Then contrast it with the ugly works of the flesh (the N.T. name for the unbroken self) in the same chapter. It is the contrast of the snarling wolf with the gentle dove! (pg.59).

Being continuously filled with the Holy Spirit (Dove) means that the blood of Christ has cleansed us. We are abiding in Christ (Lamb) in brokenness and yieldedness to his will. The result of a humble heart is a life that enjoys God’s constant peace, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isa 26:3 KJV). “The sign of the Spirit’s presence and fullness will be peace” (pg. 66).

Peace is a rest and repose of the heart that knocks out all disturbing and disruptive forces, which would steal our fulfillment in Christ. This peace pervades my being when I hold steady trusting the faithfulness of the Father. I receive Christ’s peace for he is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) into the deepest recesses of my spirit. I have peace with God through faith in his shed blood (Rom. 5:1), which establishes peace with others (Eph. 2:14), while freeing me to trust his peace (Isa. 26:3), and as a result, I can now walk in peace in the midst of my greatest needs (Phil. 4:7).

Lord, let us be people of peace both inwardly and outwardly. Let our lives reflect the humble God that you are and always will be. Father, Son and Holy Spirit in us, we pray.

Daily Choices that Matter

Posted by on 20 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Exchanged Life, God's Grace, Jerry Bridges, Roy Hession, Sanctification

The Daily Choice: Reacting or Responding (Chapter Four)

We continue our study of Roy Hession’s classic work on personal revival, The Calvary Road by examining a major theme found in chapter four: choices. In order to enjoy the constant, conscious loving presence of our Savior, I must make moment-by-moment choices to trust him. Trusting the Lord means laying down my life, my pride, my selfishness, and trusting his goodness, his wisdom, and his sovereign purposes (Phil.1:27-30). I choose to trust my Lord with people and their attitudes, circumstances and their disruptions, and situations and their disappointments (Heb. 11:6).

Holiness consists of daily yielding to God my experiences of the Fallout of the Fall: sinning people, selfish actions, broken things, and disrupted plans (Phil. 3:7-8). The issue of holiness is not what people do to me, but how I respond to their fallenness (Heb. 12:14-15). My choice: respond by thanking the Lord for difficult people and situations or react with burning anger toward God and others over my frustrating circumstances.

Amy Carmichael says that nothing anyone can do to us can injure us unless we allow it to cause a wrong reaction in our spirits. Only our reaction can bless or burn.

Paul Billheimer, Mystery of God’s Providence (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1983), 15.

Hession emphasizes that God sovereignly uses people’s faults to challenge our own unbrokenness. My pride, stubbornness, and selfishness are revealed when I feel slighted and overlooked. Do I get angry when I am not praised? Do I get easily offended when people do not do what I want? Do I harbor ill feelings when others do not recognize my efforts?

Do not let us imagine that we have to be broken only once as we go through the door. Ever after, it will be a constant choice before us. God brings His pressure to bear on us, but we have to make the choice. If someone hurts and slights us, we immediately have the choice of accepting the slight as a means of grace to humble us lower or we can resist it and stiffen our necks again with all the disturbance of spirit that that is bound to bring. Right the way through the day our brokenness will be tested, and it is no use our pretending we are broken before God if we are not broken in our attitude to those around us. God nearly always tests us through other people. There are no second causes for the Christian. God’s will is made known in His providence, and His providences are so often others with their many demands on us. If you find yourself in a patch of unbrokenness, the only way is to go afresh to Calvary and see Christ broken for you and you will come away willing to be broken for Him (Hession, The Calvary Road, pg. 49).

Emotionally reacting to my circumstances resists and rejects God’s working in the midst of my disappointment. My reacting leads to anger deepening into a bitter and unteachable spirit. My frustration and impatience expresses disbelief in God’s sovereign working in my daily affairs.

It is almost terrible to live with these thoughts pressing on one’s heart – that one can never speak a word, never transact a piece of business, that one’s face is never seen lighted up with the radiance of God, or clouded and despondent, without it being harder or easier for other men to live a good life. Every one of us, every day, resembles Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made other men sin; or we are lifting other men into the light, and peace, and joy of God. No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; but the life of every one is telling upon an increasing number of mankind. What a solemn responsibility it is to live!

F. B. Meyer, Devotional Commentary on Philippians (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1979), 116.

Responding is trust. I believe that my Heavenly Father has a divine appointment in my various trials and tribulations. I counter my flesh and believe God’s goodness by trusting his sovereign hand in the baffling and trying times. I may not understand “why,” but I choose to trust God, my Heavenly Father, who is good, loving, and gracious. I believe that my Lord has my best in mind and he is not rejecting me by allowing difficulties. Responding comes forth from a thankful heart drawing me into the Holy Spirit’s wellspring of grace. Responding says “yes” to God in my daily circumstances and looks for opportunities to grow in my intimate love relationship with Christ (James 4:6).

