By John Townend, General Director of The Faith Mission
When I was a young teenager, one summer morning I set off with a petrol can in hand and cycled three miles to the nearest garage. There I paid the carefully saved six shillings and tuppence (31p!) for a gallon of petrol, strapped the full can to the back of my bike and made the return journey. I was impatient to have some fun on the old motorcycle we used in the field behind our home. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that there was a small hole in the bottom of the can and on arriving home was terribly disappointed to find that most of the fuel had seeped away.
It is my experience that we tend to be a little bit like that in our every-day walk with God. It is not that we deliberately reject God’s Word, but we often neglect to put it into action in our lives and over a period of time the blessing and benefit which God intended us to enjoy simply seep away. I understand that Hebrews 2:1 can be accurately translated:
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest over a period of time we should let them ebb away.”
The pressures of every-day life take their toll upon us. If we fail to keep close to God, hide his Word in our hearts and daily seek the fresh anointing of his Holy Spirit upon our lives, we soon find that we are “running on empty”. Instead of knowing “the peace, the joy, the thrill of walking in his will” we become bowed down with care or weary in well-doing; we fail to be the blessing that he intends us to be.
Of course, sometimes the cause of our emptiness is not leakage but blockage. Over thirty years ago, when I was a student at the Bible College, I was deeply challenged while reading the book by S D Gordon entitled Quiet Talks on Power. Using the illustration of a conduit channelling mighty torrents of water from the reservoir to a mill or power station below, he spoke of our lives as being channels through which the Holy Spirit seeks to flow in power, to touch the lives of those around about us. If the conduit is blocked by debris, the water soon ceases to flow and the turbines fail to turn. Likewise, if our lives are tainted with the debris of unforgiven sin, disobedience or an unyielded will, the channel is blocked and the Holy Spirit cannot flow in power and blessing through our lives. That afternoon I quietly bowed to yield my life afresh to God and ask him to forgive me for the blockages that I knew had been preventing the Holy Spirit from flowing through me.
Rivers of Living Water
It is tragic that our natural tendency is to be leaking vessels and blocked channels, when God actually intends that we be rivers of living water to the thirsty men and women around us. In John 7:37–39 Jesus reminds us that to know the fountain of living water we must:
Lucy J Rider summarized this perfectly. In the third verse and chorus of her hymn based on Isaiah 55:1 she penned these words:
Child of the Kingdom be filled with the Spirit!
Nothing but fullness thy longing can meet.
‘Tis the enduement for life and for service;
thine is the promise, so certain, so sweet,
I will pour water on him that is thirsty,
I will pour floods upon the dry ground;
open your heart to the gift I am bringing;
while you are seeking Me, I will be found.
My prayer for The Faith Mission and those who work in it is that God would enable us to be “vessels unto honour” and channels through whom he can flow; that he would bring to our lives those rivers of living water which satisfy our deepest longings and flow out to touch the lives of those we seek to reach.
By Sam Gordon
Three in one! One in three! The trinity!
That is a simple statementof truth. And, yet, how profound. It asserts our commitment to, and belief in, the Trinity. Such a foundational and fundamental doctrine highlights the three Persons in the Godhead as being: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Within the framework of deity each are co-equal, co-eternal and co-existent. In that sense, God is said to be indivisible (cf. Deut. 6:4).
Marvel and Mystery
In many ways, this truth is both a marvel and a mystery. It is something that our finite minds are unable to grasp. Humanly speaking, it is incomprehensible. To try to ascertain its implications, though, we need to go back to the Scriptures. In the revelation God gives of Himself in the Bible, we are led to a clearer understanding of the “three-person’d God”, as John Donne calls Him. It is a truth that is latent in the Old Testament, but most explicit in the New Testament.
For example, the name by which God introduces Himself in Genesis 1 is Elohim. Nouns in Hebrew may be singular, dual, or plural (denoting three or more) in number. Elohim is neither singular nor dual, but plural, and is used here with a singular verb. Therefore, as the Scriptures testify, in creation, God the Father did it, through the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit (cf. Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:2; Psalm 104:30). Thus Scripture commences with a powerful proof of the Trinity in unity.
Again, Matthew 3:16,17 illustrates the truth poignantly at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. We read of the Father speaking from Heaven, the Son being in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him as a dove. Similarly, the baptismal formula recorded in Matthew 28:19,20 verifies and fortifies such an outlook. It is worth noting that the Scriptures do not say, “in the names of …” but “in the name of …” That is, one in three; one Name but three Persons. In fact, the use of the word “and” in this sentence is sufficient to indicate that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. And yet, the unity of God is not broken because they are immersed “in the name of …”
Another passage deserving mention is 2 Corinthians 13:14 where we have the familiar and oft quoted apostolic benediction. Paul invokes all three Persons in his doxology thereby accepting God’s three-ness. However, at the same time, he still maintains God’s one-ness.
Perhaps one final example ought to be given. I refer to the work of salvation. It is clear from such portions as Titus 3:4-6, 1 Peter 1:2, Hebrews 9:14 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 that the Trinity is involved in the divine programme of redemption. Yes, it was the Father’s plan, it was the Son’s death and resurrection, and it is the Spirit’s mission to convince and convict people of their sin and lead them to saving faith. All three are working together to bring to fruition the eternal counsel of Providence.
It therefore follows from the illustrations cited that there is an order in the Godhead. However, there is no difference in rank. None are superior and consequently none are inferior. Even though we speak of the Father being first, the Son second, and the Holy Spirit third, we are only recognising the harmonious relationship which exists between the Persons of the Godhead.
As believers, we are committed to the truth of the Trinity. It is the base upon which every distinctive gospel doctrine rests. Without it the other doctrines cease to mean anything. It is the bedrock. It is the triune God who has saved us, keeps us, and whose company we shall enjoy forever in Heaven. Then our understanding will be complete! Until then, may we be like the seraphim before His throne. Three times we say ‘holy’ for He is three. Yet we say, ‘holy, holy, holy IS the Lord of hosts’ for He is one!
Almighty God, to Thee
Be endless honours done,
The undivided Three,
And the mysterious One.
Where reason fails, with all her powers,
There faith prevails and love adores.
– Isaac Watts
Sam Gordon is an author and Bible teacher. When he wrote this, Sam was a broadcaster with Trans World Radio UK. Now he is Director of Ministries with The Messianic Testimony
PHOTO by Anissa Belkheir, BelgiumThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine January/February 2007
We often learn the most from our children. Some time ago a friend of mine punished his three 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, ‘This is for you, Daddy.’
He was embarrassed by his earlier over-reaction, but his anger flared again when he found that the box was empty. He yelled at her, ‘Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside of it?’ The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, ‘Oh Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy.’
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her forgiveness. My friend told me that he kept that gold box by his bed for years. Whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there. In a very real sense, each of us as parents has been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
I cringe when I think of the times I have done something similar. Between all the fussing and the disciplining, I sometimes need to stop and remember what a treasure my children are (all three of them!), and how thankful I am to God for blessing me through them.
‘Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is His reward.’ (Psalm 127:3)
- Author unknownThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine November/December 2007