“I have very little confidence in man. My great desire has been to cast myself on the Word of God, that every judgment of my soul concerning all things may be right, by being, in all, the mind of God.” By Anthony Norris Groves, Father of Faith Missions, Echoes of Service, 2004, Page 292.
Does this remind you of Paul’s perspective on the Christian walk? “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh--” (Philippians 3:3).
This is one of the marks of a person walking and being led by the Spirit. These statements do not negate our love and appreciation for other believers. In fact, Peter tells us that Christ “purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22). This does not allow us to trust the flesh in anyone.
To have the mind of God in every matter requires us to depend on the authority of God’s Word for the basis of making every decision and governs every action and word. That was the point of Anthony Groves statement; “to cast myself on the Word of God.”
Make sure your confidence is in the Word of God, not man.
Two days ago, Worthy News reported that “at least 120 people have been killed in a series of alleged attacks by the Fulani militia on Christian communities in the Adara chiefdom of southern Kaduna in Nigeria since February.” In addition, 100 homes were destroyed last Monday.
Let’s keep praying for Nigeria. In the midst of the unrest, God is moving! Randy is traveling there today and will be in Nigeria from March 21st to April 5th. This trip should see the graduation of some wonderful leaders and introduction in new areas. I have given his itinerary below so you can pray for him – especially for God’s protection and effective, fruitful ministry in each place.
March 21-24: Travel from JFK to Abuja, Nigeria to Jos to Gombe. It takes two days by air and two days by land to reach the first training place in Nigeria.
March 25-28: EMS (Evangelical Missionary Society) training in God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) and God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC). EMS is in 19 different countries.
March 29: Travel to Bayara to meet with TTI (Theological Training Institute) about using GPHD & GPHC in training the new leaders in Africa.
March 30 – April 3: Complete training of GPHC in Jos, preach and minister in local churches. Pray for leaders who will take this into the 10/40 Window.
April 3 – 5: GPHD training in Kogon Bible School, among the very poor.
Thank you for standing with us through critical times like this!
For every person who wants to live for the honor and glory of God, is constantly confronted with sin, evil, and crooked roads and ways. Living for the Lord in this world is not easy. Every day we are faced with decisions between doing what is right in God’s eyes or compromising just a little to earn the respect of those around us.
David knew this tension, even though he lived in a very different world. Notice the deep desire of his heart in this verse: “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5). In making choices between what glorifies God and something that might be just a little ‘shady’ could not be made without God leading and teaching him how to make those fine distinctions.
David keeps pleading with God to prevent him from making choices that would dishonor God and misrepresent who He is: “Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!” (119:29).
The crooked roads and ways of the world might be easy to identify and stand against, but it is much more difficult to stand firm on biblical convictions when some in the church are the ones we must stand apart from and oppose. Paul refers to them as “false apostles” and “false brothers” (2 Corinthians 11:13, 26; Galatians 2:4). What we must remember in all these situations is that the Lord is our judge and He will evaluate how we honor Him and His Word. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).
Not many have a desire to learn, especially after twelve to sixteen years of formal schooling. The idea of learning on a continual basis is not our favorite thought. But if learning carries with it a personal relationship with the God and Creator of my mind and body, that should completely change my appetite and desire for learning and understanding. Here are a few verses from Job and David who realized the value of learning from God.
“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray” (Job 6:24).
“Make me to know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:4–5).
“Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart” (Psalm 51:6).
“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).
“Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments” (Psalm 119:66).
“Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (Psalm 143:10).
The heart of a learner is one that God will gladly teach in the relationship with Him. The relationship becomes more precious when we learn from Him. God then pours more understanding and grace into us as we learn.
Before I write on teaching of the Holy Spirit, we must realize that there are two types of people; those who want to be taught, and those who do not think they need to be taught. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:21). Jesus thanked His Father that He had “hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Matthew 11:25). There is an eagerness about most children to learn. They often ask the “Why” question. Do we ask more questions than we tell what we think we know?
Solomon wrote his proverbs to his son “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity” (Proverbs 1:2–3). David says that “The unfolding of Your [God’s] words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
In a natural way, learning brings power to achieve human ideas and goals. But when we are taught by God, we are given divine knowledge and ability to accomplish what has eternal value. Look at the apostles after the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus made sure they were prepared to accomplish a movement of God through the Holy Spirit’s instructions and power.
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:25–26). There is no holding back from the Spirit, but do we have ears to hear and hearts to receive? Notice that He both teaches us and reminds us when we forget.
Most cultures have a tradition of teaching by someone lecturing in a classroom and auditorium setting. Children learn more by writing and verbal activities. In both age categories, we are dependent on another human being to explain what we should know. Most churches teach by sermons or lecture type training.
Even Paul exhorted Timothy to take “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The idea of teaching others is all through the fabric of Scripture.
But there is another emphasis in the Bible – being taught by God. This was prophetically spoken of as to Jesus in Isaiah 50; “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught” (50:4). Again, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children” (54:13).
In writing to the Thessalonian church, Paul says of them, “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9). This gives us a clue as to why their witness was so effective.
While we value the teachers God has given to the church, and we should learn from them, our greater ambition must be that God teaches us through His Word and the Holy Spirit. We will address the role of the Spirit more tomorrow.
I am going to interrupt our series on the Holy Spirit to bring you some exciting news about New Foundations International.
