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These words indicate the turning point in the life of Peter, a crisis. There is often a question about the life of holiness. Do you grow into it? or do you come into it be a crisis suddenly? Peter has been growing for three years under the training of Christ, but he had grown terribly downward, for the end of his growing was, he denied Jesus. And then there came a crisis. After the crisis, he was a changed man, and then he began to grow aright. We must indeed grow in grace, but before we can grow in grace we must be put right.
You know what the two halves of the life of Peter were. In God’s Word, we read very often about the difference between the carnal and the spiritual Christian. The word “carnal” comes from the Latin word for flesh. In Romans 8, and in Galatians 5, we are taught that the flesh and the Spirit of God are the two opposing powers by which we are dominated or ruled, and we are taught that a true believer may allow himself to be ruled by the flesh. That is what Paul writes to the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, he says, four times to them, “You are carnal, and not spiritual.” And just so a believer can allow the flesh to have so much power over him that becomes “carnal.” Every object is named according to its most prominent characteristic. If a man is a babe in Christ and has a little of the Holy Spirit by way of a deeper study of God’s Word and a great deal of the flesh, he is called carnal, for the flesh is his chief mark. If he gives way, as the Corinthians did, to strife, temper, division, and envy, he is a carnal Christian. He is a Christian, but a carnal one. But if he gives himself over entirely to the Holy Spirit so that He (the Holy Spirit) can deliver from the temper, the envy, and the strife, by breathing a heavenly disposition; and can mortify the deeds of the body; then God’s Word calls him a “spiritual” man, a true spiritual Christian.
Now, these two styles are remarkably illustrated in the life of Peter. The text is the crisis and turning point at which he begins to pass over from one side to the other.
The message that I want to bring to you is this: That the great majority of Christians, alas, are not spiritual men, and that they may become spiritual men by the grace of God. I want to come to all who are perhaps hungering and longing for the better life, and asking what is wrong that you are without it, to point out that what is wrong is just one thing, allowing the flesh to rule in you, and trusting in the power of the flesh to make you good.
There is a better life, a life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
John 14:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells [meno] with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever; 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him or know him, but you know him because he remains [meno] with you and will be in you.
Do we not find it a bit disconcerting that, all along when looking at John’s writings as to the Son and the Father abiding [meno] in one another, in us, and us in them. In those places, the translation rendered meno as abiding, but now that the Holy Spirit is mentioned, they render meno as “dwell.”
Do these verses call for us to; drive off the path of reason, into the realms of mysteriousness and mysticism talk? No, these verses are very similar to our 1 John 2:24 that we dealt with above but will quote again, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide [meno] in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides [meno] in you, then you too will abide [meno] in the Son and in the Father.” In 1 John 2:24, we are told that if the Word of God that we heard from the beginning of being a Christian, abides [meno] in us, we will abide [meno] in the Son and the Father. In John 14:15-17, if we keep Jesus’ commands, the Holy Spirit will dwell, actually abide [meno] in us. In all of this, the common denominator has been the spirit inspired, fully inerrant Word of God. It is what we are to take into our mind and heart, which will affect change in our person, and enable us to abide or remain in the Father and the Son, and they in us, as well as the Holy Spirit, abiding or remaining in us.
The Holy Spirit, through the Spirit-inspired, inerrant Word of God is the motivating factor for our taking off the old person and putting on the new person. (Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:8-9) It is also the tool used by God so that we can “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may approve what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2; See 8:9) The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament compares this line of thinking with Paul’s reference, at Romans 7:20, to the “sin that dwells within me.”
The dwelling of sin in man denotes its dominion over him, its lasting connection with his flesh, and yet also a certain distinction from it. The sin which dwells in me (ἡ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία) is no passing guest, but by its continuous presence becomes the master of the house (cf. Str.-B., III, 239). Paul can speak in just the same way, however, of the lordship of the Spirit. The community knows (οὐκ οἴδατε, a reference to catechetical instruction, 1 C. 3:16) that the Spirit of God dwells in the new man (ἐν ὑμῖν οἰκεῖ, 1 C. 3:16; R. 8:9, 11). This “dwelling” is more than ecstatic rapture or impulsion by a superior power.
