HE LEADEATH ME!

Reflections on God’s Guidance from the Book of Acts 

In his letter to the Roman Christians, the apostle Paul declares, “As many as are led by the Spirit, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). What a thought! Can it really be that part of our inheritance in Christ is to be guided by the Spirit of God in all our decisions, just as the Lord Jesus was? Paul certainly seemed to think so! Moreover, as we read through the book of Acts, we find that for the early Church this was indeed the case: In manifold ways, God graciously guided His people in the fulfillment of their mission, and in so doing provided helpful instructions and examples for us to follow.

The purpose of this essay is to spotlight the main ways in which God guides his New Covenant children, and to illustrate them from the Book of Acts. May this brief meditation enrich your confidence for walking with him! You can access it here. 

“For you did not again receive the spirit of bondage to fear, 

but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!'”

Romans 8:15

Though I’ve read this verse hundreds of times, I never really noticed the astonishingly weighty contrast it invites us to contemplate.

For consider:

According to Paul, prior to our new birth, we were in the flesh, under the Law, under sin, under condemnation, under wrath, in peril of hell, and—for all of these reasons and more—in bondage to fear.

Now, however, we are in the Spirit, under Christ, under righteousness, under acquittal, under love, in (confident) hope of eternal life—and for all of these reasons and more—liberated into a spirit of sonship. As newborn babes we have been delivered, once and for all, into the strong, loving, eternally trustworthy arms of Father God.

Now here’s my confession: Though I’ve walked with the Triune God for nearly 40 years, I feel I have only begun to emerge from the thicket of my many fears, and out into the wide-open field of my heavenly Father’s fervent, immutable, and altogether committed covenant love for me, his chosen child.

And since we are all cut from the same cloth, I suspect many of you can say the same.

So then, let us pray: Pray that the Lord Jesus will open our eyes to the Father’s eternal love for us; that he will deliver us from our tendency to walk before Him as though we were still in the flesh, under the Law, under condemnation, under wrath, and on a tightrope over the fires of hell.

In other words, let us pray that we may learn to cry “Abba, Father” as never before, having seen Abba, Father as never before!

For when we do, our love for Him will be perfected, and we will never again walk “in bondage to fear.”

 

 

 To the seven churches . . . from Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness . . .

(Revelation 1:5)

Once upon a time there was a mouse named Chicory Cheese. No one in his large family was very famous, except, perhaps, his uncle Chucky, who owned a big string of pizza parlors. But I can tell you this: Chicory was famous in heaven. Whenever the High King sent Chicory Cheese on a mission, all the holy angels quickly gathered round to watch!

One winter’s evening quite close to Christmas, Chicory was walking home after a hard day’s work. On his right, he passed Grandpa Adam’s field. Once again he paused to gaze at the old dead oak, standing all alone in the middle of the barren expanse. The sight of it always made him sad. Years back, Chicory’s uncle Isaiah, the village schoolteacher, had taken a hundred baby mice to play in that field. They never returned. It was the greatest mystery—and the greatest sorrow—in all Hickoryville.

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In Him was life, and His life was the light of men.

John 1:4

When Jesus walked the earth, all the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—dwelt in him in bodily form. So too did the eternal life of the Godhead. In him was life, the eternal life of God Triune.

Whenever he spoke or performed miracles, the divine life within Jesus became the light of men. The glory of God shone forth in all he did, filling the darkness of this present evil world with light.

As we know from the Gospels, some were drawn to the light. They said, “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of life.”

Others, however, hated the light, sought to extinguish it, and, for a brief moment at the end of Jesus’ ministry, actually thought  they did.

This is a great mystery, one that should cause us to fall down before God and marvel at his amazing ways.

In Christ there was life, and yet, because of our sin, that life could not get out of him and into us. Therefore, God decided to let the darkness extinguish the light—ever so briefly— so that the light and life of Christ, at long last, after ages and ages, might come again to dwell in man.

You remember that during Holy Week, just before Jesus’ passion, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, came to him. She brought an alabaster vial, full of costly oil of spikenard. Without a word, she broke the vial and poured the contents on Jesus’ head, anointing him for burial. John carefully notes that when she did, the fragrance of the perfume filled the whole house.

Beloveds, this is how it was with Jesus, and how it is with us. God the Father, on the Cross, broke the alabaster vial of his body, so that he, bearing our sins and receiving in his own person the just penalty due them, might make atonement for us.

But why did he make atonement for us? So that  he could pour out the oil of the divine life—not just upon us—but into us. So that in us there might be life, and that our life might be the light of men.

John brings the prologue of his gospel to a close with this: “And the light shines in the darkness; the darkness did not overcome it.”

Why does the light still shine in the darkness, both now and till the end of the age?

It is because our Lord was willing to let the Father shatter the alabaster vial, so that the divine life within him—and all the light and fragrance it was meant to bestow upon a sin-darkened world—might be in his new body, in us.

Father, Lord Jesus, thank you so much for this inexpressibly great gift. May we always walk worthily of it, in your Spirit, bringing the life and light and fragrance of Christ to others wherever we go. Amen. 

GRATITUDE

 

Pause, my soul, adore and wonder,

Ask, “Oh, why such love to me?”

Grace hath put me in the number,

Of the Savior’s family.

Hallejuljah!

Thanks—eternal thanks—to Thee!

 

Charles Spurgeon