From Your Pastor: John Flavel on Six Ways to Keep Your Heart before God

John Flavel: Six Ways to Keep Your Heart before God [1]


“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this…” (1 Tim. 4:16a); And… “Is it I, Lord?” (Mark 14:19)

1. Converse with your heart. Listen to what it is saying, both evil and good. Where is it disputing with God? Where is it joyful? What is making it joyful? Where is it angry, vengeful, bitter, lusting? What is it resisting, fearing, loving too much?

  • “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
  • “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – Psalm 139:23-24

2. Let the evils of your hearts grieve and humble you. God allows us to see the evil that still remains in our hearts to humble us, and to make us more dependent upon Him. Where can self-righteousness and pride spread out in your heart, when you see the evil that still remains, and your desperate need of God’s grace in Christ?!

  • “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
  • “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?!” – Romans 7:24
  • “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” – John 21:17

3. Pray for grace. This is what we need, isn’t it—more grace??! There’s a place for guilt when we see the evils of our sin, so that we will not be tempted to think that we are without sin, or have no real conflict on our hands, and we can confess our sins, knowing He is faithful and just to forgive us and restore us.

  • “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret…” – 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:8-9

4. Resolve to walk more carefully God. We are here on this earth ultimately for God’s glory and the enjoyment of Him. When we see the deeper needs we have for Him, let us seek to repent of our indifference, apathy, and ingratitude, and seek to live soberly, and to watch and pray.

  • “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you…” – Job 42:5
  • “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14:38
  • “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” – Luke 21:34

5. Be jealous (zealous!) for holiness and afraid of sin. Pursue holiness, stretching forth yourself agonizingly, reaching to the goal of taking hold of Christ Jesus more completely in your life, because He has taken hold of you! Remember that each sin has enough danger in each drop of sin to ignite all of hell on fire, to provoke God to manifest His just and eternal wrath, and to destroy lives and people.

  • “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” – Hebrews 12:14
  • “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14

6. Be aware of God’s omniscience. Be the same person publicly that you are privately, because the same God sees all things. Let Him be pleased by your life in Christ. You are a His child in Christ, and He wants to say: “This is my Beloved Son,” not only with regard to your justification, but also in the fruits of your sanctification.

  • “The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man…” – Psalm 33:13
  • “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.” – Job 34:21


In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs


[1] I have added commentary and relevant scripture passages to meditate upon. – Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: Richard Sibbes on “Entertaining the Holy Spirit”

There is nothing good in man by nature (Rom. 3:10-23). The Holy Spirit is sent from the risen-ascended Christ to make believing men good (Acts 2:33-36). The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to come and live within believers and to conform them to Christ’s likeness (Rom. 8:29). The Holy Spirit is particularly the “Spirit of Holiness” (cf. Rom. 1:4); Christ’s Spirit is the cause of all holiness in the believer.

Richared Sibbes (1577-1635) wrote “That attribute the Spirit delights in is that of holiness, which our corrupt nature least delights in and most opposeth.”[1] Man was created by God with a desire by nature for holiness, and a desire for happiness. After the fall of man into sin and rebellion against God man still seeks after happiness, but the desire for holiness has been extinguished.[2] The Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in believers to oppose the flesh and fallen nature of man to produce Christ-likeness that brings deep and lasting happiness to the believer.

Sibbes wrote, “Let us labor to be in Christ that we may get the Spirit. It is of great necessity that we should have it (“Him”). Above all things next to redemption by Christ, labor for the Spirit of Christ, Sibbes persuaded believers.”[3] Sibbes taught that the primary ministry of the Spirit of Christ was to enlighten believer’s minds, to soften their hearts, to quicken their wills to faith and action, and to sanctify God’s people.[4] The Spirit’s ministry is a sanctifying ministry, but wonderfully relational as well. God communicates Himself to believers, and believers through the Spirit communicate their hearts back to Him. Without Christ, there could be no Holy Spirit for the believer; without the Spirit there could be no union with Christ and enjoyment of His benefits. Without the Spirit, there could be no real communion with God in Christ.

All the communion that Christ as man had with God was by the Holy Ghost; and all the communion that God hath with us, and we with God, is by the Holy Ghost: for the Spirit is the bond of union between Christ and us, and between God and us.[5]

Sibbes wrote that “God communicates Himself to us by His Spirit, and we communicate with God by His Spirit. God does all in us by His Spirit, and we do all back again to God by His Spirit.[6] Sibbes wrote: “There is nothing in the world so great and sweet a friend that will do us so much good as the Spirit, if we give Him entertainment.”[7]

The Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to conform believers to the obedience of Christ as a Holy friend with whom to walk and talk in fellowship together. So for Sibbes, “entertaining the Spirit” is being careful and cautious not to grieve the Spirit of God (cf. Eph. 4:30). To put it positively, “entertaining the Spirit” is to subject ourselves to Christ as Lord and kind king as believers. It is treating the Spirit as a kind friend as well as a king (cf. Malachi 1:6) who has brought glorious and holy fellowship from the Father and the Son to redeemed sinners (cf. 2 Cor. 13:14). Sibbes wrote summarizing his understanding of entertaining the Spirit:

…There is the obedience of faith, and the obedience of life. When the soul is wrought to obedience, to believe, and to be directed by God, then the Holy Spirit is given in a farther measure still. The Holy Ghost is given to them that obey, to them that do not resist the Spirit of God….the Spirit is given to them that obey the sweet motions of it…If we have the Spirit of Christ, let us labor to subject ourselves unto it. When we have any good motion by the ministry of the Word, or by conference, or by reading good things (as holy things have a savor in them…)…Oh, give way to the motions of God’s Spirit! (my emphasis)[8]

The obedience that the Holy Spirit equips believers with is no mere morality, or outward show of behavior resulting in hypocrisy, but an inward disposition of particularly “cheerful obedience”. The believer is to be stirred up by the Spirit, motivated by the love of God in Christ that will encourage her to obey the Savior who has loved them and laid down His life for them. Sibbes was cautious to avoid bare moralism that was an unbiblical error of his time. Sibbes emphasized that believers’ love because they have first been loved by God in Christ (cf. 1 John 4:11-19). Sibbes wrote pastorally for believers to understand that the love of God must be the believer’s motivation in all that they do for God if it be true, Christian obedience:

Whatsoever we do else, if it be not stirred by the Spirit, apprehending the love of God in Christ, it is but morality…What are all our performances if they be not out of love to God? And how shall we love God except we be persuaded that he loves us first? …The gospel breeds love in us to God…working a blessed frame of sanctification, whereby we are disposed to every good duty.[9]

“Let the Spirit dwell and rule in us,” captures in summary what it mean for Sibbes for believers to entertain the Spirit of God.[10] Sibbes sweetly called the Spirit the “Blessed Lodger that ever we entertained in all of our lives.”[11] For Sibbes, that entertaining meant to welcome with hospitality and nurture our friendship with the indwelling Spirit.” This relationship with the Holy Spirit as the believer’s holy guest was subject to a deepening and ever-intensifying growth in the love and peace of God. The more the believer seeks to let the Spirit guide, comfort, conform, edify, and guard the soul from sinning, Christ will desire by His Spirit to develop the believer’s soul more maturely and deeply (Eph. 3:17-19). Sibbes wrote, “Christ desires further entertainment in his church’s heart and affection, that he might lodge and dwell there.”[12]

Entertaining the Holy Spirit also meant for Sibbes a further subduing of sinful corruption in the soul, and an enlarging of God’s grace and comfort in the heart:

