the greatest need of the church … and the individual believer

I’m getting ready to start reading another insightful book by Andrew Murray.  For those of you not familiar with Andrew Murray, he was born in South Africa in 1828. After receiving his education in Scotland and Holland, he returned to South Africa and spent many years there as a missionary pastor. He was a staunch advocate of biblical Christianity and the author of over 240 books being best known for his many devotional books. He died in 1917.

I’ve been reading Andrew Murray books for nearly 15 years. My friend Jim asked me this morning ‘How did you find out about him?’ Initially, some of his books were in the bargain bin at FCS and spoke to faith issues I was wrestling with … you know, that makes it sound like a chance encounter. The truth is that the Holy Spirit leads me … leads you … to places, to people, to circumstances, even to books … that play a role in our sanctification and transformation … let me give credit where credit is due. Thank You Lord Jesus!

I’ve only read 5 of his over 240 books but I’ve never been disappointed … Humility, Absolute Surrender, Covenants and Blessings, Living a Prayerful Life, The Indwelling Spirit.

As I began reading my newest Andrew Murray selection, The Fullness of the Spirit, I was so blown away by the intro to the book; I thought I’d share it here on the blog:

“The message of this book is simple but serious.  It is the greatest need of the church, and that which all believers ought to seek after with one mind and their whole heart: to be filled with the Spirit of God.”

“In order to focus our attention on this message and the blessing, it contains, I have placed particular emphasis on six main points:

  1. It is the will of God that every believer should live entirely and unceasingly under the control of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Apart from the fullness of the Spirit, it is impossible for a believer or a church to live and work as God desires.
  3. The lives and experiences of believers everywhere demonstrate that this blessing is greatly neglected by the church and is seldom sought after.
  4. This blessing is promised to us and prepared for us; God longs to give it to us.  Because it is God’s gift, our faith can expect it with confidence.
  5. The biggest hindrance to receiving it is that the self-life and the world take the place that Christ ought to occupy.
  6. We cannot be filled with the Spirit until we yield ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus to forsake and sacrifice everything that stands in the way of His rule.”

And these are the words of a 19th century writer, not one of the 21st century … how much greater the need must be today.  I am of the firm belief that with the passing of time the draw of the world and the draw of religions prove to be far more attractive to mankind than the draw of the cross and Christ Jesus. Don’t misunderstand me … the power of Almighty God is undiminished and unchanging … but the enemy, the world and many religions play, with great success, to the unbridled weaknesses found in man’s sinful nature, his flesh, his lust, his pride … and his spiritual ignorance.

And I believe that final point is what Andrew Murray is pointing to … absent the fullness of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we all suffer from spiritual ignorance.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach you ALL things and ALL that He said.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you ALL things and bring to your remembrance ALL that I have said to you. John 14:26 (ESV)

Certainly there are also teachers, according to Scripture, that teach under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, oftentimes, we choose unspiritual substitutes. We also must remember that the Father and Son have anointed believers with the Holy Spirit (consider Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38).

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you ALL have knowledge … But the anointing that you received from him abides IN you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about EVERYTHING, and is TRUE, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide IN him. 1 John 2:20, 27 (ESV)

So, the greatest need of the church and every believer: to be filled with the Spirit of God.

Lord, remove all those obstacles keeping me from the fullness of the Holy Spirit, give me a surrendered and submissive heart ready to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, may Your Spirit lead me in all things!


About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to the greatest need of the church … and the individual believer

  1. Hello Bernie,

    Thank you for a great write-up, and thank you for sharing about this author, which I have never heard of. But now I will definitely pay attention to what he has published.

    I must say what you touch upon is far more important than most of us would like to believe. And I do believe that this complete surrendering is the one thing the flesh will fight, and continues to fight to the utmost. It is that surrendering that unleashing the true relationship the Father and the Son desire to have with us. Great post…thank you, and God bless!

    • bwebbjr says:

      Thank you for taking the time to not only read the post but then also leaving an insightful comment. Appreciate your encouraging words as well … may we truly walk in the fullness of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit!


  2. jimdavenport says:

    Excellent Bernie. Looks like I will be adding Andrew Murray to my reading. Looking forward to our further discussions on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Bless you my brother.

    • bwebbjr says:

      Our Friday morning conversations and the preparation for those conversations are both things that the Lord is using to mature, perfect, grow me up IN Christ … God is indeed using you as a blessing in my life. I will be interested in hearing your thoughts when you do indeed read books by Andrew Murray.


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