The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather, he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about his self importance.
Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives, so as to admit the truth of Christianity—without being embarrassed by its practical implications.
Only the redeemed have the ability to like what God likes, and to be pleased with what pleases God.
God is ETERNAL, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him—and will end in Him. He pays no tribute time, and from it He suffers no change.
God is IMMUTABLE, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better, to worse—or from worse, to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect—He cannot become more perfect; and if He were to become less perfect, He would be less than God. He has no past—and He has no future.
God is OMNISCIENT, which means that He knows in one free and effortless act—all matter, all thoughts, all relationships, all events. To say that God is omniscient, is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more—it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn.
God IS, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.
We all have a number of self-sins:
a host of others like them!
These self-sins are not something we do, they are something we are—and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures, to come to our attention—until the light of God is focused upon them.
The grosser manifestations of these sins—egotism, self-elevation, self-promotion—are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust that it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the visible Church. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ—is currently so common as to excite little notice!
True repentance is seen in a changed life:
the liar becomes truthful,
the thief becomes honest,
the lewd person becomes pure,
the proud person becomes humble.
The whole moral texture of the life is altered. The thoughts, the desires, the affections are transformed—and the man is no longer what he had been before!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ—he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Those who desire the riches that are in Christ—seek no place, no wealth, no things, only Christ.
The Man who walked among us was a demonstration—not of unveiled deity, but of perfect humanity.
Everything God does has purpose and intention behind that design. It is a master design—and every little thing has its proper place and function.
Everything is safe which we commit to God—and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.
The man who comes to a right belief about God, is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems—for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most, cannot concern him for very long.
But even if the multiple burdens of time may be lifted from him, the one mighty single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of the world piled one upon another. That mighty burden is his obligation to God. It includes an instant and lifelong duty to love God with every power of mind and soul, to obey Him perfectly, and to worship Him acceptably.
With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it—what can we lack? Surely we Christians are the most favored of all creatures.
Among the gifts of the Spirit, scarcely is one of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat, and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.
We need the gift of discernment in our pulpits—the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on.
The labor of self-love is a heavy burden indeed!
Much of your sorrow has arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal—there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have inward peace? The heart’s fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy—will never let the mind have rest. Continue this fight through the years—and the burden will become intolerable!
Yet most people are carrying this burden continually . . .
challenging every word spoken against them,
cringing under every criticism,
smarting under each imagined slight,
tossing sleepless, if another person is preferred before them.
Such a burden as this, is not necessary to bear. Jesus calls us to His rest—and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he—for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort!
He develops toward himself a kindly sense of humor and learns to say to himself, “Oh, so you have been overlooked? They have placed someone else ahead of you? They have whispered that you are pretty small stuff after all? And now you feel hurt, because the world is saying about you the very things you have been saying about yourself! Only yesterday you were telling God that you were nothing—a mere worm of the dust. Where is your consistency? Come on, humble yourself, and cease to care what men think!
I have known ministers who thought they were called to preach. They prayed and studied and learned Greek and Hebrew—but somehow they just could not make the public want to listen to them. They just couldn’t do it. They were failures in the church world.
It is possible to be a Christian—and yet be a failure. I am glad that God is good and kind. Failures can crawl into God’s arms, relax and say, “Father, I made a mess of it. I’m a spiritual failure. I haven’t been out doing evil things exactly, but here I am, Father, and I’m old and ready to go and I’m a failure!”
To most people, God is a mere theory—not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate—but He remains personally unknown to the individual.
The man who truly believes in God—will obey Him. Failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present.
The man who has God for his treasure—has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him—or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must let them go, one after one—he will scarcely feel a sense of loss. For having the Source of all things, he has in One—all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose, he has actually lost nothing—for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever!
Artificiality is one curse that will drop away the moment we kneel at Jesus’ feet and surrender ourselves to His meekness. Then we will not care what people think of us—so long as God is pleased. Then what we are will be everything. What we appear will take its place far down the scale of interest for us. Apart from sin, we have nothing of which to be ashamed. Only an evil desire to shine before others—makes us want to appear other than we are.
