Pentecost 2019: In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day – A. Kuyper

rev1-10

Like him [the apostle John], we must be caught up in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

…With the exertion of all their strength in their divine calling, but at the same time being diligent in their calling in this world while simultaneously being ‘in the Spirit,’ are two things that are mutually exclusive. The most we can ordinarily achieve is that in the context of our daily work and all our troubles is that the Spirit of God supports us and guards us, maintains and warns us, stimulates and inspires us, and protects us from destruction.

But to realize something greater and higher as our basic condition all day long, and not just during the moments we pray, so that everything working together serves that purpose, we need the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day. This means that we need a day when the Lord works in a special way and when we are still. To that end, two things are true simultaneously. First, the Sabbath serves to bring us into the Spirit. Next, being in the Spirit is the only thing that makes the Sabbath a reality for the Christian.

When those converge and complement one another, the Sabbath encircles us with a quiet freedom, and we find ourselves in the Spirit. That’s when we hear behind us that voice that sounds like a loud trumpet. It is clear and penetrating. Then our soul experiences a blessed fellowship as he lays his right hand on us and tenderly says: ‘Don’t be afraid, for behold, I was also once dead but am now alive. Yes, I live eternally, and no one else but I holds the keys of death and hell.’

This is when there is Sabbath in us and around us!

This is to receive the eternal Sabbath already in this life.

The prayer rising from the hearts of God’s children is that that Sabbath might increase in their lives.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.376-78.

This particular meditation (#11 of Volume 2) is titled “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” and is based on Revelation 1:10  – “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”

Pentecost 2018: The Spirit as Teacher

Pentecost-John14-16On this Pentecost Sunday 2018 we post another prayer/devotional from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by A.Bennett (Banner of Truth, 1975).

This one is titled “The Spirit As Teacher,” and is a fitting prayer for us to make personally and collectively as we remember our Lord’s gift of the Holy Spirit to His church and people.

O GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT,

That which I know not, teach thou me,
Keep me a humble disciple in the school
of Christ,
learning daily there what I am in myself,
a fallen sinful creature,
justly deserving everlasting destruction;
O let me never lose sight of my need of a Saviour,
or forget that apart from him I am nothing,
and can do nothing.
Open my understanding to know
the Holy Scriptures;
Reveal to my soul the counsels and works
of the blessed Trinity;
Instil into my dark mind the saving knowledge
of Jesus;
Make me acquainted with his covenant undertakings
and his perfect fulfilment of them,
that by resting on his finished work
I may find the Father’s love in the Son,
his Father, my Father,
and may be brought through thy influence
to have fellowship with the Three in One.
O lead me into all truth, thou Spirit of wisdom
and revelation,
that I may know the things that belong unto
my peace,
and through thee be made anew.
Make practical upon my heart the Father’s love
as thou hast revealed it in the Scriptures;
Apply to my soul the blood of Christ, effectually,
continually,
and help me to believe, with conscience
comforted, that it cleanseth from all sin;
Lead me from faith to faith,
that I may at all times have freedom to come
to a reconciled Father,
and may be able to maintain peace with him
against doubts, fears, corruptions, temptations.
Thy office is to teach me to draw near to Christ
with a pure heart,
steadfastly persuaded of his love,
in the full assurance of faith.
Let me never falter in this way.

 

Spring 2017 PRT Journal Available

The Spring 2017 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal is now available in print form and in multiple digital forms (Vol.50, No.2).

PRTJ-cover-April-2017-2

As you will see from the cover image, this issue contains a variety of significant Reformed reading material.