 Str.-B. H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum NT aus Talmud und Midrasch, 1922 ff.
 Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 135
How does the Holy Spirit control a Christian? Certainly, some mysterious or mystical feeling does not control him.
Paul told the Christians in Rome,
Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Just how do we renew our mind? This is done by taking in an accurate knowledge of Biblical truth, which enables us to meet God’s current standards of righteousness. (Titus 1:1) This Bible knowledge, if applied, will allow us to move our mind in a different direction, by filling the void, after having removed our former sinful practices, with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, especially ones that guide moral behavior.
Psalm 119:105 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
The Biblical truths that lay in between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 will transform our way of thinking, which will in return affect our mood and actions and our inner person. It will be as the apostle Paul said to the Ephesians. We need to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness …” (Eph. 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way, for our best interest is internal.
Paul told the Christians in Colossae,
Colossians 3:9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man [old person] with its practices 10 and have put on the new man [new person] who is being renewed through accurate knowledge [Gr. epignosis] according to the image of the one who created him, 11 where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Science has indeed taken us a long way in our understanding of how the mind works, but it is only a grain of sand on the beach of sand in comparison to what we do not know. We have enough of these basics to understand some fundamental processes. When we open our eyes to the light of a new morning, it is altered into an electrical charge by the time it arrives at the gray matter of our brain’s cerebral cortex. As the sound of the morning birds reaches our gray matter, it comes as electrical impulses. The rest of our senses (smell, taste, and touch) arrive as electrical currents in the brain’s cortex as well. The white matter of our brain lies within the cortex of gray matter, used as a tool to send electrical messages to other cells in other parts of the gray matter. Thus, when any one of our five senses detects danger, at the speed of light, a message is sent to the motor section, to prepare us for the needed action of either fight or flight.
Here lies the key to altering our way of thinking. Every single thought, whether it is conscious or subconscious makes an electrical path through the white matter of our brain, with a record of the thought and event. This holds true for our actions as well. If it is a repeated way of thinking or acting, it has no need to form a new path; it only digs a deeper, ingrained, established path.
This would explain how a factory worker who has been on the job for some time, gives little thought as he performs his repetitive functions each day; it becomes unthinking, automatic, mechanical. These repeated actions become habitual. There is yet another facet to be considered; the habits, repeated thoughts, and actions become simple and effortless to repeat. Any new thoughts and actions are harder to perform, as there need to be new pathways opened up.
The human baby starts with a blank slate, with a minimal amount of stable paths built in to survive those first few crucial years. As the boy grows into childhood, there is a flood of pathways established, more than all of the internet connections worldwide.
Our five senses are continuously adding to the maze. Ps. 139:14: “I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . .” (NASB) So, it could never be overstated as to the importance of the foundational thinking and behavior that should be established in our children from infancy forward.
Paul told the Christians in Ephesus,
Ephesians 4:20-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard him and have been taught in him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that you take off, according to your former way of life, the old man, who is being destroyed according to deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new man, the one created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and loyalty of the truth.
 An interpretive translation would have, “put on the new person,” because it does mean male or female.
How are we to understand being renewed in the spirit of our minds? Christian living is carried out through the study and application of God’s Word, in which, our spirit (mental disposition), is in harmony with God’s Spirit. Our day-to-day decisions are made with a biblical mind, a biblically guided conscience, and a heart that is motivated by love of God and neighbor. Because we have,
- Received the Word of God,
- treasured up the Word of God,
- have been attentive to the Word of God,
- inclining our heart to understand the Word of God,
- calling out for insight into the Word of God,
- raising our voice for an understanding of the Word of God,
- sought the Word of God like silver,
- have searched for the Word of God like gold,
- we have come to understand the fear of God, and have
- found the very knowledge of God, which now
- leads and directs us daily in our Christian walk.
Proverbs 23:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. [Our thinking affects our emotions, which in turn affects our behavior.]
