11:  How Do I Glorify God in My Body?

11: How Do I Glorify God in My Body?

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The Joy of Sanctification

Regarding the Higher Christian Life, we have discovered some truths that should change our lives.  For one, Jesus said in John 14, we “know (ginōskō)” the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit “dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).  Then, in Romans 12:1, we are urged to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service.”  But who do we present our bodies to?  What Person of the Godhead accepts the sacrifice of our body?  It is not the Father, who now sits on His throne in heaven, and has no need of a body.  It is not the Son, who has a body and is now seated at the Father’s right hand.  No, it is the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us as the security of our salvation. It is the Holy Spirit who seeks possession of our bodies to empower us from the inside.  And if this is true, then 1 Corinthians 6 takes on an entirely new meaning.  It says:

Flee sexual immorality.  Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.

When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our body, He transforms it into the temple of the Holy Spirit by virtue of His holiness.  Therefore, any sin a person commits “against his own body” is an affront to the Holy Spirit.  It is a sin that pollutes and corrupts the very dwelling place of the Spirit.  And from this type of sin, we are not commanded to fight or resist (James 4:7) but to flee.  To run.  To “hightail it outta there!”

After all, our body is now the “temple of the Holy Spirit who is (where) in you, whom you have from God, and (therefore) you are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19).  But what does it mean “you are not your own”?  And how can we “glorify God in our body” which are God’s?


How Do I Glorify God in My Body and in My Spirit?

The last verse in 1 Corinthians 6 states:

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s – 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Note, 1 Corinthians 6:19 ends with “you are not your own,” and this verse begins by telling us why.  Because we have been “bought at a price.”  Our redemption price has been paid, the deed of our ownership has been transferred to the Lord, and all we are now belongs to God (which is exactly what the ending phrase of this verse states, “which are God’s”).  But notice what lies between these two bookends.

“Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit.”

We are to give God glory in our bodies, the seed of our flesh, the part of us that wars against our spirit (Gal. 5:17).  But that is harder than it seems.  Because we always seem to lose the battle against our flesh.  Even Paul expressed his frustration with his war within himself in Romans 7:15.  So what are we to do?

Simply understand this:  You cannot, in the flesh, win the war against the flesh, no matter how hard you try or how determined you are.  The flesh will not allow a sustained campaign against itself.  To place your body in subjection to your spirit, you need outside (or inside) help.  And that comes only from the Holy Spirit.

Hence, we are to relinquish all rights to our bodies, our flesh, by offering them as a sacrifice to the Holy Spirit to do with what He pleases (Rom. 12:1).  And we are to let Him live His life in us and through us, so our flesh is now in submission to the Spirit that empowers our very lives.  Consider the following:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts – Romans 6:12.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live – Romans 8:13.

And finally,

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad – 2 Corinthians 5:10.

This is the path to the Higher Christian Life.

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10:  Our Need for the Higher Christian Life

10: Our Need for the Higher Christian Life

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Whatever Your Need, You Already Have the Holy Spirit

As we have shared, the key verse regarding the blessings of receiving the Spirit and His inaugurating the Higher Christian Life in each of us is found in John 7:38.  Here Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  In this Jesus was speaking about the Holy Spirit, whom “those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39).  But the Holy Spirit is now given.  And Jesus is now glorified.  So what does this say about our current need for the Higher Christian Life?

Before we can understand the “why” of the Higher Christian Life, we first must come to grips with the anemic condition of our faith and then somehow dig deep and find the desire and fortitude required to make things different.  Remember, our actions will never outrun our faith.  As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.”  It is equally true, “You’ll only do what you think you can and should do.”  Or, as Solomon said, “For as he (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7a).

To quote a truth from Facing the Giants, my favorite movie, “Your actions will always follow your beliefs.  If you accept defeat, then that’s all you’ll get.”

And this truth isn’t true for just football.  It is also true in our spiritual lives.

