16 January 2006

With You and In You

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

SpurgeonPyroManiac devotes Monday space to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from a sermon titled "Intimate Knowledge of the Holy Spirit," preached March 10th, 1889, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. the main point he makes is one both cessationists and non-cessationists alike should be able to agree on.

"He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:17).

Mark well the increase. Is it not a blessed step from with to in? "He dwelleth with you"—that is, a friend in the same house; "and shall be in you," that is, a Spirit within yourself; this is nearer, dearer, more mysterious, and more effective by far.

The bread yonder is "with" me. I eat it, and now it is "in" me. It could not nourish me until it advanced from "with" to "in."

What a distinct advance it is for the child of God when he rises from the Spirit of God being with him to the Spirit of God being in him! When the Spirit of God helped the apostles to work miracles, he was with them; but when they came to feel his spiritual work in their own souls, and to rejoice in the comfort which he brought to them, then he was in them. Even if you could obtain miraculous gifts, you ought not to be satisfied to speak with tongues, nor to work miracles; but you should press on to know the Spirit with yourself—indwelling, communing, quickening you.
C. H. Spurgeon


Phil's signature

22 comments:

Nate B. said...

Phil,

Great post, and a very timely reminder from Spurgeon.

- Nathan Busenitz
Faith & Practice

ScottyB said...

but you should press on to know the Spirit with yourself—indwelling, communing, quickening you.

that should be the prayer of all -whether they be charismatics or cessationists.

Mike Perrigoue said...

"Even if you could obtain miraculous gifts, you ought not to be satisfied to speak with tongues"

A long time ago (okay, about 7 years) a gentlemen noticed me looking at the books in the "Religious" section at Barne's & Noble (I mentioned this on Fide-O, I believe). Anyway, he wanted to talk. So I did. We sat at a table and chatted for awhile. I told him I was a Christian. He basically said I wasn't until I spoke in tongues. I was young and a young Christian. I didn't know what to say. He gave me his card and told me to check his church out. I didn't.

What got me was the way he made it sound like speaking in tongues was the goal in which we would find our satisfaction.

At the time I just thought that if I spoke in tongues then God would do it, not me. I wasn't against tongues. I just knew enough (I have a worthless BA in psychology) about human nature that if I dwelt on it long enough it might actually happen. I didn't want this. If it was going to happen the Spirit was going to do it, not me fooling myself into the act. Well, I've been a Christian for eight years now, and nothing. Not even a little burp of a tongue have I uttered. And I feel just fine about that...

CuriousSaint said...

Great post! One I think we can all agree on for sure.

We have been reading a book by C.J. Mahaney for our Friday morning bible study and so I was curious to check out his site and see what he thought on the topic. I found some interesting things on his FAQ page. Namely under the 'How can you be both Reformed and charismatic?' section. Anyone care to comment on this FAQ?

ScottyB said...

The FAQ by Sovereign Grace Ministries:
http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/about/faq.html

Here are five resources that helped me deal with that FAQ by SGM on Being Reformed and Charismatic:
http://www.desiringgod.org/library/sermons/90/030490.html
http://www.gnpcb.org/product/0891078118
http://www.wordandspirit.co.uk/blog/index.php?/archives/40-Book-Review-Showing-the-Spirit-D-A-Carson.html
http://www.rbvincent.com/rutherford.htm
http://mymiscellanies.blogspot.com/2005/11/running-and-terribly-disorganized-list.html

Via Crusis said...

mike perrigoue:
I've had a family member that was told to go into a room and not come out until they got their "2nd Blessing" which was evidenced by speaking in "tongues", (really glossolalia.) Since it has never happened to me either, than I'm not really a christian, or some type of 2nd class christian.
For propective: 1 Cor. 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Steven C said...

A hearty amen...

Call Me Ishmael said...

I've always loved Spurgeon. But what's with the white mohawk on his picture?

candyinsierras said...

What a distinct advance it is for the child of God when he rises from the Spirit of God being with him to the Spirit of God being in him! When the Spirit of God helped the apostles to work miracles, he was with them; but when they came to feel his spiritual work in their own souls, and to rejoice in the comfort which he brought to them, then he was in them.

Sigh. Are we done yet with sharing off-the-wall experiences from the past? I am glad that we have this reminder from Spurgeon that we have the comfort and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which brings us into the unity of Christ, in order to glorify the Lord.

Jacob Lee said...

Thanks Phil ! Your Spurgeon selection “hits the nail on the head” once again. In our home care group we are reading together and discussing J.I. Packer’s classic book Knowing God. In the first chapters he teaches very effectively on the difference between knowledge about God and knowledge of God. I need that reminder often, especially when I look at all the great books on my shelves. Over the years I have know both cessationists and non-cessationists who are and who are not walking in the spirit of Spurgeon’s exhortation.

In my opinion, Sovereign Grace Ministries (thanks for posting SGM “Frequently Asked Questions” site Scottb) is seeking to “walk” in Spurgeon’s exhortation. This is perhaps the thing I appreciate most about SGM.

“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24.

In His Grip,
Jacob Lee

James Spurgeon said...

I, for one, am disappointed again. I fail to see how Spurgeon's words make any argument at all for cessationism. I am at a loss. This is all it takes to convince you that the miraculous gifts are no longer extant? Where is the exegesis? There's none--not from you nor from Spurgeon either. Incredible! You guys don't have a leg to stand on!

(tongue-in-cheek)

donsands said...

Did the believers before Christ have the Spirit of Christ in them, or just with them?
It seems that Daniel, Joseph, Moses, and so many others would have had to have had the Holy Spirit the same we do, in order to live righteous and God-fearing lives before the face of the LORD.