Irrational thinking produces irrational feelings, which will produce wrong moods, leading to wrong behavior. It may be difficult for each of us to wrap our mind around it, but we are very good at telling ourselves outright lies and half-truths, repeatedly throughout each day. In fact, some of us are so good at it that it has become our reality and leads to mental distress and bad behaviors.
When we couple our leaning toward wrongdoing with the fact that Satan the devil, who is “the god of this world,” (2 Co 4:4) has worked to entice these leanings, the desires of the fallen flesh; we are even further removed from our relationship with our loving heavenly Father. During these ‘last days, grievous times’ has fallen on us as Satan is working all the more to prevent God’s once perfect creation to achieve a righteous standing with God and entertaining the hope of eternal life. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
When we enter the pathway of walking with our God, we will certainly come across resistance from three different areas (Our sinful nature, Satan and demons, and the world that caters to our flesh). Our greatest obstacle is ourselves because we have inherited imperfection from our first parents Adam and Eve. The Scriptures make it quite clear that we are mentally bent toward bad, not good. (Gen 6:5; 8:21, AT) In other words, our natural desire is toward wrong. Prior to sinning, Adam and Eve were perfect, and they had the natural desire of doing good, and to go against that was to go against the grain of their inner person. Scripture also tells us of our inner person, our heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 The heart is more deceitful than all else,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Jeremiah’s words should serve as a wake-up call, if we are to be pleasing in the eyes of our heavenly Father, we must focus on our inner person. Maybe we have been a Christian for many years; maybe we have a deep knowledge of Scripture, perhaps we feel that we are spiritually strong, and nothing will stumble us. Nevertheless, our heart can be enticed by secret desires, where he fails to dismiss them; he eventually commits a serious sin.
Our conscious thinking (aware) and subconscious thinking (present in our mind without our being aware of it) originates in the mind. For good, or for bad, our mind follows certain rules of action, which if entertained one will move even further in that direction until they are eventually consumed for good or for bad. In our imperfect state, our bent thinking will lean toward wrong, especially with Satan using his world, with so many forms of entertainment that simply feeds the flesh.
James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire [Or “own lust”] 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
1 John 2:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Matthew 5:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
 ἐπιθυμία [Epithumia] to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong–‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’– GELNTBSD
1 Peter 1:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 As children of obedience, do not be conformed according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance,
 I.e., obedient children
If we do not want to be affected by the world of humankind around us, which is alienated from God, we must again consider the words of the Apostle Paul’s. He writes (Rom 12:2) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Just how do we do that? This is done by taking in an accurate knowledge of the Biblical truth, which enables us to meet God’s current standards of righteousness. (Titus 1:1) This Bible knowledge, if applied, will enable us to move our mind in a different direction, by filling the void with the principles of God’s Word, principles that guide our actions, especially ones that guide moral behavior.
Psalm 119:105 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
We have said this before but it bears repeating. The Biblical truths that lay in between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21 will transform our way of thinking, which will in return affect our mood and actions and our inner person. It will be as the apostle Paul set it out to the Ephesians. We need to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness …” (Eph. 4:22-24) This force that contributes to our acting or behaving in a certain way, for our best interest is internal.
Bringing This Transformation About
The mind is the mental ability that we use in a conscious way to garner information and to consider ideas and come to conclusions. Therefore, if we perceive our realities based on the information, which surrounds us, generally speaking, most are inundated in a world that reeks of Satan’s influence. This means that our perception, our attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct are in opposition to God and his Word. Most are in true ignorance of the changing power of God’s Word. The apostle Paul helps us to appreciate the depths of those who reflect this world’s disposition. He writes,
Ephesians 4:17-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles [unbelievers] also walk, in the futility of their mind [emptiness, idleness, sluggishness, vanity, foolishness, purposelessness], 18 being darkened in their understanding [mind being the center of human perception], alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart [hardening as if by calluses, unfeeling]; 19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to shameless conduct, for the practice of every uncleanness with greediness.
