THE OPENED SIGHT (January 10)
“I now send you, to open their eyes… that they may receive forgiveness of sins” Acts 26:17-18
This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple of Jesus Christ in all of the New Testament.
God’s first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, “…that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received forgiveness from Jesus Christ.
Our job as workers for God is to open people’s eyes so that they may turn themselves from darkness to light. But that is not salvation; it is conversion - only the effort of an awakened human being. I do not think it is too broad a statement to say that the majority of so-called Christians are like this. Their eyes are open, but they have received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is a neglected fact in our preaching today. When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People may make vows and promises, and may be determined to follow through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, forgiveness of sins.
This is followed by God’s second mighty work of grace: “…an inheritance among those who are sanctified...” In sanctification, the one who has been born again deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God’s ministry to others.
HIS RESURRECTION DESTINY (April 8)
“Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Luke 24:26
Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself.
Christ’s resurrection destiny – His foreordained purpose – was to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We never have exactly the same relationship to God that the Son of God has, but we are brought by the Son into the relationship of the Sonship. When our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolute new life—a life He had never lived before was God’s incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life”. Romans 6:4. Paul’s determined purpose was stated like this: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” Philippians 3:10.
Jesus prayed, “As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” John 17:2. The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the deity of God who continues to apply the power of the atonement of Christ to our lives. Thank God for the glorious and majestic truth that His Spirit can work the very nature of Jesus into us, if we will only obey Him.
READINESS (April 18)
“God called to him . . .And he said, ‘Here I am.’” Exodus 3:4
When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was, and he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship with God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go, yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task we are there, but we are not ready for some menial duty.
Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing. It makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God’s voice as our Lord heard His Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with the total readiness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us just as His Father did with Him. He can put us wherever He wants, in important duties or in menial ones, because our union with Him is the same as His union with the Father. ”That they may be one just as We are one.” John 17: 22. Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready. He is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called! The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the person who is ready, and it is on fire with the presence of God Himself.
HAVE YOU COME TO “WHEN” YET? (June 20)
“The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” Job 42:10
A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am revealing against the atonement of Christ. I pray, “Lord I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer – I will walk rightly before You If You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift.
Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life in the priestly work of intercession. There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not beginning to save us - He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.
If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29) and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends -- enter into the ministry of the inner life. “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place in you, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those which whom you come in contact now.