Let us remember that grace is increased, in the exercise of it, not by virtue of the exercise itself, but as Christ by his Spirit flows into the soul and brings us nearer to himself, the fountain, so instilling such comfort that the heart is further enlarged. The heart of a Christian is Christ’s garden, and his graces are as so many sweet spices and flowers which, when his Spirit blows upon them, send forth a sweet savor…Therefore keep the soul open to entertain the Holy Ghost , for he will bring in continually fresh forces to subdue corruption, and this most of all on the Lord’s day (my emphasis).[13]

Because the souls of believers are still contaminated by sin (Rom. 7:7-25), they are to trust Christ to further subdue the corruption, thus enlarging the believer’s heart, and making the soul a more pleasant and holy place for Christ to dwell. This is to be obtained by prayer to God in Jesus’ name. Entertaining the Spirit meant for Sibbes never to grieve the Holy Spirit of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:30). Sibbes plead with God’s people: “Oh give him entrance and way to come into his own chamber, as it were to provide a room for himself.”[14] Believers can grieve the Spirit when they resist his teaching, direction, strengthening, and/or comfort from Him.[15] When believers receive the delight and comfort brought to them by the Spirit, they entertain his motions of grace and comfort toward them, but when they refuse Him, they grieve Him, and sin against Him.[16] Sibbes taught realistically that the best of believers are prone to grieve the Spirit. Believers who have the Spirit of God within them know experientially that there is an enmity within and without against the workings of the Spirit.[17]

Sibbes taught that believers should remember that the Spirit is a Spirit of Holiness and so he “is grieved with unclean courses, with unclean motions and words and actions.”[18] The Spirit is a Spirit of Love and so he is grieved when believers cherish malice or corruption against other Christians. “He will not rest in a malicious heart who is the Spirit of Love.”[19] There must not be any rottenness or malice that is practiced and performed in the hearts of believers. The Spirit is a Spirit of Humility and wheresover He is, there is humility. Those that are filled with vain and high thoughts, proud conceits, and self-centeredness grieve the Spirit of God (cf. James 4:6-8).[20] The Spirit of God is especially grieved by spiritual wicked sins such as pride and high-mindedness, perhaps even more so offended than by sins against the body, Sibbes taught. Grieving the Spirit can also be a disregard of a well-informed, Biblically-enriched conscience. Sins against conscience can grieve this wonderful Spirit if Christ, and “lay a clog upon Him” as Sibbes says colorfully.[21]

The primary goal of the Christian life is to please Christ (2 Cor. 5:9-10), and to enjoy comfort in Him, being equipped with gifts for loving service by the Holy Spirit.[22] We can grieve the Spirit and not properly entertain His sweet and comforting work in and through us when we are distracted by worldly things, and prefer creaturely, created things, more than “His motions leading us to holiness and happiness”.[23] When the mind is troubled with much (as Martha in Luke 10:38-42), then the Spirit is grieved. Especially in our time, believers ought to heed the wisdom of Sibbes here:

…When the soul is like a mill [or loud industrial warehouse], where one cannot hear another, the noise is such as takes away all intercourse. It diminishes of our respect to the Holy Spirit when we give way to a multitude of business (what we would call “busyness”); for multitude of business (“busyness”) begets multitude of passions and distractions; that when God’s Spirit dictates the best things that tend to our comfort and peace, we have no time to heed what the Spirit advises. Therefore we should so moderate our occasions and affairs, that we may be always ready for good suggestions. If a man will be lost, let him lose himself in Christ and in the things of heaven…(my emphasis).[24]

Because the primary office of the Spirit is to “set out Christ, and the favor and mercy of God in Christ,”[25] let believers never slight the good news of Christ in the Gospel. Let God’s people receive God’s grace in Christ as He is held out to them, especially in preaching. Sibbes counseled that eagerness to hear God’s Word preached by God’s called, gifted and ordained ambassadors was a primary way to make “way for God in the heart” and so he said: “Give [the preachers] entertainment.”[26] Sibbes emphasized not only the work of the Spirit within the believer, but the Spirit’s work through the means appointed by God, particularly preaching.

More on Richard Sibbes in the weeks to come… More on preaching and the Spirit of God…

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was affectionately known as the “Sweet Dropper” as a Puritan preacher.[27] He has been distinguished among the Puritans as the “Heavenly” Dr. Sibbes because he was famous for his affective spirituality.[28] Affective spirituality is a focus on the affections or the desires as they are transformed by the Spirit of God motivating believers to joyful obedience in Christ.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs



[1] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:412

[2] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:413

[3] Sibbes, Excellency of the Gospel in Works, IV:212

[4] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:413

[5] Sibbes, A Description of Christ in Works, I:17

[6] Sibbes, A Description of Christ in Works, I:17-18

[7] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:431

[8] Sibbes, A Description of Christ in Works, I:24-25

[9] Sibbes, A Description of Christ in Works, I:24

[10] Sibbes, A Description of Christ in Works, I:25

[11] Sibbes, A Description of Christ in Works, I:25

[12] Sibbes, Bowels Opened in Works, II:58

[13] Sibbes, The Bruised Reed in Works, I:75

[14] Sibbes, Excellency of the Gospel in Works, IV:236

[15] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:415; Sibbes gave advice on specifically how to avoid the grieving of the Spirit. 1. Let believers submit our souls entirely to the Spirit of God as Divine Governor. 2. Let believers walk perfectly (“precisely”) in obeying the Spirit in all things.

[16] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:415

[17] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:414

[18] Sibbes, Excellency of the Gospel in Works, IV:236

[19] Sibbes, Excellency of the Gospel in Works, IV:237

[20] Sibbes, Excellency of the Gospel in Works, IV:237

[21] Sibbes, Excellency of the Gospel in Works, IV:237

[22] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:414

[23] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:416

[24] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:422

[25] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:420

[26] Sibbes, A Fountain Sealed in Works, V:426

[27] Packer, J. I. A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 179.

[28] Kapic, Kelly M. and Gleason, Randall C., Edited. The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 79.

Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q30 (Part 2)

Question: WSC 30, Part 2: How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

Answer: The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.


More on Union with Christ

Scripture Memory: ESV Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


An Explanation:* “Uniting us to Christ…” Union with Christ is the fount from which all blessings of eternity and time flow forth by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3-14). Christ is the Reservoir of all blessing from the Father through the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:9). Believers have union and communion with Christ in grace and glory (WLC, 65-66). What are the practical implications of our union?