 Or “loose conduct,” “sensuality,” “licentiousness” “promiscuity” Greek, aselgeia. This phrase refers to acts of conduct that are serious sins. It reveals a shameless condescending arrogance; i.e., disregard or even disdain for authority, laws, and standards.
Hebrews 4:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
By taking in this knowledge of God’s Word, we will be altering our way of thinking, which will affect our emotions and behavior, as well as our lives now and for eternity. This Word will influence our minds, making corrections in the way we think. If we are to have the Holy Spirit controlling our lives, we must ‘renew our mind’ (Rom. 12:2) “which is being renewed in knowledge” (Col. 3:10) of God and his will and purposes. (Matt 7:21-23; See Pro 2:1-6) All of this boils down to each individual Christian digging into the Scriptures in a meditative way, so he can ‘discover the knowledge of God, receiving wisdom; from God’s mouth, as well as knowledge and understanding.’ (Pro. 2:5-6) As he acquires the mind that is inundated with the Word of God, he must also,
James 1:22-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
24 for he looks at himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what sort of man he was. 25 But he that looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, being no hearer who forgets but a doer of a work, he will be blessed in his doing.
 Lit the face of his birth
Then, I want to tell you the third thing. The first thing is important, take care of the carnal life, and confess if you are in it. The second truth is very blessed, there is a spiritual life; believe that it is a possibility. But the third truth is the most important, You can be one step get out of the carnal into the spiritual state. May God reveal it to you now through the story of the Apostle Peter!
Look at him, first of all, in the carnal state. What are the marks of the carnal state in him? Self-will, self-pleasing, self-confidence. Just remember, when Christ said to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “The Son of Man must be crucified,” Peter said to Him, “Lord, that can never be!” And Christ had to say to him, “Get thee behind Me, Satan!” Dear reader, what an awful thing for Peter! He could not understand what a suffering Christ was. And Peter was so self-willed and self-confident that he dared to contradict and to rebuke Christ! Just think of it! Then, you remember, how Peter and the other disciples, were more than once quarreling as to who was to be the chief, self-exaltation, self-pleasing; everyone wanted the chief seat in the Kingdom of God. Then again, remember the last night, when Christ warned Peter that Satan had desired to sift him and that he would deny Him; and Peter said twice over, “Lord, if they all deny Thee, I am ready to go to prison and to death.” What self-confidence! He was sure that his heart was right. He loved Jesus, but he trusted himself. “I will never deny my Lord.! Don’t you see the whole of that life of Peter is carnal confidence in himself. In his carnal pride, in his carnal unlovingness, in the carnal liberty he took in contradicting Jesus, it was all just the life of the flesh. Peter loved Jesus. God had by the Holy Spirit, taught him. Christ had said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” God had taught him that Christ was the Son of God; but with all that, Peter was just under the power of the flesh; and that is why Christ said at Gethsemane, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” “You are under the power of the flesh, you cannot watch with Me.” Dear reader, what did it all lead to? The flesh led not only to the sins I have mentioned, but last of all to the saddest of things, to Peter’s actual denial of Jesus. Three times over he told the lie; and once with an oath, “I know not the man.” He denied his blessed Lord. That is what it comes to with the life of the flesh. That is Peter.
Now, look in the second place at Peter after he became a spiritual man. Christ had taught Peter a great deal. I think, if you count carefully, you will find some seven or eight times, Christ had spoken to the disciples about humility; He had taken a little child and set him in the midst of them; He had said, “He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted; He had said that three or four times; He had at the last supper washed their feet, but all had not taught Peter humility. All Christ’s instructions were in vain. Remember that now. A man who is not spiritual, though he may read his Bible, though he may study God’s Word, cannot conquer sin, because he is not living the life of the Holy Spirit. God has so ordered it, that man cannot live a right Christian life unless he is full of the Holy Ghost. Do you wonder at what I say? Have you been accustomed to think, “Full of the Holy Ghost, that is what the Apostles had to be on the day of Pentecost; that is what the martyrs and the ministers had to be; but for every man to be full of the Holy Ghost, that is too high”? I tell you solemnly unless you believe that, you will never become thorough-going Christians. I must be full of the Holy Spirit if I am to be a wholehearted Christian.
