Help Us to Repent Immediately

“Great God of heaven, we thank you for the Holy Spirit,” prayed Joel Beeke at the close of his remarks.  “Our lives would be a sham without Him.  We would be no different than Ananias and Sapphira.  Help us to repent immediately, to run to the Savior, to cry out to the Holy Spirit, to make us imitators of the Son.  May we treasure the beauty of the Holy Spirit in His holiness in our lives.  Make us more like Thyself, we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

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The Door Knob of the Seminary Professor

Joel Beeke told the story of the day the theologian Charles Hodge moved in to his new home on the campus of Princeton Seminary.

“We will change anything you want; we want you to be pleased.”

After walking through his new home, the new professor had just one request.

“I’d like for you to change the knob on my study door,” said Dr. Hodge.  “The knob is too high for my youngest children.  I want all of my children to have access to me at any time.’

“What a powerful illustration,” noted Beeke.  “God brings the knob low through the Holy Spirit so that we can access the Lord at any time.”

Romans 5:1-2 says, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith.”

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness conference live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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Transparency Before God Is Essential

Octavius Winslow was a direct descendent of John Winslow who braved the Atlantic to travel to America aboard the Mayflower in 1620.   Octavius’ mother Mary gave her son, her eighth surviving child, some wise spiritual counsel.  “Tell the Lord everything about you as though He knows nothing even though He knows everything!”

Perhaps it was that very transparency, that intimacy before an omniscient God that became the basis for the calling of God on the life of Octavius who became one of the foremost evangelical preachers of the 19th Century.

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Believer vs. Unbeliever’s Fear of God

“Boys and girls:  Picture sinning against your parents,” said Joel Beeke as he addressed the children in the audience. “You feel bad. You respect them. You know they have your best interests at heart.  So, your conscience cannot rest until your relationship with them is restored.

“Now, picture an 18-year-old driving too fast.  The policeman gives him a speeding ticket.  He doesn’t have a love relationship with the police, like you do with your parents.  He doesn’t say to the cop, ‘I’m so sorry I disappointed you today.’”

But the teenager does have a fear of the policeman, a fear of the consequences of a fine for speeding, of points on his license that will result in a higher cost of car insurance.  The unbeliever treats God like a policeman when caught red-handed in his sin.

“When that child-like fear of God diminishes for the believer it’s called backsliding.  You’re in great danger!  You need to repent, return afresh to God.  You want to live for Him.  He is the compass of your entire life!”

Beeke shared another illustration to drive his point home.

Edna and Mary were asked by their mother to carry some cookies to their grandmother.  She warned them, “Make sure you don’t take a cookie along the way.”

Half way there, Edna says, “I’m getting hungry.”

Mary asks, “I wonder what they taste like.”

“Mom made them,” replies Edna.  “They’ve got to be good!  I don’t think Mom would mind if we had just one. Besides, Grandma wouldn’t know.”

Mary suddenly says, “Edna, there is Someone here.  God is here!”

“That child-like fear in the presence of God is not to scare us, but to deter us from sin,” explained Beeke.  “We need the awareness of God wherever we go!  If we don’t have it, we’re on our way to destruction.”

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness conference live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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Christians Are Not to be Unequally Yoked with World

“There is always an antithesis between the Holy Spirit and the world, the flesh and the Devil,” explained Joel Beeke. “That’s why we are told to ‘test the spirits to see whether they are from God.’ (1 John 4:1)

“We know that we are not to be unequally yoked in marriage.  But, in addition, we are not to be unequally yoked with the spirit of this world.

“The problem with so many of us is that we don’t run directly into sin. But we don’t shut the window completely against all known sin.”

The result?  “It destroys so much of our daily life with God,” said Beeke.

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness conference live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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God Will Not Tolerate Phoniness in Us

“Ananias and Sapphira spit in the face of God,” said Joel Beeke.  “And they dropped down dead!

