Anglican Morning Prayer for 29 September 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”
(Luke 4:1; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (ROMANS 8:14)
There are a very many Christian professors who prefer to be led by their own sinful spirit than by that of the Spirit of God. “If the opportunity arises,” or “If I feel like it, I will attend to my responsibilities in the Church or community”. It does not take a nuclear physicist to realize that such an attitude does not arise from the prompting of the Holy Spirit but rather from the spirit of fallen man. In a word, we are lazy creature and too often do only the minimum required to dispel the critic.
As we learn from the introductory text, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit in all that He did. Though imperfect creatures as we are, we, too, must be ‘led by the Spirit (of God)’ if we are to keep our souls away from temptation as well as perform those duties that are common to the Christian believer. It is our faith that is the fuel for our impetus to act. Those of us who have no oil in our lamps will be forever trailing behind those who do, and we may miss out on the blessings that are made available to the faithful in Christ.
A physical body needs fuel to move about and to act. That fuel is the physical foods that we consume. A spiritual body needs fuel as well to persevere under sunshine and storm. That fuel comes from a special fuel called the Word of God. It is our Bread that came down from Heaven personified by the Lord Jesus Christ. Too many believe that they can, after confessing Christ as Lord, lay back on their laurels and allow the Holy Spirit to guide them in the ways of truth. That is a great error. Though we have churches that call themselves Holy Spirit churches, not a single one of them so-called are Holy Spirit Churches. How do I know? Because the Holy Spirit will never speak of Himself. It is His role to guide us into all truth by means of the Word of God and to remind us of all things in that Word pertaining to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Howbeit 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. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (JOHN 16:13-15)
The object of every sermon, every testimonial, if led by the Holy Spirit, is to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ and reveal His glorious personage to yearning eyes and ears – and every sermon, if inspired of God, will do that very thing. Remember the disparaging men of the Road to Emmaus who were fearful of the events of the crucifixion. As they journeyed and lamented those sorrowful events, a stranger (to them) approached who expounded all the Law and the Prophets concerning the Himself (Lord Jesus Christ). Those two could not be led by the Spirit because they had not sufficiently gleaned truth of which the Spirit could bring to their remembrance.
Each of us have varying degrees of self-will, and that self-will never motivates to goodness. But in the surrender of that self-will in taking upon ourselves the Will of God, our tendency to “act when we feel like it” is transformed into the will of the Lord to act with conviction and immediate dispatch to perform our good works that are dictated by the Holy Spirit. The result of such inspiration is that our good works do not belong to us, but are the works of the Father working in and through our members. Such labors are light and without effort if dictated by the Holy Spirit and, in so doing, Christ has become our Sabbath Rest in the same sense as He has become our Passover a Sabbath of seven days in seven instead of a Sabbath of one day in seven. Our all is dedicated to the Lord for His good pleasure and guidance. The truly committed Christian could say, with Dr. David Livingstone:
“I’d rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God than on the Throne of England out of the will of God.” Of course, Dr. Livingstone was truly a Living Stone among the cherished gems of the Lord.