Then, note what change took place in Peter. The Lord Jesus led him up to Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came from heaven upon him, and what took place? The old Peter was gone, and he was a new Peter. Just read his epistle, and note the keynote of the epistle. “Through suffering to glory.” Peter, who had said, “Of course, Lord, you never can suffer, or be crucified;” Peter, who, to save himself suffering or shame, had denied Christ, Peter becomes so changed that when he writes his epistle the chief thought is the very thought of Christ, “Suffering is the way to glory.” Do you not see that the Holy Spirit had changed Peter?
And look at other aspects. Look at Peter. He was so weak that a woman could frighten him into denying Christ; but when the Holy Spirit came he was bold, bold, bold to confess his Lord at any cost, was ready to go to prison and to death, for Christ’s sake. The Holy Spirit had changed the man. Look at his views of Divine truth. He could not understand what Christ taught him, he could not take it in. It was impossible before the death of Christ, but on the day of Pentecost how he is able to expound the word of God as a spiritual man! I tell you, beloved when the Holy Spirit comes upon a man he becomes a spiritual man, and instead of denying his Lord he denies himself, just remember that. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew when Peter had said, “Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall never happen that Thou shalt be crucified,” Christ said to Him: “Peter, not only will I be crucified, but you will have to be crucified too. If any man is to be My disciple, let him take up his cross to die upon it, let him deny himself, and let him follow Me.” How did Peter obey that command? He went and denied Jesus! As long as a man, a Christian, is under the power of the flesh, he is continually denying Jesus. You always must do one of the two, you must deny self or you must deny Jesus, and, alas, Peter denied his Lord rather than deny himself. On the other hand, when the Holy Spirit came upon him, he could not deny his Lord, but he could deny himself, and he praised God for the privilege of suffering for Christ.
Now, how did the change come about? The words of my text tell us, “And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” What does that mean? It means this, that the Lord led Peter to come to the end of himself, to see what was in his heart, and with his self-confidence to fall into the very deepest sin that a child of God could be guilty of; publicly, with an oath, to deny his Lord Jesus! When Peter stood there in that great sin, the loving Jesus looked upon him, and that look, full of loving reproach, loving pity, pierced like an arrow through the heart of Peter, and he went out and wept bitterly. Praise God, that was the end of self-confident Peter! Praise God, that was the turning point of his life! He went out with a shame that no tongue can express. He woke up as out of a dream to the terrible reality “I have helped to crucify the blessed Son of God.” No man can fathom what Peter must have passed through that Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning. But, blessed be God, on that Sunday Jesus revealed Himself to Peter, we know not how, but “He was seen of Simon;” then in the evening He came to him with the other disciples and breathed peace, and the Holy Spirit upon him; and then, later on, you know how the Lord asked him, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” three times, until Peter was sorrowful, and said, “Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” What was it that wrought the transition from the love of the flesh to the love of the Spirit? I tell you, that was the beginning, “Peter went out and wept bitterly,” with a broken heart, with a heart that would give anything to show its love to Jesus. With a heart that had learned to give up all self-confidence, Peter was prepared for the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
And, now, you can easily see the application of this story. Are there not many just living the life of Peter, of the self-confident Peter as he was? Are there not many who are mourning under the consciousness, “I am so unfaithful to my Lord, I have no power against the flesh, I cannot conquer my temper, I give way just like Peter to the fear of man, of company, for people can influence me and make me do things I do not want to do, and I have no power to resist them? Circumstances get the mastery over me, and I then say and do things that I am ashamed of.”? Is there not more than one, who, in answer to the question, “Are you living as a man filled with the Spirit, devoted to Jesus, following Him, fully giving up all for Him?” must say with sorrow, “God knows I am not. Alas, my heart knows it.”? You say it, and I come, and I press you with the question, Is not your position, and your character, and your conduct, just like that of Peter? Like Peter, you love Jesus, like Peter you know He is the Christ of God, like Peter you are very zealous in working for Him. Peter had cast out devils in His name, and had preached the gospel, and had healed the sick. Like Peter you have tried to work for Jesus; but, oh! under it all, isn’t there something that comes up continually? Oh, Christian, what is it? I pray, and I try, and I do long to live a holy life, but the flesh is too strong, and sin gets the better of me, and continually I am pleasing self instead of denying it, and denying Jesus instead of pleasing Him. Come, all who are willing to make that confession, and let me ask you to look quietly at the other life that is possible for you.