The following are six truth statements regarding the Higher Christian Life and the condition of the church.  And remember, the church is defined as a group of individuals who collectively make up the whole.  This means, by inference, these six statements that are true of the church, are also true of you and me as individual members of His church.  Once we accept the reality and consequences of our current state, then we can begin to move forward from spiritual apathy to abundance (John 10:10).  And we can then begin to embrace the Higher Christian Life, no matter the cost, and no matter how long it might take.


What is Our Current Need for the Higher Christian Life?

The following are six truths regarding the Higher Christian Life that perfectly described the condition of the church in the 1870s.  And we have, as His church, fallen to new lows since then.  So as you read these, ask yourself if you believe these statements are true.  And if they are, what are you prepared to do about them?

One, it is the will of God for every one of His children that they live entirely and unceasingly under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Two, without a believer being filled with the Spirit, it is impossible for an individual Christian or a church to ever live or work as God desires.

Three, in the life and experience of Christians, this blessing is little used and little searched for.

Four, God waits to give us this blessing, and in our faith, we may expect it with the greatest confidence.

Five, the self-life and the world hinder and usurp the place that Christ ought to occupy.

Six, we cannot be filled with the Spirit until we are prepared to yield ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus— to forsake and sacrifice everything for this pearl of great price.

And finally, let me reiterate a most encouraging truth found on the lips of all who have made it their aim to discover the Higher Christian Life and be found well-pleasing to God.  And it is simply this, when you are discouraged about the lack of progress you seem to be making towards Christlikeness:

“God never places a desire in the heart of His children that He will not ultimately fulfill.”

Note:  The six statements were written by Andrew Murray (1827-1917).

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09:  The Aim of the Higher Christian Life

09: The Aim of the Higher Christian Life

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To Be Well-Pleasing to Him

In a previous podcast, we introduced the importance of living, not for the applause of man or for our own self-gratification (no matter how noble our pursuits may seem), but solely for the pleasure and approval of God.  In other words, we aim to be like Jesus.  Our ambition is to live to hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).  And our single desire should be like that of Jesus, who said, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29).  This, and this alone, is the aim of the Higher Christian Life.

But it is usually much easier said than done.  Sometimes we end up running around in circles, like getting lost in a cul-de-sac in our own neighborhood.  But consider the following admonition on how this life is designed to be lived:

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him – 2 Corinthians 5:9.

Note how this verse begins with a “therefore” and focuses on our Christian life’s “aim” or ambition.  Let’s see what it is saying.

First, the context of this statement is found in the beginning part of the chapter.  Here we find Paul talking about the wonder of being in the presence of the Lord after we discard this “earthly house” (2 Cor. 5:1), our mortal body, and are clothed “with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Cor. 5:2), our heavenly body.  According to Paul, heaven is lightyears better than “Your Best Life Now” on this fallen planet.

Next, we are assured that God is the one “who has prepared us for this very thing” and has also “given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:5) of its truth and fulfillment.  After all, “we walk by faith, not sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

Finally, the “therefore” relates primarily to the passage immediately preceding this one.  And what an incredible statement it is regarding the passion and heart of someone who is experiencing the Higher Christian Life and has eternity in focus.  It says, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).

So what is the aim and ambition of someone who desires the Higher Christian Life?

Therefore (a conclusion based on what was written before) we make it our aim (our ambition, purpose, something we aspire to), whether present or absent (in this life or the life to come, on earth or in heaven), to be well pleasing (acceptable, that which God wills and recognizes) to Him – 2 Corinthians 5:9.

Is there more?


The Aim of the Higher Christian Life

Absolutely.  In fact, there is a reason, beyond wanting to live for the pleasure of God, for each of us to desire and strive to make our ambition in this life, not self-actualization or self-gratification, but to be like Jesus, “always doing the things that please Him” (John 8:29).  And that is the simple fact that each of us will have to give an account of what we have done in this life, whether good or bad.  There is a final exam, a judgment, and the time to prepare is now.