“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit!” Ecclesiastes 1:14
Of one thing we may be sure—we can never escape the irritations which cause vexation. The world is full of them, and though we were to retreat to a cave and live the remainder of our days alone—we still could not lose them.
The rough floor of the cave would chafe us,
the weather would irritate us and
the very silence would cause us to fret!
Nowadays, we are bringing the world head over heels into the church! Unregenerated, uncleansed, unholy and unsanctified—we are bringing the world right into the church. If we can get some big shot to say something nice about the church—we rush the story into print and tell about this fellow and what nice things he said.
I don’t care at all about big shots—because I serve a living Savior, and Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings.
It is not what a man does which determines whether his work is sacred or secular—it is why he does it.
“Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to compete with others for place or prestige or position. I desire to be as simple and sincere as a little child. Deliver me from all affectation and pretense. Help me to forget myself—and find my true peace in beholding You. Lay upon me Your easy yoke of self-forgetfulness—that through it I may find rest. Amen.”
The Bible is not only a book which was once spoken—but a book which is now speaking.
The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures—will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do, will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him, to will and to act according to His good purpose.
Were every man on earth to become atheist—it could not affect God in any way. He is what He is in Himself, without regard to any other. To believe in Him, adds nothing to His perfections; to doubt Him, takes nothing away. Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support from His creatures.
Those who believe Scripture truth, know that the universe is a creation. It is not eternal, since it had a beginning. It is not the result of a succession of happy coincidences whereby an all but infinite number of matching parts accidentally found each other, fell into place and began to hum!
I recommend to you Jesus Christ—the unchanging One. I recommend you to . . .
God’s answer to your questions,
God’s solution to your problems,
God’s life for your dying soul,
God’s cleansing for your sin-cursed spirit,
God’s rest for your restless mind, and
God’s resurrection for your dying body.
You will find Him to be all He ever was—the very same Jesus!
“That I may know Him”—was the goal of Paul’s heart, and to this he sacrificed everything.
It is not mere words that nourish the soul—but God Himself. Unless and until we find God in our personal experience—we are not the better for having heard the truths of Scripture.
Bible exposition without moral application raises no opposition. It is only when the hearer is made to understand that truth is in conflict with his heart and life—that resistance sets in. As long as people can hear orthodox truth divorced from life—they will attend and support churches without objection. Since the church asks nothing but a few dollars, and offers good music, pleasant friendships and a comfortable sense of well-being—it meets with no resistance from the faithful. Much that passes for New Testament Christianity is little more than Scripture truth sweetened with song—and made palatable by religious entertainment.
Peter warming himself at the world’s fire and trying to seem unconcerned—is an example of the kind of halfway discipleship too many are satisfied with. The martyr leaping up in the arena, demanding to be thrown to the lions along with his suffering brethren—is an example of the only kind of dedication that God approves.
Frankly, I am quite tired of those who tout Christianity as a way to stop smoking or drinking or break wild habits of the world. Is that all Christianity is—to keep us from some bad habit? Of course, regeneration will clean us up, and the new birth will make a man live righteously.
My holy life is a by-product of my conversion. My life may have pointed out to me that I needed a drastic change—but that is not the purpose for which I was converted. The essence of conversion is to bring me into a right relationship with God and have fellowship with Him.
We dare not conclude that because we learn about the Spirit, we for that reason actually know Him. Knowing Him comes only by a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit Himself.
The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows that he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be. He well knows that the world will never see him as God sees him—and he has stopped caring.
True faith brings a spiritual and moral transformation, and an inward witness which cannot be mistaken.
Your thoughts will one day come up before God’s judgment!
The effort to enjoy the benefits of redemption while enmeshed in the world, is futile!
The things you read will fashion you—by slowly transforming your mind.
A worldly church is an oxymoron, and completely anathema!
One of the most stinging criticisms made against Christians—is that their minds are narrow and their hearts small. This may not be wholly true, but that such a charge can be made at all—is sufficient cause for serious heart searching and prayer.
God does his deepest work in our darkest hours!
Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing, are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.
The Christian influence in our culture never weaker!