Just as the Lord Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to Peter, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to you. Are you willing to receive Him? Are you willing to give up yourself entirely as an empty, helpless vessel, to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, to live, to dwell, and to work in you every day? Dear believer, God has prepared such a beautiful and such a blessed life for every one of us, and God as a Father is waiting to see why you will not come to Him and let Him fill you with the Holy Ghost. Are you willing for it? I am sure some are. There are some who have said often, “O God, why can’t I live that life? Why can’t I live every hour of unbroken fellowship with God? Why can’t I enjoy what my Father has given me, all the riches of His grace? It is for me He gave it, and why can’t I enjoy it?” There are those who say, “Why can’t I abide in Christ every day, and every hour, and every moment? why can’t I have the light of my Father’s love filling my heart all the day long? Tell me, servant of God, what can help me?”
I can tell you one thing that will help you. What helped Peter? “Peter went out and wept bitterly.” It must come with us to a conviction of sin; it must come with us to a real downright earnest repentance, or we never can get into the better life. We must stop complaining and confessing, “Yes, my life is not what it should be, and I will try to do better.” That won’t help you. What will help you? This, that you go down in despair to lie at the feet of Jesus, and that you begin with a very real and bitter shame to make confession, “Lord Jesus, have compassion upon me! For these many years, I have been a Christian, but there are so many sins from which I have not cleansed myself, temper, pride, jealousy, envy, sharp words, unkind judgments, unforgiving thoughts.” One must say, “There is a friend whom I never have forgiven for what he has said.” Another must say, “There is an enemy whom I dislike, I cannot say that I can love him.” Another must say, “There are things in my business that I would not like brought out into the light of man.” Another must say, “I am led captive by the law of sin and death.” Oh, Christians, come and make confession with shame and say, “I have been bought with the Blood, I have been washed with the Blood, but just think of what a life I have been living! I am ashamed of it.” Bow before God and ask Him by the Holy Spirit to make you more deeply ashamed, and to work in you that Divine contrition. I pray you take the step at once. “Peter went out and wept bitterly,” and that was his salvation; yes, that was the turning point of his life. And shall we not fall upon our faces before God, and make confession, and get down on our knees under the burden of the terrible load, and say, “I know I am a believer, but I am not living as I should to the glory of my God. I am under the power of the flesh and all the self-confidence, and self-will, and self-pleasing that marks my life.”
Dear Christians, do you not long to be brought nigh unto God? Would you not give anything to walk in close fellowship with Jesus every day? Would you not count it a pearl of great price to have the light and love of God shining in you all the day? Oh, come and fall down and make confession of sin; and, if you will do it, Jesus will come and meet you and He will ask you, “Lovest thou Me?” And, if you say, “Yes, Lord,” very quickly He will ask again, “Lovest thou Me?” and if you say, “Yes, Lord,” again, He will ask a third time, “Lovest thou Me?” and your heart will be filled with an unutterable sadness, and your heart will get still more broken down and bruised by the question, and you will say, “Lord, I have not lived as I should, but still I love Thee and I give myself to Thee.” Oh, beloved may God give us grace now, that, with Peter, we may go out, and, if need be, weep bitterly. If we do not weep bitterly, we are not going to force tears, shall we not sigh very deeply, and bow very humbly, and cry very earnestly, “O God, reveal to me the carnal life in which I have been living: reveal to me what has been hindering me from having my life full of the Holy Ghost”? Shall we not cry, “Lord, break my heart into utter self-despair, and, oh! bring me in helplessness to wait for the Divine power, for the power of the Holy Ghost, to take possession and to fill me with a new life given all to Jesus?”
Andrews Murray and Edward D. Andrews
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