“The Holy Spirit knows the secrets of men. He is the holy, divine Spirit. ‘The Spirit searches all things,’ says Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:10.

“Indeed, the Holy Spirit delights in absolute truth.  He is the Spirit of truth. God hates falsehood.  Sin grieves Him.

Isaiah 63:10 records what happens: “They rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit. So God turned and became their enemy and He Himself fought against them.” 

“It’s a dreadful thing to grieve the Spirit of God,” warned Beeke. “The death of Ananias and Sapphira is a lesson for us, a warning that God will not tolerate phoniness in us.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who was the pastor at Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years, writes that their deaths were no mere heart attacks as they were pierced by the words of Peter.  This is the breaking in of the Holy Spirit.  Suddenly, they discovered they were in the presence of the most high God.

“God is always present, seeing what we are doing,” Beeker reminded the audience.  “What an amazing thing!  The Holy Spirit knows you far better than you know yourself.  Never think of the Holy Spirit as an ‘it’;  He is the holy deity of God.”

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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The Bride of the Church Will Be as Holy as Bridegroom of Christ

Joel Beeke told the story of a new Nigerian student in one of his classes at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. According to Nigerian etiquette, you are not allowed to look at your teacher for long.  To Beeke’s surprise, the student would look at him for just a moment, before quickly turning away.

Samuel Rutherford, the Scottish Presbyterian pastor who died in 1661, explained that through Christ’s atoning work on the cross and upon our entrance into heaven, we will no longer have furtive glances at God. We will be able to gaze upon Jesus, face to face, as noted in Revelation 22:4.

“Because of the work of the Holy Spirit,” explained Beeke, “we will be able to look at Him and not pull away. Through His grace, we shall be as holy as Jesus is holy, without spot or wrinkle.

“The wonder of wonders will become reality — this utopian marriage where the Bride of the Church is as holy as the Bridegroom of Christ. And they will live happily ever after,” said Beeke.  Literally.

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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Holiness is the Sum of All God’s Attributes

“Holiness is His permanent crown, His glory, His beauty,” explained Joel Beeke.

Jonathan Edwards wrote that holiness is “more than a mere attribute of God.  It is the sum of all His attributes.”

“Have you ever stood at the ocean’s edge?” asked Beeke. “Did you see the light dancing on every wave? That’s how holiness is. Every aspect of His character is illuminated by the light of His holiness.”

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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When we sin, we’re playing the role of an atheist

“At the end of Acts 4, some Christians in the church of Jerusalem were so moved by generosity that they sold their lands and gave the money to the poor,” explained Joel Beeke at the Highway of Holiness conference here in Asheville, North Carolina.  “They showed their genuine Christian love which worked in them by the Holy Spirit.

“Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, saw this as an opportunity for self-promotion.  They sold property and secretly conspired to keep part of the proceeds back.  Peter rebuked them not for keeping some of the money, but for pretending to give the whole amount.  Their intent was not to exercise Christian love, but to make a name for themselves in the church.

“That sin was such a grievous offense against the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of piety and genuineness — that the Spirit of God killed them on the spot. It was not the amount; it was the hypocrisy, the falsity of what they were doing.

“Ananias falls down dead. Why such a severe punishment?  He lied to the Holy Spirit.  Doesn’t that seem strange?  Ananias wasn’t even thinking of the Holy Spirit.

“Whenever we sin, we are not really thinking of God at that moment.  Whenever we knowingly commit a sin of omission or commission, at that very moment, we are playing the role of a practical atheist. At that moment, we are acting as though God is not.  If you really believe in God, you would not sin with impunity.  

“What Ananias did in the assembly of the church was an offense to the holiness of God.  John Calvin put it this way:  ‘God cannot abide this unfaithfulness.’

“God hates hypocrisy. We must worship Him for His pleasure, never seeking the praise of men.

“This is not to say that everyone who dies suddenly is guilty of an extreme sin.  But He is the Holy One of Israel. You don’t play games with the Holy Spirit of God,” concluded Beeke.