God being Who and What He is, and we being who and what we are—the only thinkable relation between us—is one of full lordship on His part, and complete submission on ours!
What made Jesus’ death uncommon, unusual? It was the dying of the just for the unjust. It was His sacrificial dying—His vicarious dying. He paid a debt He did not owe—in behalf of the others too deeply in debt ever to pay.
Most of the churches are worldly in spirit, morally anemic, and in a wretched state generally—because for two full generations they have been told that justification is no more than a “not guilty” verdict pronounced by the heavenly Father upon a sinner who can present the magic coin with the wondrous “open-sesame” engraved upon it.
O God, make Heaven more real to me, than any earthly thing has ever been!
Lord, save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy—the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions—and deliver me from the itch for publicity.
Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective, the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things.
Without faith there can be no approach to God, no forgiveness, no deliverance, no salvation, no communion, no spiritual life at all.
The knowledge that Jesus is ever with us, calms the troubled sea of our lives and speaks peace to our souls.
So, my Christian friend, if you are settling back, snuggling into your easy-chair and resting in John 3:16 and the fact that you have accepted Jesus Christ—you had better take heed, lest you also be found wanting.
Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in God’s Church. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul—but God Himself. Unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience—they are none the better for having heard the truth.
Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not.
Our thought habits are those of the scientist—not those of the worshiper. We are more likely to explain—than to adore.
There is nothing in God’s justice, which forbids the exercise of His mercy.
When a man rises and says, “I believe the Bible!” and then ignores the teachings of the Bible on his own pet subjects—he is rejecting the Word more insidiously than outright unbelief.
Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine of man’s heart—and “things” were allowed to enter. Within the human heart “things” have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer—but there in the moral dusk, stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.
It is as true today as it was in Bible times, that the man who hates his sins, will get into trouble with those who do not hate sin. People resent having their friends turn away from them, and by implication condemn their sinful way of life.
The Holy Spirit is our cloud by day and our fire by night. Without Him, we only wander aimlessly about the desert of this world.
Only after a painful ordeal of self-probing, are we likely to discover what we actually think about God.
Is it not true that for most of us who call ourselves Christians—there is no genuine Christian experience? We have substituted theological ideas—for a relationship with Christ. We are full of religious notions, but have not a genuine encounter with God.
I fear any kind of religious stir among Christians—which does not lead to repentance and result in a sharp separation of the believer from the world. No matter how attractive the movement may appear, if it is not founded in righteousness and nurtured in humility—it is not of God. If it exploits the flesh it is a religious fraud, and should not have the support of any God-fearing Christian.
Sadly, religious work can be done by natural men without the Spirit—and it can be done well and skillfully.
We pursue God because, and only because—He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.
God, in no hurry whatever, painstakingly chips away at His people, removing everything that is not part of the image of Christ. He takes the initiative to alter our lives, for the higher cost of developing us into spiritually mature believers.
The lost sinner prides himself on his independence—completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule him. The man who surrenders to Christ, exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
The Early Church was in wonderment at Christ. He dazzled them and stirred within such feelings of amazement that they could never get over Christ. All they talked about was Christ. All they thought about, from morning to night, was Christ. Christ was their only reason for living, and they were more than willing to die for Him.
The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with the determination to exalt God over all—we step out of the world’s parade. We shall find ourselves increasingly out of synch with the ways of the world—as we make progress in the holy way.
The time is coming when all the holy men whose eyes have been opened by the Spirit—will desert worldly Evangelicalism, one by one.
The only power God recognizes in His church—is the power of His Spirit; whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals—is the power of man.
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity that is in Christ, is rarely found among us. In its stead—are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention, but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly—and the peace of God, scarcely at all.
Those who have truly seen Christ in His glory—have eyes for nothing else.
The greatness of God rouses fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him. To fear and not be afraid—that is the paradox of faith.
“O God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, forgive me for becoming so enthralled with my surroundings—that I forget to look up and gaze into Your face. The radiance of Your face is all that I really need. Amen.”
If we truly want to follow God—we must seek to be other-worldly.
