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Seven ways that Christ comes to the church

It is wonderful to know, from Sibbes, that Christ comes to the church but: "How does he knock?" Sibbes answers: In every kind of way.

God comes to speak to us in our own language,
1. In mercy and in correction, by his word and his works.
2. By invitation
3. By the good example of other Christians
4. His ministerial knocking:
When he was here in the days of his flesh, he was a preacher and prophet himself, and now he is ascended into heaven, he has given gifts to men, and men to the church, Eph. 4:11, seq., whom he speaks by, to the end of the world. They are Christ's mouth, as we said of the penmen of Holy Scripture. They were but the hand to write; Christ was the head to indict. So in preaching and unfolding the word they are but Christ's mouth and his voice... So the ministers are Christ's mouth. When they speak, he speaks by them, and they are as ambassadors of Christ, whom they should imitate in mildness... So Christ speaks by them, and puts his own affections into them, that as he is tender and full of bowels himself, so he has put the same bowels into those that are his true ministers.... He speaks by them.
5. By the Spirit:
. Oh! the Spirit is the life, and soul of the word; and when the inward word, or voice of the Spirit, and the outward word or ministry go together, then Christ does more effectually knock and stir up the heart... Now this Spirit with sweet inspirations knocks, moves the heart, lightens the understanding, quickens the dull affections, and stirs them up.
6. By the conscience

Summary: We see what means Christ uses here his voice, works, and word; works of mercy and of correction; his word, together with his Spirit, and the conscience, that he has planted, to be, as it were, a god in us; which together with his Spirit may move us to duty.

7. And the whole Trinity knocks:
"Whilst Christ thus knocks, all the three persons maybe said to do it. For as it is said else where, that ‘God was and is in Christ reconciling the world,' etc., 2 Cor. 5:19. For whatsoever Christ did, he did it as anointed, and by office. And therefore God does it in Christ, and by Christ, and so in some sort God died in his human nature, when Christ died. So here the Father beseeches when Christ beseeches, because he beseeches, that is sent from him, and anointed of the Father. And God the Father stoops to us when Christ stoops, because he is sent of the Father, and does all by his Father's command and commission, John v. 27. So besides his own bowels, there is the Father and the Spirit with Christ, who does all by his Spirit, and from his Father, from whom he has commission. Therefore God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit knock at the heart. 'Open to me, my love, my dove, my undefiled;' but Christ especially by his Spirit, because it is his office."
But, we might ask: why does he wait - why does he not force his way in? (to be continued)

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