Prof. R. Cammenga, editor of the PRTJ, gives these “notes” at the beginning in summary of this issue:

This is the second and last issue of the fiftieth volume of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal.  We welcome our readers to its pages.  Included are several articles.  The Rev. Thomas Reid favors us with the transcript of the second of two speeches that he gave last spring before the faculty, student body, and area Protestant Reformed ministers.  The article highlights the labors and contributions of a recent French Reformed theologian, Auguste Lecerf.  PRCA pastor, Rev. Thomas C. Miersma, contributes an article on the special offices and gifts in the New Testament church.  He asks whether these gifts and offices continue in the church today, and if not, why not?  The undersigned has two contributions to the issue.  The first is the second part of my examination of the teaching of common grace in light of the five solas of the Reformation.  The contention of the series is that the doctrine of common grace vitiates the five solas that constitute the Reformation’s enduring contribution to the New Testament church.  The second contribution is another installment of the “John Calvin Research Bibliography.”  A number of our readers have expressed appreciation for the bibliography as a useful tool for doing research into all the main areas of Calvin’s theology.  The bibliography arose out of my work in crafting a special interim course on the theology of John Calvin.  The course is scheduled to be taught once again as the winter interim between the two semesters of the 2017-18 school year.

      Included in this issue is what we hope will be a regular feature from the seminary’s librarian, Mr. Charles Terpstra.  Mr. Terpstra highlights the significant recent additions to the seminary library.  We include this not merely for the information of our readers.  But we invite our readers to make use of our library for study and research.  We are even open to loaning our books to our constituency and friends.

      And, of course, we have our section of book reviews—a goodly number of reviews in this issue.  We want to do what we can to inform our readers of new books of special interest that are being published.

      Read and enjoy!

    Soli Deo Gloria!                                                                                                      —RLC

If you wish to receive a free print copy of this issue, or to be added to our mailing list, contact our secretary at the email found on our home page. To download free print edition, use the link given above.

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Pentecost 2017 – The Spirit of Sonship

On this Pentecost Sunday 2017 we remember and celebrate our risen and ascended Lord’s wondrous gift of the Holy Spirit to His people, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, the Spirit of our own personal, saving sonship.

Communion_with_God-HHFor our meditation on this wonder of grace, by which we receive all the blessings of Jesus Christ, we consider these thoughts of Herman Hoeksema from a meditation of his on Romans 8:15-16 –

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

The meditation is found in the book Communion with God (RFPA, 2011, edited by David J. Engelsma), chapter 14, “Spirit of Sonship.”

For it is not only by adoption that we become children of God. In fact, it would be impossible to lay hold on this blessed adoption, or even to long for it and to rejoice in its possession and assurance, if God did not also bestow upon us and work within us the wonder of grace whereby we are born of him, his image is restored within us, and we becomes sons of God in spiritual reality. He realizes the adoption in our hearts by making us partakers of his nature.

By nature we are not only devoid of the right to be called children of God and to dwell in his house, but we are also enemies of God, minding the things of the flesh, loving the darkness rather than the light. We care not to dwell in God’s house. Far from him we wander and seek the good foolishly.

But he reaches out into our hearts, removes the darkness, roots out the enmity, enlightens the mind, changes the refractory will, instills into our hearts a new life, the life of the risen Lord, assures us of his love, and causes us to love him, to love his precepts, to love the brethren, to long for his fellowship, and to seek to be pleasing to him.

It is also the consciousness of this real, spiritual sonship, of this love to God and to one another, of this longing for his favor and fellowship, that is expressed in the cry Abba, Father! [pp.103-104]

Good Psalm Music for Pentecost

Book of PsalmsWe may not think that the Psalms reveal much about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, but this is a mistake. The book of Psalms frequently refer to the Holy Spirit and His wonderful operations in creation, providence and redemption. I give you just a few examples in this post, so that you may have some good Psalm music to listen to on this Pentecost Sunday.

1. In Psalm 51 David prays specifically that God will not cast him away from His presence by taking His Holy Spirit from him (v.11), expressed in this versification from the Psalter used in worship by the PRC (Ps.#141). You will find the full arrangement with piano accompaniment here.

1. Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.

2. In Psalm 104:30 the work of the Spirit in creation and providence is noted, and in Psalter #287 it is put into these words in the opening stanza (follow the link to listen to this versification):

1. Thy Spirit, O Lord, makes life to abound;
The earth is renewed and fruitful the ground;
To God ascribe glory and wisdom and might,
Let God in His creatures forever delight.

3. The young women of the Chamber Choir of Covenant Christian High (2013) sing a versification of Psalm 143 from the 1912 Psalter (#391). Note especially the third stanza (at the link provided here).