We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum!
Deity indwelling men! That is Christianity!
The world wants the church to add a dainty spiritual touch to its carnal schemes—and to be there to help it to its feet and put it to bed when it comes home drunk with fleshly pleasures.
The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life, and without embarrassment to the Adamic pride. Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the spirit of the receiver. The man is “saved”—but he is not hungry or thirsty after God.
I find that when people don’t know God—they still have the ancient impulse to worship something. If they’re not educated, they kill a chicken and put a funny thing on their head and dance around. If they are educated, they write poetry.
Where faith is defective, the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things. This is the condition of vast numbers of Christians today. No proof is necessary to support that statement. We have but to converse with the first Christian we meet, or enter the first church we find—to acquire all the proof we need.
To deny self and give up all for Christ’s sake—is to lose nothing at last, but to preserve everything unto life eternal. The only effective way to destroy this foe—is by the Cross.
Some knowledge of what kind of God it is that operates the universe, is indispensable to a sound philosophy of life and a sane outlook on the world scene.
The words, “Be still, and know that I am God”—mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper.
The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire.
One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters, is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas—the sacred and the secular.
It is morally imperative that we purge from our minds all ignoble concepts of the Deity—and let Him be the God in our minds, that He is in His universe.
In back of every wasted life—is a bad philosophy, an erroneous conception of life’s worth and purpose.
Essentially, salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator—a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relationship.
We must of necessity be servant to someone, either to God or to sin. “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:16
SELF is the opaque veil which hides the Face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience—never by mere instruction. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment.
Boredom with religion is conceivable—but being bored with God is not. Those who have encountered God and His mighty, awesome presence—could never come to the point of boredom.
Lord, help me to know You so intimately—that I am especially, specifically, consciously aware of Your Presence throughout the day!
God let the suffering old man go through with it—right up to the point where He knew there would be no retreat; and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy. To the wondering patriarch He now says in effect, “It’s all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. Now you may have the boy, sound and well. Take him and go back to your tent.
We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic, which insists that once we have been saved—then we no longer need to seek Him. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of “accepting” Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible), and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our spirit.
Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them.
The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity!
Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right affections cannot exist without right opinions—yet right opinions may exist without right affections. There may be a right opinion of God, without either love or one right affection toward Him. Satan is a proof of this.
Jesus takes no pleasure in human tears. He came and wept—that He might stop forever the fountain of human tears. He came and bereaved His mother—that He might heal all bereavement. He came and lost everything—that He might heal the wounds that we have from losing things. He wants us to take pleasure in Him.
God waits to show Himself in ravishing fullness—to the humble of soul and the pure in heart.
How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations—to a God who has none.
Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it, no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words which nourish the soul—but God Himself; and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience—they are not the better for having heard the truth.
With our Bible open before us and our knees bent, all alone in humility and penitence, let us cry, “Take the world, but give me Jesus!” Will you do that? We need it in the Church. We all need it.
The Bible is the infallible declaration of God’s mind for us, put into our familiar human words.
The Church has lived through its early travails—and has now come to accept an easier way of life. It is content to carry on its painless program with enough money to pay its bills, and a membership large enough to assure its future. The Church has become a school—instead of a barracks. Its members are students—not soldiers.
God pays no tribute to time—and from it He suffers no change. He is immutable, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure.
“What is God like?” If by that question we mean “What is God like in Himself?”—there is no answer. If we mean “What has God disclosed about Himself that the reverent reason can comprehend?”—there is, I believe, an answer both full and satisfying. For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature is incomprehensible—He in condescending love has by Scripture revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself. These we call His attributes.
We have made the Word of Truth conform to our experience—and accepted this low plane as our standard. It will require a determined heart and great courage—to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times, and return to Biblical ways.
Were all human beings suddenly to become blind—still the sun would shine by day and the stars by night, for these owe nothing to the millions who benefit from their light. In the same way, were every man on earth to become atheist—it could not affect God in any way. He is what He is in Himself—without regard to what men think. To believe in Him, adds nothing to His perfections; to doubt Him, takes nothing away from Him.