It's "mysterious", as C. H. says, for me.
Can we please the Lord in our flesh and the Spirit with us? And now we please the Lord with the Spirit in us.
I do not understand the doctrine of the baptism, filling, and coming upon us -by, in , and with the Holy Spirit.

I wish I could get a handle on this one teaching. I suppose I never will.
This may be another rabbit trail, but it seemed to be more in line with what the prince of preachers was trying to say, at least to me.
1 Cor. 12:13

Logan said...

It's hard to believe that the Spirit actually dwells within me personally. I know it is true because God's holy Word says it is true, but I still doubt it from time to time. What a mystery it is that the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead also dwells within my physical body to have me to act and will according to the good purposes of God! This certainly should encourage me to make constant war against the pockets of sin that still dwell within my members, because the Spirit who indwells me gives me the power to kill all such sin. Infinite power from an infinite God living inside me! Praise God for the help of the Spirit who has taken up residence in us who believe!

Ephemeral Mortal said...

Logan said:
"It's hard to believe that the Spirit actually dwells within me personally. I know it is true because God's holy Word says it is true, but I still doubt it from time to time."

I think that this is the problem for a lot of us. We fail to take this incredible truth by faith and fully appreciate and appropriate it. I think that this is the key to walking in the Spirit, and if we could all do this fully, we would not feel a need to go after all of the charismatic excesses, which seem to me to be a poor imitation of this truly spritual and felt experience.

Darel said...

em:
I don't think it's the "one problem", though I can see how it would cause problems. I've never had a problem with this particular issue, yet I still struggle to walk in the Spirit every day.

It seems whatever we apprehend that we are lacking in our ownselves must be the "one key thing" that is keeping us from a closer walk with God. The reality is that when you have taken hold of that "one thing", there is some other "one thing" you didn't realize was there.

Don't set your sights on some single sin or lack of understanding you have as the single key to Christian life. Instead, prepare yourself for constant battle until Christ returns to end the struggle once and for all. Be constantly preparing, constantly sharpening, constantly using your spiritual gifts, your spiritual eyes, your spiritual mind. You must be in the mode of constant war until He comes. When you acheive a victory on one side, the enemy will attack on another. Be ever vigilant.

Ephraim said...

And who is that a reflection of in the picture? Would that be the Photoshop artist?

Via Crusis said...

donsands:
That's a very good question and is at the heart of what Spurgeon is contrasting. The old economy with the new economy.
Under the old, believers experienced the Spirit's power for salvation, living and were filled for special needs and service. The Spirit was with us as Spurgeon notes.
But the prophet foretold of something more:
Ezekiel 36:26,27 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Now the Spirit, since Pentecost, permanently indwells and empowers the believer. The Spirit in us. This is the "distinct advance" Spurgeon desires above "miraculous gifts".

Ephemeral Mortal said...

Thanks for the comments Darel.
I agree with you completely. I didn't mean that the missing key to a closer walk with God was to be fould in any single element of understanding, or searching for some sin that might be getting in the way (I'm sorry, I'm not very good at articulating what I mean). :-), but a general failure to fully appreciate any Biblical truth we might become aware of, to the degree that it really affects us practically in everyday living. An example might help here:
Someone once said when hearing and understanding the message of the Gospel that, "if I believed that, I'd crawl the length and breadth of the land naked on broken glass to tell everyone about it."

I often think about what we would do if we suddenly stumbled across a cure for a terminal illness, cancer for example. I'm sure we wouldn't be able to keep it to ourselves (at least I'm sure I wouldn't).

Now when you think about the glorious truth of what has been done for us as Christians, and what we have to look forward to, and what the Christian message has to offer to the world, surely it's comparable to this and the guy's response about the crawling on broken glass seems reasonable, yet I don't find this degree of compulsion to do this in myself, nor do a lot of other genuine Christians that I know. The only conclusion that I have been able to come to as to why this should be the case is what I stated at the start, that I don't fully appreciate the grace wherein I stand.

Or do you think maybe I've flipped my lid :-)

lionfood said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adrian said...

Over at my place I posted the following-

In this quote Spurgeon shows himself to be the "experiential cessationist" I know him to be. Many modern or so-called "total cessationists" would not recognize this clear experience that Spurgeon talks of. I wonder if Phil would, or if he would explain it away.

What I want to know about Phil is not whether he speaks in tongues (I expect not!) but rather does he have an intimate, experience of the Spirit as described by Spurgeon and others.

It is vital for us to know a God who is both active and present, rather than some modern concoction of a passive and absent figure who has left us only an intellectual relationship with the bible to be going along with! Such a caricature is I know preached by some cessationists, I wonder if Phil is one of them?

I need a God who both hears my prayers, and lets me know he has done so. If you are open to impressions of Gods Spirit that you don't want to call prophecy, who am I to argue with you?

But if you would lock God up in a cage of your own making that forbids him from pouring out his love experientially into our hearts with no exegetical basis whatsoever, then I will oppose your view of God with every fiber of my being.

If Phil wants the charismatic to admit that things are not quite the same as they were in the apostolic era, I doubt that there are many who would disagree.

If I call on the cessationist to admit that the Holy Spirit is still experientially active in the lives of believers I wonder how many of them would concede that point?

If both points are conceded, then Phil is right about one thing, our discussions become a matter of what are the similarities and what are the differences between our experience and that of the 1st Century Christian. We will still have differences and much to disagree on, but hopefully many of our arguments will turn out to be ones that largely concern definition and degree.

The fly in the ointment of any theological reconciliation of what is actually a relatively recent theological schism (ie that of cessationism vs charismaticism) is of course glossalia or tongues, but that is surely a subject for another post!

Frank Martens said...

Here's a question...

Is there a letter or sermon by Spurgeon where he specifically says he accepts all five points of the doctrines of Grace (or calvinism if you prefer)?

James Spurgeon said...

Frank, absolutely.