 

Pentecost 2014 – The Holy Spirit, the Gift of the Father and the Son

Pentecost-John14-16On this Pentecost Sunday we depart from our meditations on the Psalms and focus on our Lord’s promises concerning His gift of the Holy Spirit as recorded in John 14. Here is the pertinent section:

16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

With these sure words of our Lord, fulfilled on the great day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2, we include these comments of John Calvin:

16.And I will pray to the Father.

This was given as a remedy for soothing the grief which they might feel on account of Christ’s absence; but at the same time, Christ promises that he will give them strength to keep his commandments; For otherwise the exhortation would have had little effect. He therefore loses no time in informing them that, though he be absent from them in body, yet he will never allow them to remain destitute of assistance; for he will be present with them by his Spirit.

Here he calls the Spirit the gift of the Father, but a gift which he will obtain by his prayers; in another passage he promises that he will give the Spirit. If I depart, says he, I will send, Him to you, (John 16:7.) Both statements are true and correct; for in so far as Christ is our Mediator and Intercessor, he obtains from the Father the grace of the Spirit, but in so far as he is God, he bestows that grace from himself. The meaning of this passage therefore is: “I was given to you by the Father to be a Comforter, but only for a time; now, having discharged my office, I will pray to him to give another Comforter, who will not be for a short time, but will remain always with you.”

And he will, give you another Comforter. The word Comforter is here applied both to Christ and to the Spirit, and justly; for it is an office which belongs equally to both of them, to comfort and exhort us, and to guard us by their protection. Christ was the Protector of his disciples, so long as he dwelt in the world: and afterwards he committed them to the protection and guardianship of the Spirit. It may be asked, are we not still under the protection of Christ? The answer is easy. Christ is a continual Protector, but not in a visible way. So long as he dwelt in the world, he openly manifested himself as their Protector; but now he guards us by his Spirit.

He calls the Spirit another Comforter, on account of the difference between the blessings which we obtain from both. The peculiar office of Christ was, to appease the wrath of God by atoning for the sins of the world, to redeem men from death, to procure righteousness and life; and the peculiar office of the Spirit is, to make us partakers not only of Christ himself, but of all his blessings. And yet there would be no impropriety in inferring from this passage a distinction of Persons; for there must be some peculiarity in which the Spirit differs from the Son so as to be another than the Son.

If you would like some additional reading on the gospel of Pentecost, you are encouraged to visit the featured resources on the PRCA website. There you will find both articles and pamphlets on the subject of the Holy Spirit.

“The Spirit of Jesus” – The Valley of Vision

As I did last year, so again this year I also post this prayer devotional on the Holy Spirit from the book The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Arthur Bennett, ed.; Banner of Truth, 1975). May this be our prayer today and each day of our lives as we realize that the Spirit given us is indeed the Spirit of Jesus.

Lord Jesus Christ,

F ill me with thy Spirit

that I may be occupied with his presence.

I am blind – send him to make me see;

dark – let him say, ‘Let there be light’!

May he give me faith to behold

my name engraven in thy hand,

my soul and body redeemed by thy blood,

my sinfulness covered by the life of

pure obedience.

Replenish me by his revealing grace,

that I may realise my indissoluble union with thee;

that I may know thou hast espoused me

to thyself for ever,

in righteousness, love, mercy, faithfulness;

that I am one with thee,

as a branch with its stock, as a building

with its foundation.

May his comforts cheer me in my sorrows,

his strength sustain me in my trials,

his blessings revive me in my weariness,

his presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness,

his might establish me in peace and joy,

his incitements make me ceaseless in prayer,

his animation kindle in me undying devotion.

Send him as the searcher of my heart,

to show me more of my corruptions

and helplessness

that I may flee to thee,

cling to thee,

rest on thee,

as the beginning and end of my salvation.

May I never vex him by my indifference

and waywardness,

grieve him by my cold welcome,

resist him by my hard rebellion.

Answer my prayers, O Lord,

for thy great name’s sake.

You will find other such devotionals from this book at this link.