  1. The church has union with Christ in the Father’s eternal election. This is a union that precedes our birth and conversion, back into the eternal electing mercies of God. Union with Christ includes union in eternity, in history in the fullness of the times, and the Spirit’s union in the application of our salvation. This covenant theology recognizes that union with Christ is not merely a present experience, but an eternal reality in the plan of God. A covenant of grace was made with Christ as the Second Adam, and all the elect in Him as His seed (Heb. 13:20-21).
  2. The church has union with Christ in the Son’s incarnation. No higher honor was given to humanity than when God the Son took our nature into permanent union with God. The purpose of Christ’s incarnation is particularly His priestly office and work to make propitiation for His people, and intercede for them (Heb. 1:1-2; 2:17; 7:25). The incarnation forms a necessary link with Christ, so that we might have His righteousness to us. Christ joins with us in our nature and this incarnational union makes possible all of the righteousness that He earned and will give to us as we receive it by faith. Only those who are sanctified in Christ can all ourselves “brethren” of God’s Son (Heb. 2:11). This is important as part of God’s promise of being “with us”; the incarnational union impresses upon us that He is not merely God for us, but God with us.
  3. The church has union with Christ in His death, resurrection, and ascension. This is particularly Paul’s theme in his writings (Rom. 6-8). We died with Christ on the cross, were buried with Him, rose from the dead with Him, seated with Him in Heavenly Places, etc (Col. 3:1-4; Gal. 2:20). All of the believer’s experiences of saving faith flow from his union with Christ in these great, redemptive-historical events. Whatever Christ did and received, belong to us as God’s children. As believers, we should count all of these blessings as our own possessions. This union with Christ is an abiding reality that believers must live out of by faith. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “One died for all, then all died, therefore we should live not for ourselves, but for Him who died and has risen from the dead.” Christians died with Christ 2000 years ago with Christ on the cross, but we experientially live this out being transformed in time by God’s Spirit.
  4. The church has union with Christ in the Spirit’s works of personal salvation. The Spirit establishes a vital union with Christ through effectual calling and regeneration. We are in space and time united to Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:30, Paul wrote: Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Freedom from condemnation belongs to those who are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8). The Spirit of Life liberates us from sin to live for Christ.
  5. Communion with God in love flows out of union. Spirit, faith, and love are the three “chains of union” (William Ames). The Spirit from God to unites us; faith from us to unite us; love to give ourselves wholly to Christ as His Beloved. All that Christ has or has done is ours by faith in Christ Jesus. The Christian is a fruitful branch, an eating and drinking guest at the banquet, a beloved bride, clothed in His righteousness and glory. All these will be realized at the Consummation of all things, and we will live blessedly (Rev. 19:7ff; 21:1ff)! We shall have total, unhindered, intimacy with Christ in heaven for all eternity! We shall realize fully the Lord’s love for His bride!

* Compiled from Dr. J. R. Beeke’s lectures on soteriology.


A Prayer: Thank you, dear Jesus, that you loved me and gave yourself for me. I am grateful to confess: “I am crucified with Christ…and the life I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20).


In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs


“Where Are You?” – The Questions God Asks Us

Word of Encouragement- Week Ending Feb. 11th, 2012

Series: The Questions God Asks Us

“Where are you?”


“But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” – ESV Genesis 3:9

“Where are you?” is the first question in the Bible. Interestingly, it is the first question that God utters to mankind. The first question in the Bible teaches us that God seeks to ask His people questions. But why?

God is omniscient and that means He knows all things. Why then would He ask us questions? Doesn’t He already know the answer?

The questions that God asks are not so much for His sake as they are for us. God wants to draw us near to Himself, and to search and know us. God delights in His children coming to Him and hearing Him as He speaks by His Spirit through His Word. He wants to speak to us, and for us to learn to listen to Him (Deut. 6:4; Prov. 2:1ff).

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they had gone their own way. They had lived according to their own plans, and done what was right in their own eyes (Much like we often do! Gen. 3:1-7). They had willingly broken fellowship and communion with God. Rather than truly listening and learning from their wonderful Creator and LORD, they chose to do their own will.

Yet God graciously came to our first parents, and sought them out, even when they were not looking for Him! The Bible tells us that God came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). Rather than join God for fellowship as would have been their normal practice and delight, Adam and Eve actually sought to hide from God because of the fear and shame that sin produces. Sin may cause us to hide from God, but in His mercy God seeks after His own.

Satan, sin and shame may drive us away from God, but God intends by grace to draw His dear children near to Him! (John 6:37, 44; James 4:8).

John Calvin wrote: “No one will dedicate himself to God until he be drawn by His goodness, and embrace Him with all his heart. He must therefore call us to Him before we call upon Him; we can have no access till He first invites us…allured and delighted by the goodness of God.”

What grace we behold in God coming to speak to the hearts of our first parents- -and to our hearts today!

God comes to us and asks us the question “Where are you?” so that we can see our need for Him and turn to Him and be restored from our sinfulness. God graciously promises His people that if we will turn to Him, He promises that He will have mercy on us and forgive us. God desires to restore His relationship to mankind that was broken by the fall. God desires to restore you to communion with Him right now.

Ultimately, God asks us the question of “Where are you?” so that we will be brought to see our sins and repent of them, finding grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16).

Dearly beloved of God, do you allow God to ask you this question each day? Listen to His voice: “Where are you?” Where are you today? Where are you in your relationship to God? Are you walking with God, acknowledging His presence? Honestly, where are you? Are you hiding from God? Are Satan, sin and shame driving you from God?

Where is your heart? God is everywhere present, but are you acknowledging His presence and living in His strength? When He knocks on the door of your heart do you answer? (Revelation 3:20). Are you near God today? Are you trying to hide from God?

The question of “Where are you?” put to us by God in the beginning, and then spoken to us every time we seek to read and meditate upon His Word, to hear from Him and to pray, is the same question that was also in the Lord Jesus’ mouth:

Jesus was forsaken on the cross, abandoned as a cursed thing because although He had not committed any sins or transgressions Himself, the LORD had laid our iniquities upon Him.

In our place condemned He stood! This is our Beloved Savior, perfect and sinless as the Lamb of God, and as He who knew no sin because sin for us, so Jesus cries out in dereliction on the cross:

“Where are you?”

Or, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

Or, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus was made to be sin, having our sins imputed to Him, so that we would receive His righteousness by faith alone and boldly draw near to God.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – ESV 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus reconciled us to God, and has given us access to all of our dear Heavenly Father’s questions. Let us hear Him, let us listen, and let us respond with faith and obedience because of what Christ has done for us!

Dear Beloved in Jesus Christ, God asks us ‘Where are you?’ because God desires to search us and examine our hearts by His most Holy Word and Spirit. Do not run Him! Do not run away and be driven from your only hope for joy and salvation! God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves, to show us our sins, and the habits that only bring hurt and harm to ourselves and others, so that we might repent, and find a deeper, closer relationship with our loving Lord Jesus.

Consider this question to you today: “Where are you?” Are you near to God? Draw near to God in Jesus Christ because He died for you, and He promises to draw near to you.

When you read your Bibles, and meditate thoughtfully on Scripture, let God ask you over and over: “Where are you?” And then be honest with Him…and yourself. Let his be your prayer:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – ESV Psalm 139:23-24

Don’t try to hide from God. Draw near to God in Jesus Christ. Let God be your hiding place and home.

“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.” – ESV Psalm 32:7

“Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” – ESV John 14:23

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

“Fall Down at the Savior’s Feet”

“Fall Down at the Savior’s Feet” – Luke 8:40-56


What makes us fall down? The weight of something can make us fall down. We fall down and stumble sometimes because we are careless and frail. What makes us fall down before God?


Our need.


His great power and glory.


The weight of our need for Jesus, and the weight of our realization of His power and glory, and the weight of His kind and merciful willingness to take time to heal us. This makes us fall down at his feet.


Let us worship Jesus. Right now, fall down, and seek Him who calls out to you, and promises to you all that you will ever need in Him. Fall down at Jesus’ feet and find what you need in Jesus, where you can get nowhere else. Go to Him and worship


In Luke 8:40-56, two people fall down at Jesus’ feet because they have great need of Jesus and His healing power. One person who falls down in Jesus’ presence is Jairus, an important person in his day, a synagogue ruler. Another person who fell down in Jesus’ presence was just a nameless common woman described as “a woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years” (Luke 8:43). Read Luke 8:40-56.


Jairus, the important man, and the nameless common woman both had desperate needs, and it didn’t matter the social or economical position that they held in this world. When death came calling, both of them knew that only Jesus could bring healing and help.