We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us.
“Then their eyes were opened—and they recognized Him” Luke 24:31
Knowledge of God cannot be acquired simply through academic processes. What we really know about God is what He has faithfully revealed to us. It took a spiritual application of revelation, that cannot be brought about by reason or logic. When their eyes were opened, which is only done through the work of the Holy Spirit, they were able to believe. What the Holy Spirit does not reveal to us, is not worth knowing.
A doctrine has practical value, only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives.
We are constantly being fed harmful ideas that we adopt and learn to believe in, thinking they are all right, and so we ignorantly follow. First, God is reduced—then man is degraded—then sin is underestimated—and then Christ is disparaged!
Dangerous doctrine is parroted so widely—and is received so readily by most!
Americans live no longer in homes, but in theaters. The members of many families hardly know each other, and the face of some popular TV star is to many wives as familiar as that of their husbands! Let no one smile—rather should we weep at the portent.
Let us practice the fine art of making every work a sacred ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds, and learn to find Him there.
Christians ought to listen to the Holy Spirit when He says, “Examine yourself.”
An unexamined Christian lies like an unattended garden. Let your garden go unattended for a few months, and you will not have roses and tomatoes but weeds.
An unexamined Christian life is like an unkempt house. Lock your house up as tight as you will and leave it long enough, and when you come back you will not believe the dirt that got in from somewhere.
An unexamined Christian is like an untaught child. A child that is not taught will be a little savage.
It takes examination, teaching, instruction, discipline, caring, tending, weeding and cultivating to keep the life right.
Any nation which for an extended period puts pleasure before liberty—is likely to lose the liberty it misused.
It is a grave error for us to assume that all the children of God are in our denomination—and that all who are not associated with us are enemies of the Lord.
God will not compromise—and He need not be coaxed. He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word, nor talked into answering selfish prayer.
Let a man question the inspiration of the Scriptures—and a curious, even monstrous, inversion takes place. Thereafter he judges the Word—instead of letting the Word judge him. He determines what the Word should teach—instead of permitting it to determine what he should believe. He edits, amends, strikes out, adds at his pleasure; but always he sits above the Word and makes it submissive to him—instead of kneeling before God and becoming submissive to the Word.
Within each of us is an enemy which we tolerate at our peril. Jesus called it “life” and “self”—or as we would say, the self-life. Its chief characteristic is its possessiveness: the words “gain” and “profit” suggest this. To allow this enemy to live—is in the end to lose everything. To repudiate it and give up all for Christ’s sake—is to lose nothing at last, but to preserve everything unto life eternal. And possibly also a hint is given here as to the only effective way to destroy this foe: it is by the Cross. “Let him take up his cross, and follow Me.
Our everlasting grief, lies in giving God anything less than our all.
Now as always God reveals Himself to “babes”—and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the simple sincerity of childhood.
The only Christians you should listen to—are the ones who give you more of a hunger for God.
The whole course of the life, is upset by failure to put God where He belongs. We exalt ourselves instead of God—and the curse follows.
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” From this we learn that faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at Jesus.
We fabricate a god that we can understand. And because we have created him—he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.
“There is no fear of God before his eyes!” We see here, the psychology of sin. When men no longer fear God—they transgress His laws without hesitation. The fear of consequences is not deterrent—when the fear of God is gone.
In olden days, men of faith were said to “walk in the fear of God” and to “serve the Lord with fear.” Wherever God appeared to men in Bible times, there was an overwhelming sense of terror and dismay, a wrenching sensation of sinfulness and guilt.
Conversely, the self-assurance of modern Christians, the levity present in so many of our religious gatherings, and the shocking disrespect shown for the Person of God—are evidence enough of deep blindness of heart. Many call themselves by the name of Christ, talk much about God, and pray to Him sometimes—but evidently do not know who He is. “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life”—but this fear is today hardly found among Christian men.
The heart of the world is breaking under the load of pride and pretense. There is no release from our burden, apart from the meekness of Christ.