Yesterday, Tim and I met with two pastors who oversee Spanish speaking churches here in the United States and in Central America. Now that the Spanish book, God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) is ready to print, they are asking for 1500 to be printed - 1,000 here in the US, and some in Nicaragua. We are in the process of arranging for Tim to go down to Nicaragua in April for an introduction to GPHD and God’s Plan for His Church (GPHC). This is an amazing open door, and we are told, may expand to Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico.
In addition, a pastor from Ecuador has many connections in the US and Canada and has asked that we supply Spanish and English GPHD to some churches that he has visited. With one more thought on this opportunity, I am receiving requests from local Spanish speaking churches for this training book. Let me emphasize that we are not concerned about the number of books being printed or distributed, but on the spiritual effect it will have on those who go through it.
One of the comments a Spanish pastor made in our conversation was that he is deeply concerned that many churches are running on emotions, not the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He said, “The Church is to be discipled and prepared to go out and witness to Jesus Christ.”
This is all the work of God! We bend our knees before the Father of Glory who oversees His work with infinite perfection. We ask again that you stand with us and pray. It would be a great encouragement to hear from you that you are praying. Send an email to:
As we continue to look at the many aspects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry associated with His filling us, we want to focus on walking by the Spirit. There is only one mention of this in the whole Bible. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
This is a command or what is called in grammar, an imperative. That means, it must be obeyed. Not only must it be obeyed, but the verb “walk” is in the present tense which means that we must do it all the time. As with “abiding in Christ” or being “filled with the Holy Spirit,” they are actions that should always occur in our lives. His complete control leaves no room for sin (flesh).
For three and a half years, the twelve disciples were always with him, except for some rare occasions. Just before the crucifixion, Jesus instructed them to “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). It was to be a continual way of life all the time for them and for us. Because the Holy Spirit is “another Helper” just like Jesus was to the disciples when He was with them, we are to consider the Spirit in the same way as if Jesus was still here walking with us physically.
As this becomes true of our daily walk with Jesus and the Spirit, we will not allow “the desires of the flesh” (sins) to come between us and Him. When we walk by the Spirit, He gives us the power to resist sin and Satan and gain the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Walking by the Spirit should be a normal characteristic of every believer – every disciple.
There is a wonderful benefit to being filled with the Spirit; our subject yesterday. As we are under His control and power, He has the freedom to lead us in the path of God’s will. This is perhaps a rare experience for most believers because it is rare that we are completely under His control. That does not mean it’s impossible. It simply means we have not completely yielded to His control.
These two actions of the Spirit are beautifully expressed in the person of Jesus. “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness” (Luke 4:1; see also Matthew 4:1). He was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (4:2). When we are faced with temptation, we want to know that we are entering a time of testing “full of the Holy Spirit” so He can lead me through the temptation in His power.
Paul says the same thing in another way. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). This truth is followed by a list of sins that are the “works of the flesh” (5:19-20). All true believers in the Lord Jesus are free from the condemnation of the Law, but in another way, if they are led by the Spirit, He resists the temptation of the flesh through His presence and power in us. Those who look to Him for leadership will always be pointed to Christ as our victory (Romans 7:25; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4).
Finally, the leading of the Spirit in us is a proof that we are “sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Those who doubt their salvation have not known the Spirit’s leading. With His leading, we have the confirmation of who we are in Christ. Do you have that confirmation?
A great question was asked on the filling of the Holy Spirit. This idea is mostly from Luke. There are 10 times I see the phrase "filled with the Holy Spirit;" 9 of them are from Luke (Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9, 52). Only one time does Paul use this exact phrase; Ephesians 5:18. Likewise, "full of the Holy Spirit" is only found in Luke (Luke 4:1; Acts 6:5; 7:55; 11:24). By studying these passages, we see that Luke equates filling of the Holy Spirit with focus on Jesus and fulfillment of His mission. The Holy Spirit is the power source for taking the gospel to the end of the earth!
In Luke’s writing, the filling of the Holy Spirit can be in answer to prayer (Acts 2:4; 4:31), but it is also the sovereign work of God as in John the Baptist being filled with the Holy Spirit even in the womb (Luke 1:15)! The same is true of Elizabeth (Luke 1:41) and Zechariah (Luke 1:67). People often recognize others as full of the Holy Spirit without any reference as to how they were filled, as with Stephen (Acts 6:5; 7:55) and Barnabas (Acts 11:24).
Two characteristics of being filled with the Holy Spirit seem to be control and power. The Spirit is in control of a person, not his own self or will, and this comes through submission. Likewise, the power of the Holy Spirit is given to the one in submission to Him. My prayer daily is that the Holy Spirit fill me with Himself, and in praying this I usually add, I submit all I am and all I have to You. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God's glory and the exalting of Jesus are our top priorities.
I do believe we should make this our aim each day. In Spirit Walk by Steve Smith, I love how he walks through Scripture showing that unconditional surrender to the Holy Spirit is the prerequisite for being filled with the Spirit. He is correct by equating being filled with the Holy Spirit with ‘letting the word of Christ dwell in in us richly’ (Col. 3:16) and ‘abiding in Christ’ (John 15:1-11).
Those who are infiltrated with God's Word and abiding in Christ ARE filled with the Holy Spirit.
My daily and moment by moment aim is UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. May the Holy Spirit bear His fruit in us and transform us into the glory of Christ! (2 Cor. 3:18).
By: Randy M.
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