And death came calling. In Jairus’ home, Jairus’ dear and **only** daughter was dying. His only daughter (about twelve years of age) was dying; he was losing what was most important to him in this world; the little girl would no longer bless him with her smiles, giggles, hugs, and wretched death would steal her presence from his home forever! (Luke 8:42).


Jairus went to Jesus because all of his importance, all of his religious and social standing, did not matter at this moment. He was a frail man in the face of death, with absolutely no power to save the dear one who meant the most to him in the whole world! He goes to Jesus. Amen! Go to Jesus right now for help.


Jairus goes to Jesus, and “falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house…” (8:41). Jairus implored Jesus. The word “implore” is from the verb parakaleo the same verb used of the Holy Spirit as being one called along side. The term here is being used to show that this important man was begging Jesus with all of his might to do the impossible: reverse death’s awful threat upon his daughter’s life! Jairus is praying fervently. Jairus prays by the Spirit for his daughter to be healed.


In the nameless common woman’s life, she had spent all she had in this world (and it was probably very little) to get well. We are told that “she had spent all her living on physicians” (8:43). No one could help her; no one (not a soul could help her) (8:44). All of the professional advice, wisdom, and medical help she sought could not save her from this slow discharge of blood that would eventually kill her. Death was creeping up on her and robbing her of life.


This woman, with all of the faith she could muster rushes through the crowds to Jesus and touches the fringe of Jesus’ garment. Don’t let anything hinder you from seeking the healing that only Jesus can give. Go and find at least his outer garment to touch. Get as near as you can!!


Just the outer edges of Jesus’ presence will heal sinners! Don’t you see, go to Jesus, touch whatever you can, reach as far as you’re able, with whatever faith you can muster. You may have a little faith, and little hope to get to Jesus, but you’re reaching for a great and powerful CHRIST!


Power went out from Jesus when this dear weak and nameless woman touched Him. We are told “she came up behind HIM and touched the fringe of His garment and immediately her discharge of blood ceased” (8:44) – -and she was immediately healed (8:45-48).


In the face of Jesus Christ, the nightmare of death is over. Jesus brings life.


A little faith, perhaps a very small hope that anyone could ever help her, but this nameless common woman took hold of a GREAT CHRIST. And when this woman felt the weight of God’s glory in Jesus Christ, and the power of his LIFE, she came “trembling and falling down before him” (8:47).


She fell down to worship Christ, to honor the only hope for those dying! We find in Christ the only one who can help us in our time of need!


And her faith in Jesus healed and saved her (8:48). Although she is nameless and common, she is a “daughter” to the living God. Jesus says to her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” The woman’s faith in Jesus showed her to be a true daughter of the Living God, heirs to the life that is found in Jesus. She goes in peace, having found her hope of life in Christ.


But while Jesus was healing this nameless common woman, Jairus’ daugther had grown worse in the meantime, and news came to Jesus that Jairus’ daughter has died. They came with the news: “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher anymore” (8:49).


This is an example of a faithless people, who do not understand that when Jesus is present to faith there is no threat of death. “Let’s not trouble Jesus with things that he cannot do,” they say. We also think this way sometimes functionally even as Christians. Whereas the nameless common woman was at least willing to give Jesus a try with the little faith she had, these folks are unwilling to even ask?!


Such prayerless and hopeless people we can be sometimes—even when Jesus promises that He is with us!


But Jesus is gracious to even the prayerless and hopeless, and He speaks Gospel words of comfort into Jairus’ life; Jairus (and all in his home) heard life-giving, Holy-Spiritual empowered words come forth from the lips of the Savior. Jesus told Jairus confidently as the Lord of Life and Death:


“Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”


We often will listen to fear and look to circumstances before we look to Christ and hear His words of promise to us!


What confidence believers can have when facing Jesus Christ. When we look to Jesus and hear His Gospel-drenched, gracious words of power and kindness, all of our fears can be relieved. Our faith, while it may be small, takes hold of a GREAT CHRIST, who can do things that we can’t even conceive or imagination- -so great is His grace and power (Eph. 3:20-21).


And this causes us to fall down beneath the weight of his majesty and power, and we worship Him, too. Worship Him now. Thank Jesus for calming all of your fears; for being your Savior and promising to never leave you nor forsake you. Turn now from what you fear the most, bask in His goodness, mercy and kind presence (Heb. 4:14-16), the go back to face that which seemed so insurmountable, and find grace and comfort.


Jesus reaches Jairus’ home and there are many mourners present. Jesus brings words of comfort for those who have ears to hear. While there is the sound of weeping and mourning, Jesus speaks peaceful words of grace: “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping” (8:52).


Even in the midst of sadness, Jesus’ words can bring hope.


But the folks at Jairus’ home laughed at him (8:53- How did they go so quickly from mourning and weeping to laughing?!!). Do you laugh at God’s Word, or do you simply believe what He says to you? Do you live functionally like these people laughing inwardly, sneering, seeking to lean on your own strength, while laughing at others who take God’s words seriously?


Do you laugh rather than fall at Jesus’ feet? Behold the glory of God:


In the face of Jesus Christ we behold that the nightmare of death is over (see also John 11:40).


Jesus doesn’t rebuke the people for laughing; he doesn’t let the folks with unbelief bother him in the least bit. No, he goes to the one who needs Him. And he will find you who are in need too…


Jesus goes to the child. We are told: “But taking her by the hand he called, saying ‘Child, arise’” (8:54). Jesus is so gentle and merciful. He takes the dead little girl, the **only** daughter of Jairus, the precious daughter of Jairus, by the hand, and she speaks words of power and life to her.


But in the face of Jesus, death is only sleeping.


Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Death cannot abide in His powerful presence, and this is a reason for us to fall down before Him. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Life!


Jesus speaks to the child a command; Jesus’ words of command have power even over the dead. Jesus commands the child to arise (8:54). We are told then that “And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat” (8:55).


Death had not only separated Jairus from the love and presence of his beloved only daughter, but death had separated Jairus’ daughters’ spirit from her body.


Death is an horrific and evil intruder in God’s creation. Death is not the way it should have been; we must never say that death is just a part of life. Death is because of the sin of man against God, and the just penalty of God for disobedience to His Word.


God does not leave man in fear of death (Heb. 2:14-18). God becomes a man, and becomes subject to the weakness and sin and misery of this life characterized by death, and even undergoes death Himself on behalf of those who believe. God becomes man and dies under the curse of death so that we might be forgiven of our many sins against God, so that we might be reconciled to God and never separted from Him, so that we might be healed of death, and so that we might never be separated from our loved ones again!


This is the hope of those who believe in Christ. Christ has taken the death penalty for our sins. He paid the infinite price of eternal death in our place on the cross. Jesus was forsaken by His father, separated from communion with God, and his body and spirit were separated in death for all who believe. Jesus Christ has been in the tomb , under the power of death, and He has risen victorious as the King of kings and Lord of Life!


In Jesus’ resurrection, we see our hope of sins forgiven, death abolished, and a life with God and our loved ones for all eternity. This is the hope we anticipate as Christians (Revelation 21:1-7). God will dwell with us forever, and we will live with Him and all our loved ones never to be separated by death.  We rejoice that when Christ returns the final enemy will be defeated which is death itself. There will be no more death soon and very soon!  “The last enemy to be destroyed [at Christ’s second coming] is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26).


Death is a problem that only Jesus Christ can fix by His power and grace. Only Jesus can bring together and unify eternally loved ones who are separated by death, and spirits separated from bodies. And death becomes sleep in Jesus’ presence. What a picture here of Jesus’ care of all who believe.