Statement:  Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him – 2 Corinthians 5:9
Question:  Why?  For what reason should we make that the aim and ambition of our life?
Answer:  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad – 2 Corinthians 5:10

There are so many things we can place as the aim and ambition of our life.  Some are self-serving, such as money, fame, pleasure, popularity, pride, acceptance, independence, self-sufficiency, and however we define happiness.  And some are nobler in nature, such as a life devoted to helping others, ministry, philanthropy, serving, giving, and other time-honored attributes of a generally accepted “good” person.  But there is only one aim in life that has eternal benefits, and that is to live in such a way that is well-pleasing, or acceptable, to God.

After all, we are to live for the smile of only One.  And His name is Jesus.

Oh, and the benefit for us today for living a life that is well-pleasing to Him?  Consider this promise:

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” – 2  Corinthians 2:9.

Do you believe this statement to be true?  Good.  All the more reason to make it our aim to be “well-pleasing to Him” as we strive for the Higher Christian Life.

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08:  The Holy Spirit as Your Burden-Bearer

08: The Holy Spirit as Your Burden-Bearer

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Learning More About the Holy Spirit

In looking at the testimonies of great men and women of the last church age and their experience with the Higher Christian Life, I want to pause today and examine just one more, the life of Adoniram Judson (A.J.) Gordon (1836-1895).  He was an American Baptist preacher (who ministered alongside D.L. Moody in his Northfield Conventions), writer, composer (“My Jesus, I Love Thee”), and founder of Gordon College and later Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  But more than that, he was a man who had an experience with the Holy Spirit that changed his life and ministry.  And in almost every talk after that experience, he continually revealed how the Lord baptized him in the Holy Spirit by showing him, as Christ is our Sin-Bearer leading to salvation, so the Holy Spirit is now our Burden-Bearer leading to empowerment for ministry, and can be trusted with our lives once we surrender them to Him.

Let me give you but a taste of this podcast by posting a few quotes and statements about the Holy Spirit from Dr. A.J. Gordon.

“Whenever, in any century, whether in a single heart or in a company of believers, there has been a fresh effusion of the Spirit, there has followed inevitably a fresh endeavor in the work of evangelizing the world.”

Regarding the Person of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Gordon said this:

“I had known the Holy Spirit as a heavenly influence to be invoked, but somehow I had not grasped the truth that he is a Person of the Godhead who came down to earth at a definite time and who has been in the church ever since, just as real as Jesus was here during the thirty and three years of his earthly life.”

Then, once this realization of the Personhood of the Holy Spirit became real to him, Dr. Gordon said:

“How many true Christians toil on, bearing burdens and assuming responsibilities far too great for their natural strength, utterly forgetful that the mighty Burden-Bearer of the world is with them to do for them and through them that which they have undertaken to accomplish alone!  Happy also for these if some weary day the blessed Paraclete (Comforter, Advocate, the Holy Spirit), the invisible Christ, shall say to them, “Have I been so long time with you and yet you have not known Me?”

When asked about the cost of the Higher Christian Life and ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit, he said:

“It costs much to obtain this power.  It costs self-surrender and humiliation and the yielding up of our most precious things to God.  It costs the perseverance of long waiting and the faith of strong trust.  But when we are really in that power, we shall find this difference: that, whereas before it was hard for us to do the easiest things, now it is easy for us to do the hardest.”

But there is more.


How is the Holy Spirit our Burden-Bearer?

Regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Gordon testified:

“On the whole, and after a prolonged study of the Scripture, we cannot resist this conviction:  As Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead, came to earth to make atonement for sin and to give eternal life, and as sinners must receive Him by faith in order to have forgiveness and sonship, so the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, came to the earth to communicate the ‘power from on high’; and we must as believers in like manner receive Him by faith in order to be qualified (equipped) for service.  Both gifts have been bestowed, but it is not what we have but what we know that we have by a conscious appropriating faith, which determines our spiritual wealth.  Why then should we be satisfied with ‘the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace’ (Ephesians 1:7), when the Lord would grant us also ‘according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man’? (Ephesians 3:16).”

