Consecration Sunday – Our Creative Drive
I Thessalonians 1: 2-10 – Sunday, January 12, 2020
The Way is the way of the Indwelling. God’s laws are written within us: “The kingdom of God is within you.” This is without our consent. But the Indwelling is with our consent. In the Indwelling our personality is preserved, purified, permeated, and perfected.
We find a sevenfold statement of the Christian faith in the opening verses of the Acts. The Christian faith is this: (1) Jesus life: “Jesus began by doing.” (2) His teaching: “Jesus began by…teaching.” (3) His death: “After his sufferings.” (4) His resurrection: “He had shown them that he was alive.” (5) His coming within them in the Holy Spirit: “Issuing his orders by the holy Spirit.” (6) The Kingdom of God as the total program: “The affairs of God’s Realm.” (7) His ascension to the right hand of power: “He was taken up to heaven.” Here, then, was a movement founded on His life, His teaching, His death, His resurrection, His coming by the Holy Spirit, His program of the Kingdom for individual and collective redemption, a movement whose Author is at the right hand of power, has “all authority.”
This movement operated by bringing a sevenfold unity into life. With the coming of the Holy Spirit these unities were realized: (1) Unity with God: “They were all filled with the holy Spirit.” (2) Unity within the self: “They were all filled with the holy Spirit—the Spirit enabled them to express themselves.” (3) Unity within the immediate group: “Peter stood up along with the eleven.” (4) Unity with all believers: “The believers all kept together.” (5) Unity with other races: “We hear these men talking of the triumphs of God in our languages!” (6) Unity in material things: “They shared all they had with one another.” (7) Unity with all men in an all-inclusive love, including enemies: “For the promise is meant… for anyone whom the Lord our God may call to himself.” When surrendered to and responsive to the Holy Spirit, we are at one with God, with ourselves, with our immediate group, with all believers, with all races, with material things, and with all men, including enemies, in an all-inclusive love. This is “the unity of the Spirit.”
O living Spirit, I come to Thee for this living unity. I’m tired of being out of harmony. I would be made whole, and I would be made one. For I would know unity with Thee and with all other. Amen.
E. Stanley Jones, The Way, p. 269 (1946).
We have been considering the fact that the Way is the way of power, the way to use the raw materials of human life, good, bad, or indifferent, that may come to us.
But, you say, that sound good, too good to be true. Where are we to get the power to do that? We must now consider the Way as the way of power. Jesus said, “I am the way,” the acting: “the truth,” the thinking; and “the life” the resources to fulfill the thinking and the acting. Without the Way as the way of resources, then it is all a recommendation instead of a realization—something presented, but not possible.
“Am I using all my talents?” asked a servant of God, greatly used, and the reply came from God: “Yes, and very much more; you are using my resources.” That was the secret. He was going beyond his resources and was living on God’s resources. I wrote in my notebook: “Am I living on reserves or on resources? Am I careful of my human reserves, because I have nothing beyond them to live by? Or have I learned to tap divine resources and live by them?”
If the Way is the way of good precepts, but not the way of power, then it fails us at the point of need. For it is at the point of power that we break down. But the power is all here. “All who touched him recovered.” It wasn’t a question of the power inherent in Jesus. It was all there. It was a question of touching Him by an appropriating faith. All who touch Him now by an appropriating faith recover—recover from whatever ails them.
But many of us are like the Chinese gentleman in Penang who, sitting in his new Ford car, had coolies push him up and down the street. When asked if there wasn’t any power in the machine, he replied, “Yes, but I’m afraid to turn it on.” We are afraid to turn on the power—it’s here unused. That power is nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit. The Way is the way of the Holy Spirit. A Holy Spirit—less Christianity is different from Christianity. It is a devitalized Christianity; it is less than, and therefore other than, Christianity. It is sub-Christian. The Way is the way of power, power to live the things it teaches.
O Christ, I know that Thy distinctive baptism is the baptism with the Holy Spirit and power. I need inner reinforcement. Then give me this power that will change the whole level or life for me. In Thy name. Amen.
E. Stanley Jones, The Way, p. 267 (1946).
We now come to the place where you not only see but seek. You want to know the truth of the Holy Spirit as a fact in your own life. You are not content to see others used of the Spirit and yourself bypassed. You put yourself into line for the fulfillment of God’s promise. “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off.”
1. Say to yourself: God has come along way in His approach to me. He has come through an incarnation, an atoning death, a resurrection, down to the door of my heart. Having come so far, I know He will come the full way—He will come within me. The Holy Spirit is God coming within me. Here He changes the “with,” but IO cannot be satisfied this side of the “in.”
2. Again, say to yourself: I know I would not be called to the Way without being provided with power to walk in the Way. If this were not true, then the Christian faith would be an irritation, an exasperation. We see something we would follow but cannot. The Christian faith would then be a mockery instead of a mastery. But every syllable of the Christian faith is sincerity. Would it reverse itself at the place where it counts, at the place of power to put it into operation?
3. As I search the Scriptures, I note that the Holy Spirit is given on four conditions: (1) I must ask: “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (2) I must accept the Holy Spirit by an act of appropriating faith: “By faith we might receive the promised Spirit.” (3) But I cannot accept the gift of the Holy Spirit without paying the price of that gift—the gift of myself. If He gives Himself, then I must give myself. (4) I must obey Him: “The holy Spirit which God has given to those who obey him.” I must therefore ask, accept, give, and obey. I am now committing myself with all my being to do those four things.
4. E. Stanley Jones, The Way, p. 278 (1946).