Jesus finds His beloved people in our weakness and death, and he comes to us, takes us gently and mercifully by our hands, and speaks life to us. We arise and find healing from our sins in His presence and we behold His face.


When we face death as believers, Jesus may heal us as he did the nameless and common woman. But usually when we face death, we actually die as Jairus’ daughter; we close our eyes as in sleep. For believers in Jesus, death is just like a sleep; a short nap. This is the important point.


Like Jairus’ daughter dying, our dying is very similar. Jesus reaches down into death and draws up back into life. Jesus reaches through into this dimension characterized by sin and misery and death, and brings life to us by taking us permanently into His wonderful and blessed presence.


And we live forever beholding His face! When we die, or when our loved ones die in the Lord, we can be confident that although we are separated from them for a season, they are not separated from Jesus Christ! Although their spirits and bodies be separated and await the union of both on the resurrection on the Last Day, nevertheless, they are not separated from the blissful presence of the Lord Jesus.


And they through death will stare and behold, like Jairus’ daughter, into the glorious and merciful face of their precious Savior. And they will be fully healed because of His power. They will be rescued and saved from a world of sin and misery characterized by death.


This is our hope in Jesus Christ!


When we die, and when those we love die, let us be reminded and comforted of these truths. That death is like sleep in that we close our eyes from this world to open our eyes and to awake fully alive and well and healed staring and beholding the face of Jesus Christ.


When Jairus’ daughter awoke from her death, you can imagine how she would have never forgotten Jesus’ precious face. To remember that glorious face all the days of her life would have given her hope in the death she would die again. But the next time she would die, she would know that the same Jesus Christ who healed her once, would do it again- -but the next time for all eternity! This is written for us to know this and believe.


Don’t forget this face. Don’t forget the face of Jesus Christ. Once he has healed you, you will never see anything more beautiful and glorious again!


Behold the face of Jesus Christ in life and death.


Fall down and worship Him!


Encourage and comfort one another with these words of the Apostle Paul concerning death from 1 Thessalonians. The Apostle Paul teaches the doctrinal truth of what Luke’s Gospel shows to us in the sleep of Jairus’ daughter:


ESV 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Fall down and worship before Him!


Find life in Christ alone.


You and I need Him so desperately. Whether you’re an important person or a nameless common person, fall down and find hope and healing in Christ alone.


In Christ’s love,


Pastor Charles- “The Vicar” (I was affectionately known as ‘the Vicar” to John Connor)


This Word of Encouragement is dedicated to my friend and brother John Curtis Connor who recently closed his eyes in this world, to open his eyes in the presence of the Lord Jesus. I am grateful for John’s life, and hopeful in Christ for his death.

Communion with God

Word of Encouragement

The following is a digest of John Owen’s excellent work entitled ‘Communion with the Triune God’ for those who may not have the time to read it right now but would like to benefit from the rich teaching.


John Owen on ‘Communion with God’ (Excerpts from his book and a digest of the truths therein).


How do I have communion with God? To experience communion with God we must first be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ brings us into fellowship with the Triune God. Jesus reveals God to us and by His Spirit unites us to God. In God, we can have wonderful communion and fellowship with the Eternal God.


“…Our fellowship (communion) is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”- 1 John 1:3-4


Owen wrote: “To experience communion with God there needs to be fellowship and communication: shared affections, response, delight, and satisfaction. Communion is active communion of giving and receiving.”


We have the privilege in Christ to seek God and to find Him. And to find in God one we can share our thoughts, read and meditate upon His words to us and delight and be satisfied by this fellowship. Like the most intimate relationships we have on earth, true communion is to share oneself; it is to enjoy one another; it is to delight and be satisfied. Isn’t is an amazing truth that the God of the universe whom we by nature have offended with our sins, has sought us out in Christ to have intimate fellowship and relationship with us?!


We were created for fellowship with God. Only in God do we find what our hearts are ultimately desire; God alone satisfies our souls. God gives by His Spirit through His Word and we receive from Him the grace to live on Him and in Him.


The Spirit of God by His grace makes possible our communion with God. The Spirit of God is particularly the One who is sent as Sanctifier and Comforter of God’s people in Christ (John 14-16). The Spirit brings life from our deadened hearts, and unites us with Jesus Christ so that we might have fellowship and communion with God.


Owen wrote: “The Spirit as Sanctifier comes with power, to conquer an unbelieving heart; the Spirit as Comforter comes with sweetness to be received in a believing heart.”


The Spirit not only enables us to have communion with the Triune God, but He makes us desire communion as we seek after Him. The Spirit makes our communion sweet.  Whatever rules over our affections, rules our emotions and thoughts and will. What we love the most; what is most sweet to us is what will rule the entire person.


But as Christians in this world, we still struggle against our sins, and so we must by faith seek the Spirit’s help in our communion with God. Our flesh will fight against us (“war against us” Gal. 5:16), and prevent us from doing what we desire in seeking God (Gal. 5:16-26; Romans 7:13ff).  As we realize this inward conflict, we must seek Christ all the more for help by His Spirit. For those who recognize their emptiness and need, the Spirit takes us to Christ.


Owen wrote: “Assure yourself then, there is nothing more acceptable unto the Father, than for us to keep up our hearts unto Him as the Eternal Fountain of all that rich grace which flows out to sinners in the blood of Jesus.”


We have a constant, daily need for the grace of Christ. We are dependent upon Him for all things, and we submit humbly to Jesus for a greater and deeper communion with God. Our flesh will try to seek satisfaction from worldly things, even lawful worldly things, but we must never forget that God alone is the one who can satisfy the deepest longings of our soul.  We must keep our hearts unto Him by His gracious Spirit, as we reflect on the death of Christ and the mercy God has shown to us in Him.


By nature, God is far from us, therefore we must always think of God’s divine attributes, or the truths about God, through the lens of Christ. We can be confident that in Christ as our Mediator, we will always receive mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). Christ gives us confidence before God, and in Christ we can know that God is for us.


As sinful people, we learn in creation that God is above us (Rom. 1:19ff); in the Law we learn that God is against us (Rom. 8:3-4); in Christ Jesus we learn by God’s Spirit that God is for us and if God is for us, who can be against us?! (Romans 8:31).  How are we to be confident and sure that God is for us in Christ? We have confidence by the fact that Jesus who died for sinners is also raised for us and seated at God’s right hand. God has received a down-payment of our flesh in heaven, and so has sent a down-payment of heaven to us by His Spirit.


Owen wrote: “For as God has given us the earnest (down payment) of His Spirit, so Has He received from us the earnest of the flesh, and has carried it with Him into heaven as a pledge of that completed entirety which is one day to be restored.”


This means that the Spirit takes from Christ and gives to us in our humanity all that we need for life and godliness. Christ satisfies our souls. The Spirit enables us to live for Christ and strengthens us against sin by taking from the glorified humanity of Jesus in heaven. The Spirit is a down-payment now of the full and eternal communion that awaits us for all eternity. We can have a part of eternity now as God has poured out His Spirit into our hearts and grants us His loving presence (Romans 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:21-22).


How does God draw us into close communion with Him by His Spirit? By teaching us of His loving thoughts toward us. God reveals His love to us so that we can delight in Him. Everything that Jesus did in His life, death, resurrection, and is doing in His ascended Heavenly ministry at God’s right, is for us, for His beloved.


Owen wrote: “From eternity He had thoughts of what He would do for us, and delighted Himself therein. And when Jesus was in the world, in all He went about, He had still this thought: ‘This is for them, and this is for them- -my beloved’.”


Let us think on the promises of God in Christ. All of God’s promises are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus! We can draw from God’s promises to us in Christ so that we might draw nearer to Him and benefit from communion with Him.


