(Continued from the previous issue)
When the gospel is preached and applied to the elect people of God, it is impressed on their consciousness by the inward call of the gospel, namely the work of the Holy Spirit.
In our last article, we talked about how that can and does take place when the doctrines of Scripture are proclaimed.
But the Holy Spirit works the same way in all the preaching.
When the preacher brings the admonitions of Scripture to the congregation, the Holy Spirit so impresses that Word upon the consciousness of the elect child of God that he sees his own inability to keep that Word of God, and he flees for grace to the cross of Christ.
When the threatenings of judgment are proclaimed, then the sinner hears them with trembling as the Spirit seals that Word upon his own conscious awareness of his many sins; and he seeks the cross that he may find shelter beneath its shadow.
When the preached Scriptures call to those who are burdened and weary - or thirsty for righteousness, or poor in spirit, the Holy Spirit of Christ so makes that Word a power within the elect sinner that he sees himself described just as the preaching describes him.
And when the call of the gospel comes ("Come unto me all ye that labor...."), he looks in wonder and amazement at Christ Who calls. He says, from the depths of his sorrow, "That is my name. Is He calling me? I can scarcely believe that He would call me to Himself, for my sins are very great. Yet I hear my name. I will go to Him."
But it is the spirit that applies the Word in such a way that the sinner hears Christ calling him.
This is what Jesus meant when He said, "...the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name (literally: name by name), and leadeth them out."
Christ calls them by their spiritual names and they hear, by the work of the Spirit, their own names called as the Spirit impresses these spiritual names upon their consciousness.
When the promises of the gospel are proclaimed, indeed the minister does not know who are the elect and who are not. But the Holy Spirit of Christ knows. And He so works in the hearts of the elect that the blessed promises of the gospel are impressed so upon the believer's heart that he sees them in all their beauty. And when they are proclaimed to all who believe in Christ, put their trust only in Him, and flee to Him for a refuge, then the Spirit works such graces in their hearts that they lay hold on Christ, hurl themselves into His arms, and rest in the serene and overwhelming consciousness of His love.
The address of the gospel is the work of the Spirit.
Several things ought to be apparent.
First of all, this all has much to say about how we ought to hear. Scripture urges upon us the admonition: "Be careful how you hear." When we listen so that we hear Christ speak, and eagerly lend our ears to see what He has to say, we truly hear Him. And when we listen to what He has to say, we indeed hear Him speak to us - in such a personal and intimate way that there is no escaping what He says. And when we listen to what He says in obedience and faith, then His love and peace fill our souls.
Secondly, this is how Jesus Himself draws His people to Himself. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). And: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, "And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me" (John 6:44,45).
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 20
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
Address725 Baldwin Dr. B-25
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