Volume. XXII, No. 30
Sunday, 20 January 2008

It is the Spirit Who Gives Life

As Christians we know that life comes from God. In the beginning God spoke the Word and the universe came into being. He spoke the Word again and life came into the universe in the form of plants, animals, birds and multitude of other creatures. However when God made man, He not only spoke His Word but in a special way he fashioned man from the dust of the earth. He then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being - a being with physical and spiritual life. Without the life-giving Spirit poured into the flesh made of dust, man would have been just like any other animal without a soul. But the day Man rebelled against God, the Spirit of God departed from him causing man to lose his spiritual life. Man basically degenerated to be almost like an animal, but because he was made in the image of God, God did not take away his moral abilities which distinguished him from animals and the intelligent and creative mind which is far superior to that of animals. So after his fall, man started living according to the flesh, being ruled by the desires of the flesh and seeking to gratify only his natural urges for the things of this world, till his flesh returned back to the dust from whence it came.
However there were some who were seeking for God, realizing that there is more to life than just the things of this world, who believed that there is life even after the body dies and who were seeking for immortality by going about doing good and earnestly worshiping God. To them He revealed Himself, by speaking to them in their hearts and in their minds and through dreams and visions. He showed them the way to eternal life, by revealing to them of the Messiah who would come and pay the price of man’s sin and secure eternal redemption.
There were others also who were seeking for immortality, but trying to do so according to their own fleshly ideas and not according to the way that God had ordained. Their confidence in their flesh to seek for immortality would not be achieved.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). (“Quickeneth” implies to give life). These are the words that were spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ to the Jews after he fed more than 5000 of them miraculously with only 5 loaves and 2 small fishes, who then came after Him seeking for more free bread, rather than for the Bread of Life.
Many of the Old Testament saints knew that they could not carry on God’s work in their own flesh. They relied fully on the Spirit of God who gives life to carry on their work.
For example Moses, at the age of 80 years, led the people of Israel out of Egypt by the power of God. Then on Mount Sinai he fasted twice for forty days and forty nights as He knew that it is the Spirit of God that gives him life and the strength to carry on. The first time he fasted before receiving the Ten Commandments and the second time after the Israelites broke God’s commandments by making a golden calf and worshipping it.
Similarly Prophet Elijah was a person who wholly lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was miraculously fed by ravens and then by a poor widow whose jar of oil and bin of flour was miraculously filled everyday. Then one day He walked for forty days in the strength of just one meal. It was the Spirit of God who sustained Him, not his physical strength.
Then there were people who relied on their own fleshly strength but failed. Even Abraham, the Father of faith, failed when he tried to use his own strength in order to have a child who would be his heir. Instead of allowing God to fulfill His promise which He had spoken, that Sarah would give birth to a son, he took Hagar, Sarah’s maid as his wife and had a son born through her. However Ishmael the son of the slave woman was not to be the heir and on the instigation of his wife Sarah, Ishmael had to leave the family. Hence his fleshly endeavours did not profit him.
There are many instances in the Bible about people who failed when they put confidence in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. When the people of Israel wanted to take the promise land in their own strength, they failed. They had disobeyed God, when they listened to the spies who brought in a bad report about Canaan saying that it was impossible take over the land and so they rebelled against Moses and God then swore that they would not enter the land, but die in the wilderness, except their children would enter after wandering for forty years. So then after that instead of submitting themselves to God, they sought to take the land in their own strength, but were utterly defeated because the Spirit of God was not with them.
Similarly there are other such instances of all types of people whether kings, prophets, priests or ordinary people who failed when they trusted in their own flesh. Just as the prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD”. (Jeremiah 17:5). (The NIV translates it as “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD’”)
The Apostle Paul realised the weakness of his flesh when he said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18). He was a person who did not put any confidence in the flesh, but only in Jesus and in His Spirit. He walked and lived in the Spirit and he has told us to do the same thing when he said, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Our Lord Jesus Christ, even before he was physically crucified on the cross, had already crucified the flesh in order not to put any confidence in the flesh, but only in the Spirit of God. This he did right at the beginning of his ministry when he fasted for forty days and forty nights, being sustained by His Father the giver of Life. At the end of forty days when he was tempted by the Devil to turn stones into bread and eat it because he was hungry, Jesus replied back saying , “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).
Thus Man created in the image of God can sustain His life only by the Word of God, because the words of God are spirit and life. Whenever we spend time in prayer, communing with God and listening to His Word, we are revived, by receiving the life that comes through His Spirit working through the Word of God.
So dear friend, do not trust in your own flesh, as that is surely going to end up in failure. Whatever challenges you face in life, before acting by using your carnal wisdom or your carnal strength, spend time with Your loving Heavenly Father, seeking the guidance that comes through His Holy Spirit and through His Word. Even as you spend time reading His Word, He will speak to you telling you what you should be doing to overcome the challenges you are facing. Don’t lean on your own understanding, but trust Him with all your heart as Proverbs 3:5,6 states.
Beloved, God loves you and wants you to enjoy the life He has given You, the abundant life that Jesus gives you through His Holy Spirit working in You.
Brother Edwin D’Mello

More Lively Hope



Sixth Cambodian Missions 2008 in progress. Please continue to pray for team members and their ministry.
Please note: No Fellowship Lunch after Worship Service on 27 Jan. Only coffee, tea & cookies.
Looking ahead:
Family Bible Camp at Victor Harbor: 24-26 April 2008. Speaker: Bro David Weng.
Praise & thanksgiving:
Journey mercies: Pastor Ki, Elder Michael D Lee, Brothers Joshua & David Chung, Daniel Ki, Jonathan Liao & Richard Tee; Sisters Joyce Gong & Michelle Lee (Cambodia); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Adl); Bro Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & Family (S’pore); Sis Min Yen Chia (Melb/Adl) & others travelling to Cambodia.
Church activities: BSAG, Joy, Marantha Prayer Meetings & Bible Studies; YAF Bible Study; Preaching, Teaching, Medical & Dental Work in Cambodia.
Prayer items:
Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Sylvia White & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - God’s guidance & protection for all team members & a fruitful ministry; Rev S Choi (Phnom Penh) & Rev D Koo (Sihanoukville).
Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam & family.
India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.
Kuching Missions - Teo family - encouragement.
Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim (KL).
Journey Mercies - Bro Yick Ho Lam, Jason Tan, Richard Tee, You Wen Yeap (Adl); Sisters Joyce Gong, Suzanne Lim, Serene Wong (S’pore); Gillian Ong (Melb) & other Mission Team Members travelling to Siem Reap and S’pore & others.
Jobs - Bro Daniel Volvricht; Sis Juanita Tong.
The Lord’s provision for a new church van and floor coverings for our Sunday School rooms.
Sister B-P Churches in Australia.
Persecution: Believers suffering in Islamic countries.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041