Owen wrote: “The life and soul of all our comforts lie treasured up in the promises of Christ. God’s promises in Christ are the breasts of all our consolation.”


Our communion with God will encourage us to be more intentional in our obedience to God. We will know and experience more of the liberating power from the Spirit, and we will live more freely from our sins. Our communion with God will become more of a delight and liberty rather than a mere duty. Prayer will be more frequent and necessary for our souls to be filled up with Christ.


Owen wrote: “God’s Spirit brings spiritual freedom, love, and rest. This freedom is a freedom for obedience, not a freedom from it. Slaves take liberty from duty; children have liberty in duty….The soul is never more raised with the love of God than when by the Spirit it is taken into intimate communion with God in prayer.”


Let us rejoice in our communion with God and let us seek that heavenly communion with God now as we live here, hoping and awaiting heaven when all of our desires will be fully realized and satisfied.


ESV Colossians 3:1-4: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


Ponder the love of God for you.


IN Christ’s love,


Pastor Biggs

“At Your Right Hand”- Psalm 16:11

Word of Encouragement


“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”- Psalm 16:11


What hope we have as the people of God! We who were by nature wanderers from the fold of God, wanderers from the presence of God, wanderers from the delights and joy that only God can give. But now, because of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ, He has made known to us the path of life! “You make known to me the path of life,” the Psalmist prays. We haven’t found the path of life on our own, we were not even looking for it (Eph. 2:1-4), but God who is rich in mercy made it known to us in Jesus Christ.  Jesus, our Beloved Lord says to us: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”


In Jesus we find this path that is characterized by life in God, and that takes us to God Himself. In God’s mercy, Jesus, who seeks and saves the lost, sought us out and found us and now we walk on the path that leads to Heaven. Your hope, Beloved, is a celestial city, a heavenly city, the New Jerusalem that will never be shaken (Heb. 11:13-16; 12:27-29)- -the Eternal City of God!


Jesus descended into this world to show you the path of life; Jesus ascended back to heaven to show you the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore at God’s right hand.


By God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ, we are now made pilgrims who walk by faith expectantly look for a heavenly city and a heavenly inheritance. The path we are on does not lead to destruction, but to more life, life as complete in God. In this celestial city we await, that we journey toward on this path of life, we find the full communion with God that we were all created to enjoy.


As you travel this path, although times can be difficult and you may at times grow weary, do not give up, do not give in, do not be distracted, nor seek to be satisfied in this world. You were made for Jesus, only in Him can you find ultimately all that you’re are longing for from the depths of your hearts and souls.  Although the journey along the path of life can be difficult, Jesus walks with you and will never leave you nor forsake you. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age…” (Matthew 28:20).


Knowing that Jesus walks with us, makes the journey satisfying and joyful. In fact, the Psalmist says that in the presence of God is “fullness of joy”! The Spirit of God has united us to Jesus Christ so that as we journey as pilgrims we can enjoy Jesus’ presence and be filled with joy along the way as He promised His disciples (John 14-16; Romans 15:13).


As we seek God along our journey on the path of life, so we find our Beloved Savior-Husband-Lord and King of kings and Lord of lords enthroned and exalted at God’s right hand (Hebrews 7:24; Romans 8:34). What is He doing there? Ruling and reigning over heaven and earth, as well as praying for us that though all of hell would break loose upon us, we could find at God’s right hand where Jesus is enthroned, His strength, His power, His mercy, as well as the forgiveness, the help we need by His grace, and all of God’s “pleasures forevermore”!


At God’s right hand in Jesus Christ we find strength in our weariness; grace in our weakness; hope in our struggles; pleasures forevermore in our emptiness here. At God’s right hand we find in Jesus all things we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). All that we long for here, we find at God’s right hand; truly there are “pleasures forevermore” there in Jesus!


What are God’s “pleasures forevermore” in Jesus? Are you hungry? Jesus will fill you; He is the Bread of Life. Are you thirsty? Jesus will quench your thirsts; He is the Fountain of Life. Are you in need of a deeper intimacy and communion with God? Jesus will be your comfort and joy; He is our Heavenly Bridegroom. Are you tired and weary? Jesus will be your rest; He is our rest from our burden of sins, our pains and anxieties, and everything that would distract and/or hinder us along our pilgrimage in this present world.


This is the foretaste of Life Eternal and Heavenly Hope that you can have now by God’s Spirit in Jesus. This foretaste will be complete when we see Him face to face, when we behold the king in His beauty and see Him face to face, and we shall be like Him! As we walk with Him may a sense of His fullness of joy and an increase of the pleasures forevermore be ours because we trust in Him as the Psalmist.


Let us take refuge in God our Savior (Psalm 16:1). Let us realize that because Jesus is our Lord there is no good apart from him (Psalm 16:2; John 15:5). Let us rejoice that we have a beautiful inheritance in Christ (Psalm 16:6). Let us bless the Lord and let our hearts be glad because Jesus has taken our flesh, and can sympathize with us in our time of need (Hebrews. 4:14-16), because He has tasted the challenges of this path, the sicknesses, the difficulties, the weariness, the loneliness, the abandonment, the cold-hearted hatred; Jesus has taken our sins upon Himself, and tasted the pangs of death and what it means to lose the comfort and power of the presence of God as one forsaken because of sin. And this was for you.


God raised Jesus from the dead after He took upon Himself our sins, after He was crushed for our iniquities, and propitiated God’s wrath in our place. God did not allow Jesus to see corruption in hell, but raised Him in exaltation glory to God’s right hand to experience the fullness of joy and the Father’s love at God’s right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords (Psalm 16:10). And to live for us at God’s right hand so that we would have joy now.


Jesus descended into this world to show you the path of life; Jesus ascended back to heaven to show you the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore at God’s right hand.


Jesus is a trustworthy Savior, and friend, and Lord, and King, and Shepherd, and Husband. Let us go to him to find in Him the fullness of joy, and the pleasures forevermore this day!


Don’t wait another minute seeking in this world or in yourself what only Jesus can give to you. The blessings of God are not found in this world, nor within yourselves, but at God’s right hand!


Seek Jesus there.


In Christ’s love,


Pastor Biggs


“Walking with God”- Do You Walk with God in Union with Christ?

Word of Encouragement


ESV Genesis 5:22-24: Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. ESV Hebrews 11:5-6: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.


Beloved, are you characterized by “walking with God”? Is your life an example to others of what it means to walk with God? Are you satisfied with your walk before God in Christ today? Is your life lived well?


Today I want to talk with you about union and communion with God. I want us to better and more effectively to know how to walk with God in Christ in a way that perhaps you have never dreamed possible! God can do immeasurably above all that we ask or imagine- -and so let us trust God to teach us to better realize our union with Him in Jesus, and to seek to develop our communion with Him.


In Genesis 5, we are told of a unique man named Enoch. He is described a one who “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22, 24). Very rarely in the Bible is this used of men in their relationship to God. Noah is described as one who walked with God, and the priests who walked before God’s special presence in the Holy of Holies are described as men who walk with God (Gen. 6:9; Mal. 2:6). Enoch’s relationship was special, and Hebrews 11:5-6 tells us more specifically of what it means that Enoch walked with God.