We must see our circumstances through God’s love instead of, as we are prone to do, seeing God’s love through our circumstances.

Jerry Bridges, Christian Quote of the Day website, daily email, May 21, 2005.

It is God’s grace that enables us to make righteous choices throughout the day (2 Cor. 12:9-10, Titus 2:11-14). Sanctifying grace is Jesus being the desire, ability, and power in me to respond to every life situation according to the will of God. Jesus is my desire for he works in me a hunger for holiness. Jesus is my ability for he enables me to make godly decisions and choices. Jesus is my power for he strengthens me to overcome the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil. Grace is the person, Jesus, living his life in and through me empowering me to live a righteous and holy life.

DeVern Fromke, Life’s Ultimate Privilege (Cloverdale, Ind.: Sure Foundation, 1986), 118.

My daily choices matter –my choices are the difference between abiding and sinning.

First Commandment People

Posted by on 15 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: God's Love, My Sermons, Roy Hession, Sanctification, The Cross

First Commandment People

Matt 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28

Cn. Glenn E. Davis

First Sunday after Epiphany:

The Baptism of Jesus

January 10, 2009

Illustration: The Movie, “Field of Dreams”:

Ray: You guys are guests in my corn.

I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to do.

I didn’t understand, but I’ve done it.

I haven’t once asked what’s in it for me.

Shoeless Joe: So, what are you saying?

Ray: I’m saying, “What’s in it for me?”

Shoeless Joe: Is that why you did this? For you? I think you’d better stay here, Ray

Point: No matter what kind of sacrifices Ray made, he was continually thinking about himself. Self-centeredness is not love. Love is yielding my rights, privileges, and needs for the sake of God and others (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

Divine Purpose: The Goal of our lives;

We were created by a passionate God to be a passionate people and are heart-fulfilled only when we passionately love and pursue the passionate God. John 4:23.

Divine Call: The conviction that drives our choices;

Love is the passionate unselfish choice for the highest good of God and others without concern for reward or recognition.

Who would forsake the One they follow if they were bound by chains of love? These chains set free and don’t bind (1 Cor. 13; Matt. 22:34-40).

[Ambrose, “Your Portion,” Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), 272.]

Love is NOT simply an emotional warm and fuzzy feeling, but rather the selfless, passionate giving of oneself to God and his commands. Love desires God’s will and cannot imagine living any other way.

Love is NOT niceness: smiling a lot and never hinting that something or someone is wrong.

Love is NOT sentimentality: warm, fuzzy feelings that are supportive of any, all, and every behavior.

Love is NOT mere sexuality; it does not demand immoral behavior.

Love is NOT turning a blind eye.

Love IS obedience to God’s commands.

Love IS hard choices and saying “no” with strong warning.

Love IS calling sin, “sin.”

Love IS selfless, forgiving, unoffending, and serving.

God IS love.

Matthew Chapter Twenty-Three

Verse 34) Love IS not about competition and pride.

Verse 35) Love IS not about “being right.”

Verse 37) Love IS giving oneself passionately and totally to God. Love deliberately prefers God’s commands to our own desires and wants. Nothing less than giving your entire being in love, devotion, obedience and service to the God of Israel.

“Mind, soul, and body” is Jesus way of saying that the entire person is to be sold out to God.

Jesus is quoting the Shema (Mark 12:29-30; Deut. 6:4-5), verses that are recited twice a day by every dedicated first-century Jew. Often by stating the obvious, a speaker is quite profound. In this verse, Jesus reminds the Jews that the essential quality of a relationship with the God is love. The Shema is repeated all day, but its meaning could be forgotten. Jesus points out the obvious-a relationship with God is just that-a relationship.

Verse 39) Love IS about others. Love assists others in their passionate pursuit of God by helping them adjust their lives to God’s plan and purposes. Love is fulfilled when others reap God’s blessing with my assistance.

We already love ourselves-we make sure we have food, shelter, clothing, nurturing relationships, etc. Now, Jesus calls on us to do the same for others.

Love for others . . .

1. Concrete responsibly to care for others needs (James 2:14-17).

2. Putting others first by NOT thinking first and only about “what you are going to get out of it.” (Illustration: Field of Dreams).

3. We naturally already love “ourselves.” Don’t wait for inner healing to love others.

Illustration: As a pastor, I have heard expressed many times, “I love Christ, but I can’t stand people,” or” I love Christ, but I don’t care for his Church.” However, it is not possible to claim that you love Jesus without being in love with his people. First John teaches that my relationships with people reflect my relationship with God (1 John 2:9; 3:14-15; 4:20).

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1John 4:20, ESV).

You love Jesus, in turn, Jesus is in love with people, therefore, you will love people since you love Jesus (1 John 4:10-11).