So-called Christian leaders shrug off doctrinal clarity—but their responsibility toward the souls of their flocks cannot be dismissed with a shrug. God will yet bring them to account for the injury they have done to the plain people who trusted them as spiritual guides.
It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything.
Worship is a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder.
It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right, while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.
The Christ the world pretends now to honor, was once rejected and crucified by that same world.
Much of our difficulty as Christians, stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image.
The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience, will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest—so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. It is this which drives him to seek in God, what he can find nowhere else.
Because we have shut out the Holy Spirit in so many ways, we are stumbling along as though we are spiritually blindfolded.
How frightful a thing it is for the preacher—when he becomes accustomed to his work, when his sense of wonder departs, when he gets used to the divine, when he loses his solemn fear in the presence of the High and Holy One; when, to put it bluntly, he gets a little bored with God and heavenly things.
Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God, and he is instantly free. If we understand our first and sole duty to consist of loving God supremely and loving everyone, even our enemies, for God’s sake—then we can enjoy spiritual tranquility under every circumstance.
The Scriptures declare, ‘Abram fell on his face’ as the Lord talked with him (Genesis 17:3). Abraham was reverent and submissive. Probably there is no better picture anywhere in the Bible of the right place for mankind—and the right place for God. God was on His throne speaking—and Abraham was on his face listening!
A Christian congregation can survive and often appear to prosper in the community by the exercise of human talent, and without any assistance from the Holy Spirit!
Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Haven fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. From His goodness, His loving-kindness, His good-natured benevolence, God does it! That’s the source of everything.
The New Christian is like a man who has learned to drive a car in a country where the traffic moves on the left side of the highway and suddenly finds himself in another country and forced to drive on the right. He must unlearn his old habit and learn a new one and more serious than all, he must learn in heavy traffic.
Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God!
The holiness and greatness of God rouses fear within us—but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him. To fear and not be afraid—that is the paradox of faith.
To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has not done deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.
Without doubt, the mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God, and the weightiest word in any language is its word for God.
Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. The contented soul is the stagnant soul.
Truth is a glorious but hard mistress. She never consults, bargains or compromises.
Whatever a man wants badly and persistently enough will determine the man’s character.
Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God and he is instantly free.
God is the most winsome of all beings and in our worship of Him we should find unspeakable pleasure.
In the long run, we pray only as well as we live.
God must always be sought for Himself—never as a means toward something else. Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired selfish ends, will not find God. The mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all—or He will be nothing. God will not be used.
The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense.
Hardly anything else reveals so well the fear and uncertainty among men—as the length to which they will go to hide their true selves from each other and even from their own eyes.
Only the redeemed have the ability to like what God likes and to be pleased with what pleases God.
God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself—meet and overflow the deepest needs of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.
Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.
Every grace and every virtue proceeds from God alone. Not even a good thought can come from us, unless it be of Him.
The cross is the suffering the Christian endures as a consequence of his following Christ in obedience. Christ chose the cross, by choosing the path that led to it; and it is so with His followers. In the way of obedience stands the cross, and we take the cross when we enter that way.
Everything God does has purpose and intention behind that design. It is a master design, and every little thing has its proper place and function.
God is ETERNAL, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. He pays no tribute to time, and from it He suffers no change. He has no past, and He has no future.
God is IMMUTABLE, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse—or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.
God is OMNISCIENT, which means that He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all thoughts, all relationships, all events.
God IS, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.
Tens of thousands, perhaps millions, have come into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ—yet they have not been truly saved.
The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world. Just so, we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word.
Apart from sin, we have nothing of which to be ashamed.
It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right, while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.
There is plenty of good news in the Bible, but there is never any flattery or back scratching. Seen one way, the Bible is a book of doom. It condemns all men as sinners and declares that the soul that sins, shall die. Always it pronounces sentence against society before it offers mercy; and if we will not own the validity of the sentence we cannot admit the need for mercy.
The idea that all you have to do is to “accept Christ” and you are IN, is a great mistake. It leaves people with the impression that if they accept Christ they have no fight to fight, no warfare, no job to do and no temptations. They are just IN.
When you receive Christ rightly as your Lord and Savior, you are in, but to be honest, you have just started to fight.