Enoch was commended as one who walked with God because he lived as one who “pleased God” (Heb. 11:5). In Genesis 5, Enoch is unique in that his life does not end in death, but God takes him, or translates him to God’s special presence without undergoing the curse of death that he deserved. Genesis 5:24 teaches: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”


Enoch’s being taken by God without seeing death reminds us of two important truths: (1) Although death is a curse upon mankind for sin (Gen. 2:17; 3:19- “You shall surely die”), God has the power over death and so there is hope in God for all who believe His promises that death is not the final word; and (2) Enoch may have lived a brief life (in comparison to the other people who lived during his time very long lives), nevertheless, his life was lived well, pleasing God and then continuing in communion in his life with God forever. Enoch lived well in communion with God.


We should understand right away that Enoch ultimately points us to his greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Adam, the Son of Seth, the Son of Enoch…and the Son of God (Luke 3:23, 37-38). Enoch’s short life (of ‘only’ 365 years!) was characterized by walking with God, pleasing God, and eternal life without seeing death, yet this life could only be possibly by faith in Jesus Christ.


Although Enoch did not know as much as we know today about the Lord Jesus because we live in the fullness of God’s revelation of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2; Gal. 4:4ff), nevertheless, he trusted God’s promises to him that were given at that particular time in redemptive history, and he lived by faith in knowing God was faithful to his promises that he had made to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15). Enoch believed the gospel good news as he knew it at his time in history, and walked by faith before the living God pleasing God with his faith.


God blessed Enoch and he did not see death. God favored Enoch and so he was privileged to be taken, or translated to live in eternal communion with God without seeing death.  But death was a reality for all other men in Adam (notice the phrase “…And he died” in Genesis 5 that describes the effects of the curse and heightens the contrast with Enoch’s life).


Although Enoch would not see death, he could not have solved the problem of death as a curse upon man. Enoch could not take away the problem of the curse of death upon mankind. Even Enoch was born into Adam’s image (Gen. 5:1-3), which means that he was conceived in sin with a sinful nature, and so he could not have died for himself or for others in order to take away the death curse that hung over mankind because of Adam’s transgression against God (Rom. 5:12, 14). As a sinner, Enoch’s life was lived by God’s grace alone; Enoch’s translation into eternal communion with God was by grace alone.


Even though Enoch did not see death, death was still a problem for mankind, especially in the realization of God’s gospel promises to undo the curse of sin caused by the serpent, and destroy the serpent and what he had done to Adam and His seed in his diabolical death-works (Gen. 3:15). How would death be abolished and the serpent’s work destroyed?


Enoch’s sinfulness in Adam, and inability to abolish death himself points to another, to the Lord Jesus Christ, Enoch’s greater son, because death could only be abolished by one who was perfect, untainted by sin and the curse of Adam, and could die under God’s condemning wrath as a sacrifice for all who believe.


Jesus Christ came in the fullness of time, born of a woman, born under the condemnation of the law that threatened death, in order to abolish death. Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus entered into Adam’s genealogy (Luke 3:23-38) without the taint of sin (because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the substance of Mary), to do away with the curse of death by taking the curse upon Himself!


Jesus died, and was raised from the dead! Death could not hold him; Jesus abolished death; Jesus’s death was the death of death! We can rejoice that death that threatens all mankind in Adam has been abolished, and the sting and threat of death has been removed from the viper’s poison.


ESV Hebrews 2:14-15: Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.


Jesus in his death for sinners, as the son greater than Enoch “destroyed the one who had the power of death”!


The Apostle Paul exults in the Gospel good news that death has been abolished not by our works, but by Christ’s work on our behalf that is received by grace alone through faith:


ESV 2 Timothy 1:9-10: …[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…


Jesus abolished death in his death so that life and immortality might be brought to all who believe. This is the great promise of life that Enoch’s translation and being taken to be with God was pointing forward to! Enoch could be taken by God and not see death, but Enoch could not take away the curse of death.


Praise God that we live not in a time of types and shadows as Enoch before the flood and the incarnation, but in the fullness of the time and the bright light of God’s realities in Jesus Christ! Let us rejoice in Christ’s victory over death. Although we may see death, and walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall fear no evil, for our death is now as merely going to sleep to awake to eternal life and communion with God for all eternity (Psalm 23:4-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-19). Some Christians will not see death when the Lord returns, but will be immediately translated as their brother Enoch before them!


God indeed has the power over death and this is what Enoch’s life and translation points toward in Jesus Christ. But Enoch’s life also points us to a life that is pleasing to God and one that has of communion with God not only in this present life but also in the life to come.


Enoch’s life points us to eternal life with God, but an eternal life with God that begins right now as we believe! Enoch’s life point us not merely to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but more fully and exhaustively and extensively to the believers’ union with Jesus Christ!


Now you may say to me: “Pastor, Enoch was a great man, I am an average man or woman, etc.” But I would remind you that we live on the other side of the death and resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus! No matter how “average” a man or woman you are, you are extraordinary in God’s sight compared to Enoch and the time in which He lived.


Enoch lived a life in union and communion with God, but Enoch could have never dreamed (unless revealed to him outside of Scripture) of the close union and communion with God that we have because of our Lord Jesus Christ!


Enoch pleased God by walking with him by faith and believing God’s promises only imperfectly in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Jesus Christ, one greater than Enoch, and Enoch’s greater Son, walked with God perfectly and he came under the curse of death and was raised from the dead in resurrection power, not only for himself, but for all who believe both in the Old and the New Covenants!


Jesus Christ is a life greater than Enoch’s that gives us more than an example of what it means to walk with God, but one who walked with God and pleased God on our behalf.


Jesus walked with God and pleased him for us. Jesus secured our salvation and our union and communion with him. Enoch’s life points forward not merely to Christ’s resurrection, but union with Jesus Christ and all the benefits of that union! In Jesus Christ, we have one who has pleased God perfectly on our behalf. Jesus’ perfect righteousness before God that he earned in walking with God is imputed to us by faith as we receive it. God’s work in Jesus Christ is received by grace alone and we are reckoned or considered perfectly righteous in God’s sight because of Christ’s perfect life (Romans 4).


Christ lived perfectly walking with God and therefore in Christ we have walked perfectly with God and pleased Him in a way we could never have done as sinners. Enoch was a sinner and God imputed the righteousness of Christ to him through types and shadows that God gave to His believing people at that time in redemptive-history. We live in the fullness of the times as Christians and we can live gratefully knowing that Christ has pleased God by walking with God perfectly on our behalf.


Jesus has overcome and abolished death, and he has been translated, he has been raised, he has been taken, he has been resurrected to live with God in eternal communion for all eternity with the living God. In fact, Jesus is ruling and reigning at God’s right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords, and the last enemy to be conquered by him is death (1 Cor. 15:23ff- although it is already a present reality, it has yet to be fully manifested).


We as Christians walk with God now in union and communion with Jesus Christ by faith. The Bible teaches us that even though we still live here in this world, we are really already translated, raised, taken and resurrected to live with God.


Notice this truth in Colossians 3:1-4:


ESV Colossians 3:1-4: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


The Bible teaches us that as Christians we live in union and communion with God, walking with God now, and even having been translated to be with God now, in a way that Enoch would have never imagined in his “short” life! This teaches us people of God that no matter how short your life may be, no matter how insignificant you think you and your life may be, you are united to Jesus Christ by faith and already you have died with Christ and been raised up with him! Your life is greatly significant and you can be one who is defined in Christ as one who walks with God and enjoy sweet communion with this great God!


Colossians 3:1-4 teaches that believers like Enoch before (but much better) “have been raised with Christ” now (v. 1a), and that because of this we are to live in communion with God “seeking the things that are above” (v. 1b). Although we live in this world now, we are to live as if already translated like Enoch, because we have been translated and raised with Christ.


