by Seattle ALC
One of the blessings we have as believers in Jesus, is the fact that we remain united because we are unified by the Holy Spirit. We can have a variety of thoughts and opinions, but when in comes down to the matter of our faith, it is anchored in Christ Jesus. We all stand on level ground, justified before God by faith in the complete Redemptive work of His Son. We rely on the Holy Spirit to sustain and guide us. We look at the world around us and see a lot of turmoil and confusion about what life is really about. It has always been that way, it just is more evident at times. Various structures of governance have attempted to bring peace to our human society. History is a reminder of humanities failings. There are times of peace, but when justice and equity fail, so does peace and tranquility, personally and universally.
From time to time societies need restructuring in the effort to offer quiet and peaceable lives to the inhabitants of this sphere we occupy. The following article caught my attention as I have thought about our current events. The work that the Holy Spirit performs is truly a miracle. I pray that you will appreciate it as much as I did. The excerpts were put together by our late pastor, Rev. Alvin Holmgren for our August 2004. I caught my attention, because it was in August 2004 that I was ordained into the ministry. I appreciate ever more the timeliness of the excerpts for me personally, as well as the greatest need for humanity from the beginning of time.- Pastor Stan
YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD
Well may we be astonished at the terms in which the Apostle Paul speaks of the children of the New Covenant. Never were such things written of the Old Testament saints as are now written of the people under the gospel dispensation. What then says the apostle? He maintains that those who are regenerated are the temple of God, and that the Holy Spirit, the renewer of the world, has his dwelling-place within them. On another occasion also he says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (I Cor.3:16) These wordsshowplainly that it is not merely the brethren taken collectively who are so, but that each member of the community is a temple.
The Holy Spirit builds; this is his occupation when we first learn to know him, and certainly we often behold him employed in it. He resembles the man in the well-known parable of our Lord, and who dug deeply; and like him also he lays the foundation of his house upon a rock. There is a city existing upon earth, which has nowhere its equal; it consists of holy sanctuaries and temples; it is invisible and yet close at hand; and the world condemns it, although it is the most glorious thing in it. The wings of Eternal Love are spread over it; heaven smiles on it benignantly; its walls and ramparts are of fire, and its foundations are firm as the eternal mountains. It is the city of the King of Kings, and it is the office of the Holy Spirit to raise and extend it. He is a builder of temples; and in this point of view he stands in the same relation to Christ that Solomon did to David. The latter, by his victories and conquests, first rendered the building of the temple possible; he also provided the materials, and sketched the plan that Solomon put into execution.
No one is by nature a temple; on the contrary, by nature we are the dwelling-places of an evil spirit, who has his work in the hearts of the unregenerated, and who blinds them so that they believe a lie. It is now the employment of the Holy Spirit to remodel this living charnel-house, and for this purpose he throws down and raises up, he destroys and creates anew. His instrument is the Holy Scriptures; He makes the word penetrating and sharper than a two-edged sword; giving it power to make impression and animating it with the breath of life.
If we look still more closely into our spiritual sanctuary and its various chambers, we perceive beside the pictures of many important sentences and inscriptions. They are divine promises, selected from the Book of Life, each one more beautiful than another, all sealed and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, and inscribed in the heart in letters of fire. Here one may read: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”- (Jer.31:3). “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”- (Isaiah 54:10). “Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”- (Isaiah 43:1). “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”- (Isaiah 43:2). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”- (John 10:27-28).
Excerpts from The Martyr Lamb by F.W. Krummacher
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“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayer.”.- (Acts 2:42).
The early church understood fully the importance of the communion of saints. It was Jesus himself who gathered the first assembly of His friends, and He was the very center of it. After the Ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the disciples continued to nurture this communion. They needed this communion with each other. You too, need this if you are a Christian. No one is so strong that he or she does not need the fellowship of believers. The communion of saints is God’s family on earth. There we are permitted to share common experiences and common tasks. There we are one.
Excerpts from Quiet Moments on the Way Home by H.E. Wisloff
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.”
Gaither Hymn Classics
“We are the children of God … and joint-heirs with Christ.”– Romans 8: 16,17
From the Archives of the late Pastor Alvin Holmgren, August 2004. Submitted by Pastor Stan