Galatian 6:7 declares, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.”

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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God is Always Present

What Does the Fear of God Provoke?

Holy Spirit is Not a Mystical Force, But a Person

“Today if you talk to many Christians, they rarely speak of the Holy Spirit,” said Joel Beeke, pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  “Many think of the Spirit today as a mystical force.”  But the Holy Spirit is a Person.

“There are 100 references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.  And 250 references in the New Testament,” explained Beeke.  “He appears already in the second verse of the Bible in the opening scene of creation. ‘The Spirit of the Lord hovered over the waters.’

“The word of God itself is Spirit-breathed.

“And the Holy Spirit is linked to God’s hatred of sin. ‘Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight; so You are right in Your verdict and justified when You judge.’ (Psalm 51:4)

Later, in Psalm 51:11, David pleads with God: “Cast me not away from Your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.”

Whether you are just reading these blog posts or watching the video stream of some of the key sessions of The Highway of Holiness Conference here in Asheville, North Carolina, what has God used to speak to you?  Send me, Adam McManus, an email with your full name, city, and state that I can post along with others. [email protected]

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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How to Grow in Holiness

“Adam no sooner heard the voice of a holy God in the garden, but he considered his own nakedness with shame and fear.  We must be touched with a sense of our uncleanness,” wrote Steven Charnock, the Puritan English Presbyterian minister who died in 1680.  “The clear beams of the sun discover that filthiness in our garments and members which was not visible in the darkness of the night. Impure metals are discerned by comparing them with that which is pure and perfect in its kind.”

After Paul Washer read that quotation, he said, “I hate to be simplistic.  You grow in holiness by meeting with the Lord in the word of God and prayer. The more you seek Him, the more you will see yourself in light of Him.  For you it is not a fear or a dread in Christ.

“The very One who reveals my sin is the very One who died for my sin.  I cry out,  ‘Help me, help me! — knowing that He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness, he will give us more of His spirit, more of His life.”

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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A Beautiful Sunset: Profane Next to Beauty of God

“All things which God has made on the earth express His glory. His wisdom and goodness, His power and holiness, are seen everywhere. The whole earth, with all its mountains, seas, streams, trees, animals, and people, lay the foundation of His praise,” wrote Albert Barnes, the American Presbyterian minister who died in 1870.

Paul Washer added his thoughts.  The most beautiful sunset, the leaves turning gorgeous colors here in Asheville in the fall – “it is nothing but a profane and twisted spark of the beauty of the Lord that’s awaiting me in heaven.

“I know most of you will go to a homeschool conference upon your death,” Washer noted with sarcasm.  “For me, the beauty of God will capture me wholly. Never to sin again, never an awkward thought.

“If there is any shaking to be done in your lives and the church collectively, it has to be done by a greater comprehension of the holiness of God.  We need to be disintegrated and reconstituted,” said Washer.

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1PZ74Yo;  They will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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Our Sinlessness Results from Valuing His Holiness

 “God is absolutely distinct from all His creatures, wrote Louis Berkhof, the  American-Dutch Reformed theologian who died in 1957.  “This may be called the majestic holiness of God.”

“Lots of people hear the word ‘holy’ and they think ‘sinless,’” explained Paul Washer.  “Think of a woman with her carrots; she cuts and separates.  God is distinct, separate. He is in a category all to Himself.

“That holiness, that distinctiveness is demonstrated by God’s purity, His cleanness.  We need to value God.  It’s not just about our attempt to pursue sinlessness.  Don’t become a nit-picky rule-keeper, a legalist,” warned Washer.

In other words, our sinlessness is an outgrowth of our fresh appreciation of His holiness. We are like the moon in that we reflect the light of the sun.  When we reflect the light of Christ, the Son, we will be holy.

You can watch the keynote sessions of the Highway of Holiness live in Asheville, North Carolina at http://ift.tt/1OdkcJW will be archived for you to view at your leisure over the next 30 days.

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