Pentecost Sunday 2012

Today we commemorate another great saving act of our risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ – His gift of the Holy Spirit to His church corporately and to every elect believer personally. This glorious and precious gift He gave 50 days after He rose from the dead and 10 days after He ascended to heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand. This was according to the prophecy of Joel, the OT prophet (I include here the important context just before the promise of the Spirit – notice it too. cf. also Acts 2:16-21)):

21Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. 22Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. 32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

And, of course, this event was according to Christ’s own promise as recorded, e.g., in John 16:

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

And on the day when Pentecost was “fully come” (i.e., fulfilled) and the Spirit was poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:1-4), Peter pointed to its significance as an act of the glorified Christ:

29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2).

Such a gift of Christ and such a wonder of God’s grace calls for our praise and thanks in worship this day and every day. Read all that the Scriptures teach about the Spirit’s work in the church corporately and in the believer personally  and you will discover that we would have nothing and would be able to do nothing without this Person of the Godhead.  All that we have for salvation and for our life as God’s children in this world is due to His presence and power in us and His gifts from Christ to us. So today let us thank the Father for exalting His Son and giving Him the Spirit; let us glorify our glorious Head for His abundant gift of the “Comforter”; and let us praise the Spirit as the One who bestows on us all that is in Christ and Who abides with us forever.

Pentecost – “Spiritus Sanctus”

From the prayer/devotional “Spiritus Sanctus“, quoted in The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, A.Bennett, Banner of Truth, 1975.

O Holy Spirit,

As the sun is full of light,
the ocean full of water,
Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of thee.
Vain are all divine purposes of love
and the redemption wrought by Jesus
except thou work within,
regenerating by thy power,
giving me eyes to see Jesus,
showing me the realities of the unseen world.

Give me thyself without measure,
as an unimpaired fountain,
an inexhaustible riches.
I bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness,
imperfect vision, languid service,
prayerless prayers, praiseless praises.
Suffer me not to grieve or resist thee.

Come as power,
to expel every rebel lust,
to reign supreme and keep me thine;
Come as teacher,
leading me into all truth,
filling me with all understanding;

Come as love,
that I may adore the Father, and love him as my all;
Come as joy,
to dwell in me, move me, animate me;
Come as light,
illuminating the Scripture,
moulding me in its laws;

Come as sanctifier,
body, soul and spirit wholly thine;
Come as helper,
with strength to bless and keep, directing my every step;
Come as beautifier,
bringing order out of confusion,
loveliness out of chaos.

Magnify to me thy glory by being magnified in me,
and make me redolent of thy fragrance.

Food (Quotes) for the Soul

For today I have pulled together a couple of profitable quotes I have come across from other blogs recently. I trust they will feed your soul as they have mine.

 

From Ray Ortlund’s “Christ is Deeper Still”:

“It is doubtless a most joyful thought that we have redemption through the blood of our adorable Savior.  But I have no less comfort in the thought that He is exalted to give repentance and remission of sins. . . . Repentance is in every view so desirable, so necessary, so suited to honor God, that I seek that above all.  The tender heart, the broken and contrite spirit, are to me far above all the joys that I could ever hope for in this vale of tears.  I long to be in my proper place, my hand on my mouth, and my mouth in the dust. . . . I feel this to be safe ground.  Here I cannot err.”

Charles Simeon, quoted in H. C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon (London, 1956), pages 133-134.  Italics original.

 

From “Tolle Lege”:

“When God designed the great and glorious work of recovering fallen man and the saving of sinners, to the praise of the glory of His grace, He appointed, in His infinite wisdom, two great means thereof.

The one was the giving of His Son for them, and the other was the giving of His Spirit unto them. And hereby was way made for the manifestation of the glory of the whole blessed Trinity, which is the utmost end of all the works of God.

Hereby were the love, grace, and wisdom of the Father, in the design and projection of the whole; the love, grace, and condescension of the Son, in the execution, purchase, and procurement of grace and salvation for sinners; with the love, grace, and power of the Holy Spirit, in the effectual application of all unto the souls of men, — made gloriously conspicuous.”

–John Owen, ”Pneumatologia,” in The Works of John Owen, ed. William Goold, 24 vols. (Edinburgh: Johnson & Hunter; 1850-1855; reprint by Banner of Truth, 1965), 3:27.