Quotes by George Sweeting
Notice three important facts about Ephesians 5:18. First, it is in the imperative mood. It is not a suggestion or an appeal, but a command. Anything less than the fullness of the Spirit is disobedience to the Word of God. Second, it is a present tense verb. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit now. And it is a continuous action verb. It could be translated, “Be being filled with the Spirit.” We must be filled daily, constantly, moment by moment. Yesterday’s blessings are not sufficient for today or tomorrow. Third, it is a passive verb. That means that being filled with the Spirit is not something we do, but something that is done for us. We must be yielded. We must be willing. We must be believing. But God does the filling. We simply receive it by faith.
The difference between heart belief and head belief is the difference between salvation and damnation.
The very same Holy Spirit who led these men to write, longs to lead us today so we can understand. Without the Holy Spirit, the Bible is like an ocean which cannot be sounded, heavens which cannot be surveyed, mines which cannot be explored, and mysteries beyond unraveling. We must – we must – yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
More than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy. Approximately one-third of it has yet to be fulfilled. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1,800 references appear in the Old Testament, and seventeen Old Testament books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return – one out of every thirty verses. Twenty-three of the twenty-seven New Testament books refer to this great event. Three of the four other books are single-chapter letters written to individuals concerning a particular subject, and the fourth is Galatians, which does imply Christ’s coming again. For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are eight on Christ’s second coming.
Puritan writer Thomas Watson said, “Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.” Eternity is the grand climax of all history. It is the age to come when every person will acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Eternity will bring to this world all God intended for us. Sin will have been judged and banished. Rewards will have been presented. Life will continue with new vitality, meaning, and perfection. What an age that will be!
What do you conceive God to be like? Some would say to believe at all in a personal God requires a giant leap of faith – but I am convinced that belief in God is a far more reasonable position than atheism. Nature, the personal experience of literally billions of people, and something innate in the heart of man all testify to the existence of God.
Down through the years God’s love has shined through misery, tears, and sin like a shaft of sunlight on a dark day. We see God’s love in His revelation, in His mercy, in His patience, and in His redemption. We see the love of God as the infinite One becomes an infant in Bethlehem’s manger. We see it in His life and ministry. And most of all we see it as He hangs on the cross, dying for our sins.
According to Edward Gibbon, in his classic work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, there were five major causes for the decline and fall of the Roman empire.
1. The breakdown of the family and the increase of divorce.
2. The spiraling rise of taxes and extravagant spending.
3. The mounting desire for pleasure and the brutalization of sports.
4. The continual production of armaments to face ever increasing threats of enemy attacks.
5. The decay of religion into many confusing forms, leaving the people without a uniform faith. It is very significant that these factors exist today.
Often guidance in the will of God will come to us in the normal circumstances of life, through open and closed doors. But be careful not to give this area more consideration than it deserves. Satan can also open and shut doors of opportunity. Gather all the facts, and prayerfully seek the mind of God.
When we come to the end of life, the question will be, “How much have you given?” not “How much have you gotten?”
There are three things to remember concerning trials:
1. Trials are a common experience of all of us. No one is immune. Trials are a part of living.
2. Trials are transitory. C.B. Williams translates 1 Peter 1:6 this way: “In such a hope keep on rejoicing, although for a little while you must be sorrow-stricken with various trials.” Trials, though difficult, are for a “little while.”
3. Trials are lessons that shouldn’t be wasted. Though not enjoyable or necessarily good in themselves, trials constitute a divine work for our ultimate good. Jesus never promised an easy journey, but He did promise a safe landing.
In 1956 Life magazine told of the shocking death of five missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador. For several months these men had tried to make contact with the primitive Auca Indians. On their first attempt to establish a camp, they were brutally murdered! Today these same Auca tribesmen are all Christians. They are leaders of a small congregation that worships near the spot where the missionaries died. Many educators and government leaders have expressed astonishment at the miraculous change in these Indians. How did it happen? The answer lies in the love of God expressed to these people by the sister of Nate Saint and the wife of Jim Elliot, two of the martyred missionaries. Led by God who is love and not vengeance, these women were able to break down the walls of distrust. In time they were able to share the gospel with these tribesmen and see the love of Christ transform their lives.
The Christian life is a positive allegiance to Jesus Christ. It is becoming so occupied with Him that the values and standards of the world around us have little influence.
Watch out for any ministry or person who claims to be led by the Holy Spirit but acts contrary to the Word of God. And beware of any movement or group whose focus is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit points not to Himself but to Jesus Christ.
May God deliver us from a ho-hum attitude. Young people can read their parents. They can see right through their teachers, and they turn away in disgust from a make-believe faith.
John Wesley preached over 44,000 sermons in his lifetime. He traveled by horseback and carriage nearly 300,000 miles, wrote grammar and theological textbooks in four languages, and yet always had time for a quiet time. While still in his childhood, Wesley resolved to dedicate an hour each morning and evening to Bible study and prayer.
Andrew Bonar, a great man of God, had three rules that he lived by. Rule 1 – Not to speak to any person before speaking to Jesus Christ. Rule 2 – Not to do anything with his hands until he had been on his knees. Rule 3 – Not to read the papers until he had read his Bible.