So secure is our present existence in union with Jesus that our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” and that Christ is our life (vv. 3-4a). Although we remain here, our union with Christ is so very **INTIMATE** that we live in Him and move in Him and have our very being in Him- -we are His holy temple, the special people in which He dwells by His Spirit.


Although we await the full realization of the abolition and destruction of death, and the full manifestation of the everlasting glory that Enoch was able to experience. Nevertheless, we are already partakers of it now in our union with Jesus.


As Christians, we must understand that we now live by faith in all of God’s promises in Jesus, knowing that as we live by faith in our union with Jesus, we will always please God. We are reminded in Hebrews 11:6:


“Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”


Let us live by faith in Christ Jesus, and live in light of God’s promises in Scripture, let us live as if God exists and rewards those who seek Him as He has promised!


Like Enoch, but so much better, we can live pleasing God, and knowing that already we have been taken to be with God in a very special and unique way!


It can be said of believer who seeks God and lives by faith in God’s promises fully revealed in Jesus that they are “not” or “no more” “for God has taken them”. We can especially no longer be friends of this world, the world that is enmity with God (James 4:4ff), because we live in the Heavenly Places in Jesus (see also Ephesians 2:5-10).  Like Enoch, but in a way that Enoch never fully could have imagined at his time in history, we are dead in Christ and raised with Christ in our union with him, and we already live and move in the Heavenly Places by God’s Spirit here and now.


Can it be said of you that you “walk with God”?


Do you realize more of your union with God through communion with God? We should understand the distinction in our relationship to God between our union with Him and our communion with Him. Do you make this important distinction?


Our union with God in Jesus Christ by faith can never be broken. Our union will never fluctuate; no one, nothing can snatch us out of Jesus’ grip, and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (John 10:28ff; Romans 8:31-39). If God is for us, who can be against us?


But our communion with Christ because of our union must be developed; we grow into our communion just like getting to know a friend better or a parent if we are adopted into a family. In our communion with God, He is always near and promises that if we draw near to Him, he will draw near to us to commune with us (James 4:4ff).


We should understand that it is not that God withdraws from us who are in union with Jesus, but that we have a tendency to withdraw from him and not walk with him as we are called to do in Jesus Christ. God doesn’t move away from us, but we do and we often wander away from God from our hearts, although we are in union with him.


In other words, while living already translated in Jesus Christ, we can live as if we are still part of this world and not seek communion with Him as we should.


As we realize what Christ has done for us and how he has pleased God on our behalf, and we know how we are saved from our sinful condition, so we learn to develop our communion with the Triune God.


Let us remember these things as part of developing our communion with God. Meditate on these things this week, and by God’s grace and Spirit, you will find that you will please God more in your obedience (not in order to be saved, but as a manifestation of your gratitude for salvation), and you will find more joy in your journey here, just because you are already translated and are “not” because you have “been taken, like Enoch, but so much better.


Developing our Communion with God:  Remind yourself daily…


(1)   Remind yourself of the distinction between union with Christ that is unbreakable and will not fluctuate, and the communion with God that must be sought and developed.


(2)   Remind yourself daily that you were not seeking God, but this glorious and self-existent and wonderful God who you had lived sinning against, sought you out and initiated a relationship with you in Jesus Christ for the sake that you might know Him better.


(3)   Remind yourself of the interaction that should be happening in your life as you grow in the knowledge of the Triune God. Our communion with God is interactive: God works in us by His Spirit, we respond with joyful obedience; God speaks to us through His Word, we respond with thankful gratitude and walking according to His commandments; God tell us how much He loves us, we love him back by living for him and seeking to please Him.


(4)   Remind yourself that because God is your Father, you are a child of the living God and heir to all that Christ is heir to, and that God will lead and guide you and even chastise you because you are a dear child whom he loves and he knows better than any earthly parent what you most need.


(5)   Remind yourself that because Jesus is your Savior, you have a Shepherd who will never leave you nor forsake you but guard and guide you to the promised land of eternity. Because Jesus is your Savior, you have a loving Husband-Bridegroom, who has given his life for you, and has betrothed himself to you, so be faithful to you Heavenly Husband. Because Jesus is your Savior, you have a great and mighty King who is with you and will strengthen, help and uphold you in your day to day struggles. Because Jesus is your Savior, you have a dear friend who has laid down his life for you and lives to make you joyful (see John 15:11-15). Jesus calls us friends, will you not seek him, this Heavenly friend who only longs to rejoice over you and to be with you. Won’t you just be with Jesus sometimes, leaning confidently on his bosom, letting him know that you love him?!


(6)   Remind yourself that because the Spirit of God is with you, you may have as much of Christ as you seek in Him! The Spirit loves to talk about Jesus, minister Jesus and lead us into all the truths of Scripture about Jesus! We have the Spirit to war against our sinful flesh; we have the Spirit to comfort and console us, and to help us to pray. Won’t you seek His power to enable you to die more and more to sin, to realize the union you have with Christ and the communion with him you need to develop. Won’t you seek Him for the power to desire Him more?


(7)   Remind yourself to delight yourself in the LORD daily (Psa. 37:4)! The Bible says “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Is the LORD **THE** desire of your heart?! You can have more of Him the Bible says- -you can walk closer in communion with him. Can you say with the Psalmist: “Who have I in heaven but you, and what on earth do I desire but you?” (Psalm 73:23ff). You can have this kind of response to your union with Jesus and grow in your communion. Remember that what enlists a person’s affections, rules the person. This means that if God is what gets you excited, then God will rule over you. If someone or something else is loved or delighted more in and gets you excited than God, this/these things will rule you. There is no way to live for God if your affections are not given over to him and this is the urgent practical need of communion with him!


(8)   Remind yourself to please God in Jesus Christ in response to the Gospel message that you have died and already been seated with Christ in the Heavenlies. You no longer need the things of this world. Seek the things of Christ that are above, and beware of prosperity that tempts you to have a weak relationship with such a glorious God!


(9)   Remind yourself daily that God is a consuming fire and worthy to be reverenced, feared and worshipped according to His Word. Although He has been gracious in Christ, may we never presume upon His grace and the blood of Jesus, thinking that if we do, we will not be judged with great and painful consequences! Remind yourself that although God has stooped to be gracious in Christ, He is still the living God and you are to approach Him in Christ with fear and trembling (Heb. 12:25-29). May we seek never to grieve our God because of our sins- -may we never live as those who are trusting in Christ’s precious blood and living blatantly sinfully thinking that Christ’s blood can be excuses for sin and freedom to live as we please!


(10)                       Remind yourself daily to develop your prayer life as never before now that you know that you have already been raised, translated, and resurrected with Christ. Because your life has been hidden with Christ in God, develop your relationship with God by talking to Him all the time. Talk to God through prayer in the precious Name of Jesus in formal prayer times in your closet, on the way to work, during difficult circumstances and times during your day, and as often as you possibly can. Pray for yourself, pray for others, delight yourself in talking to the Triune God who has saved you in Jesus!


IN Christ, we realize that Enoch’s life of pleasing God as he “walked with God” teaches Christians today that we can all be Enochs!


We all can walk with God in union and communion with Jesus Christ by faith. All who are listed in Hebrews 11 are simple sinners like you and me who had both good and bad times in their lives. What set them apart from the rest of the world was their faith in God and His promises. They believed that God existed and that God rewards those who seek him.


Do you believe in God? Do you believe God? Do you believe God rewards those who seek Him?


Look to Jesus Christ and see your life!


Then go and live a life worth living—one that is pleasing to God as you more effectively and accurately walk with God as His child.


In Christ’s love,


Pastor Biggs