And finally, my favorite quote from Dr. Gordon is found in his book, The Ministry of the Holy Spirit, which states,

“It seems clear from the Scriptures that it is still the duty and privilege of believers to receive the Holy Spirit by a conscious, definite act of appropriating faith, just as they received Jesus Christ.”

I am sharing some of these testimonies with you, of the saints of old, to build your faith and show you the way to fulfillment, power in ministry, and the “bearing of much fruit” to glorify the Father and affirm we belong to Jesus (John 15:8), is by a filling, baptism, enduement, or immersion in the Holy Spirit by a conscious act of faith.   And, even if your friends and fellow church members aren’t talking about the Higher Christian Life, rest assured that many people of generations past that the Lord has used mightily in His service have continually pointed to the power of the Higher Christian Life.

Maybe we’re the ones who are missing something that these men and women found.  And if so, there is much we can learn from them.

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07:  The Process for Receiving the Higher Christian Life

07: The Process for Receiving the Higher Christian Life

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How Can I Receive the Higher Christian Life?

There is a process each of us goes through that leads us from where we are in our spiritual life to where we desire to be.  Or, from the nominal Christian experience that most of us fixate at, to the Higher Christian Life, the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10).  Everyone goes through it.  Some stay at one stage longer than others.  And some move quickly through many of the early stages only to get hung-up on a latter one.  The process or stages in our awareness of this Higher Christian Life are general in nature and differ in detail from person to person.  But the value is in seeing there is a process for receiving the Higher Christian Life that everyone seems to go through.  So be encouraged wherever you find yourself in the process.

This “process” or stages in our experience with the Holy Spirit and the Higher Christian Life should not surprise us.  In fact, we see a similar process revealed in Romans 8 regarding our salvation.  In this process, God moves in our lives in distinct ways, in separate stages, some of them unknown to us at the time, to bring about His will for our lives.  And what is His will?  That we will be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

Consider the process God brings those through who have embraced the Higher Christian Life:

One, there is an awareness of our need for more of Him.  We find this truth in John 7:37, where Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”  Before the refreshing given by the Lord, there must first be an awareness of our need.

Two, there is a troubling in our soul, a growing, deep dissatisfaction with our present spiritual state.  In other words, “I now know that I am thirsty, and I am miserable until I get this need satisfied.”  Remember, those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” will be filled or satisfied (Matt. 5:6).

Three, there then must come a time of absolute surrender of self to the Lord Jesus.  It is what is called the point of total abandonment to Him.  This is when “you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).  This is the point of commitment, the point of no return.  From this step forward, success or failure depends on the desire you have for the Higher Christian Life and your willingness to suffer the costs of true discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).

But the best is yet to come.


Is There More to Receiving the Higher Christian Life?

Absolutely.  Since you have made your commitment and crossed your Rubicon, this is the part of the process that comes with the most blessings and the most difficulty.  Let me explain.

Four, after your commitment of total surrender to the Lord, there must come a time of trust, assurance, and acceptance by faith that “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  You must appropriate by faith the confidence that God is able, as He promised, to “keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).  Remember, you are saved and then blessed to experience the Higher Christian Life by faith, and nothing else.

Five, now it is time to rest, live, dwell, make your home, or “abide” in Him and His love.  After all, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).  This is part of the process whereby you begin to experience His power for service and ministry (Acts 1:8) flowing into you to allow you, as a great privilege, to bear His fruit much as a branch does to a vine (John 15:8).  But be warned, your ability to remain in the blessing of the Higher Christian Life is dependent on your desire, as a branch, to remain connected to the vine, to “abide in Him.”

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” – John 15:6.

And finally, the Higher Christian Life, the exchanged life as it has been called, is a life of “abundance” (John 10:10), adventure, and excitement.  And this abundant life you are given is promised to produce “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) as the Holy Spirit ministers to many through you.

Quite honestly, it doesn’t get any better than this.  And this life is yours for the asking, for the surrender, for the exchange.  So ask today and see what the Higher Christian Life is all about.

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