Everything that comes as a barrier between us another, be it never so small, comes as a barrier between us and God. We have found that where these barriers are not put right immediately, they get thicker and thicker until we find ourselves shut off from God and our brother by what seem to be veritable brick walls. Quite obviously, if we allow New Life to come to us, it will have to manifest itself by a walk of oneness with God and our brother, with nothing between (Roy Hession, The Calvary Road, pg. 36).

Verse 40) Love IS the essence of a relationship with God and the heart of his commands. Loving God and others brings life.

Luke 10:25-28, “Do this and you will live.”

Definition: Eternal life is life and life more abundantly-it is being alive in the realm where God lives. Life is walking with God in unending communion, enjoying his unlimited blessing, experiencing his unconditional love, and receiving his undeserved grace.

Conclusion: We are called to be a first commandment people: we are not fulfilled unless we passionately love our passionate God and serve a passion-driven people. Be passionately in love with your passionate God as you transform your passions into love for others.

We are passionately in love with God because God’s passionate love for us was displayed on the Cross. God’s passionate, transformative love changed our hearts from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God’s love enables us to love others with his passionate love. First commandment people have their priorities in order: they have fallen in love with God and they love what he loves-people.

Abiding in Christ Means Being Right with Our Brother/Sister

Posted by on 08 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Abiding in Christ, Repentance, Roy Hession, Sanctification, Surrender


Personal Revival Means Right Relationships with People (Chapter Three)

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7 NLT)

In Chapter Three of The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, Hession examines my need for transparency in relationships. If I want to experience on-going personal revival, I need to be in right relationship with my family and friends. Remember that personal revival is heart change: confession, repentance, joy, Spirit-baptism, and gospel-driven evangelism. If my heart is really different then the way that I treat people will be different too.

As the spokes get nearer the center of the wheel, they get nearer to one another. But if we have not been brought into vital fellowship with our brother, it is a proof that to that extent we have not been brought into vital fellowship with God (pg.36).

As a pastor, I have heard expressed many times, “I love Christ, but I can’t stand people,” or ” I love Christ, but I don’t care for his Church.” However, it’s not possible to claim that you love Jesus without being in love with his people. First John teaches that my relationships with people reflect my relationship with God (1 John 2:9; 3:14-15; 4:20).

Everything that comes as a barrier between us and another, be it never so small, comes as a barrier between us and God. We have found that where these barriers are not put right immediately, they get thicker and thicker until we find ourselves shut off from God and our brother by what seem to be veritable brick walls. Quite obviously, if we allow New Life to come to us, it will have to manifest itself by a walk of oneness with God and our brother, with nothing between (pg. 36).

First John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another . . . .” As Hession states, “Light reveals, darkness hides.” Darkness is sin, it is hiding my true self. It is hypocrisy–my hypocrisy–I act one way toward others, but inside I am faking it. Sin is there, but I pretend to be righteous. “So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth” (1 John 1:6 NLT).

Sin made our first parents hide behind the trees of the garden and it has had the same effect on us ever since. Sin always involves us in being unreal, pretending, duplicity, window dressing, excusing ourselves and blaming others – and we can do all that as much by our silence as by saying or doing something. This is what the previous verse calls “walking in darkness” (1 John 1:6). With some of us, the sin in question may be nothing more than self-consciousness (anything with “I” in it is sin) and the hiding, nothing more than an assumed heartiness to cover that self-consciousness; but it is walking in darkness none the less.

However, there is freedom from personal hypocrisy, freedom to treat others with sincerity and truth, and freedom to love people as Christ loves them. In the most precious words of First John 1:7, ” . . . the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin” (1 John 1:7 KJV). At the Cross, I find-and you find–the forgiveness of sin, the guilt of sin removed, and the power of the Holy Spirit in victory over sin.

Everything that the light of God shows up as sin, we can confess and carry to the Fountain of Blood and it is gone, gone from God’s sight and gone from our hearts. By the power of the precious Blood we can be made more stainless than the driven snow; and thus continually abiding in the light and cleansed by the Blood, we have fellowship with God (pg.39).

At the foot of the Cross, my cleansing from sin is not just about me, but my cleansing is also about others.

In 1 John 1:7, of course, the purpose of “walking in the light” is that we might “have fellowship one with another.” And what fellowship it is when we walk this way together! Obviously, love will flow from one to another, when each is prepared to be known as the repentant sinner he is at the Cross of Jesus. When the barriers are down and the masks are off, God has a chance of making us really one. But there is also the added joy of knowing that in such a fellowship we are “safe” (pg.42).

Lord, I pray that on our journey toward personal revival, you would convict us of our wrongful attitudes and actions toward others. I pray that you would cleanse us, renew us, and restore us. I pray that the newness of life that you generating in us will be seen by others as the work of your gracious grace. Amen.

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