People get converted and we do not tell them that they must fight all the way through to heaven because of the spirit of degeneration and the tendency to deteriorate.
In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In Him history and prophecy are one and the same.
When the Holy Spirit is not present in the Church,
you have to get along after the methods . . .
or human effort.
Within the past few years, Christ has been popularized by some so-called evangelicals as one who, if a proper amount of prayer were made, would help the pious prize fighter to knock another fighter unconscious in the ring. Christ is also said to help the big league pitcher to get the proper hook on his curve. In another instance He assists an athletically-minded person to win the high jump; and still another not only to come in first in a track meet, but to set a new record in the bargain.
He is said also to have helped a praying businessman to beat out a competitor in a deal, to secure a coveted contract to the discomfiture of someone else who was trying to get it. He is even thought to lend support to a praying movie actress while she plays a role so lewd as to bring the blood to the face of a professional prostitute! Thus our Lord becomes a utilitarian Christ—a kind of Aladdin’s lamp to do minor miracles in behalf of anyone who summons Him to do his bidding!
The delicate, brittle saints being produced in our religious hot-houses today, are hardly to be compared with the committed believers who once gave their witness among men. And the fault lies with our leaders. They are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men to give to God that which costs them nothing!
Our churches these days are filled with a soft breed of Christian, that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology, they know little. Scarcely any of them have read even one of the great Christian classics; but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ!” Galatians 1:10
This is one of the marks of our modern time—that many are guilty of merely “nibbling” at the truth of the Christian gospel.
In many ways, the preaching of the Word of God is being pulled down to the level of the ignorant and spiritually obtuse. We must tell stories and jokes and entertain and amuse—in order to have a few people in the audience. We do these things that we may have some reputation and that there may be money in the treasury to meet the church bills.
In many churches, Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak, that if it were poison it would not hurt anyone—and if it were medicine it would not cure anyone!
A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines, is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions, and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting, or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us . . .
hollow religious philosophies,
the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings,
the glorification of men,
trust in religious externals,
the mistaking of dynamic personality, for the power of the Spirit.
These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.
“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness and handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God!” 2 Corinthians 4:2
Here again is seen the glaring discrepancy between Biblical Christianity—and that of present-day evangelicals, particularly in the United States.
To make converts, we are forced to play down the difficulties—and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who “accept Christ.” We must assure our hearers that Christianity is now a proper and respectable thing, and that Christ has become quite popular with political bigwigs, well-to-do business tycoons, and the Hollywood swimming pool set.
Thus assured, Hell-deserving sinners are coming in droves to “accept” Christ for what they can get out of Him! And though one now and again may drop a tear as proof of his sincerity, it is hard to escape the conclusion that most of them are stooping to patronize the Lord of glory—much as a young couple might fawn on a boresome but rich old uncle, in order to be mentioned in his will later on!
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42
Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints!
It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting, where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy, in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.
This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf. So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed—and heterodoxy in practice. The striped candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking, that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles!
“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17
The church’s mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different; it rises with the degree in which she differs, and sinks as the difference diminishes.
This is so fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures and so well illustrated in Church history that it is hard to see how we can miss it. But miss it we do, for we hear constantly that the Church must try to be as much like the world as possible, excepting, of course, where the world is too, too sinful.
Let us plant ourselves on the hill of Zion and invite the world to come over to us, but never under any circumstances will we go over to them. The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation—never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross. The cross separated between the dead and the living. The timid and the fearful will cry, “Extreme!” and they will be right. The cross is the essence of all that is extreme and final. The message of Christ is a call across a gulf from death to life, from sin to righteousness and from Satan to God!
“The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely” Philippians 1:17
Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ, is currently so common as to excite little notice!
The devil is a better theologian than any of us—and is a devil still!
With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it—what can we lack?
The cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity.
The old cross slew men—the new cross entertains them.
The old cross humbled men—the new cross amuses them.
The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh—the new cross encourages it.
Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to come.
The church is constantly being tempted to accept this present world as her home, and sometimes she has listened to the blandishments of those who would woo her away and use her for their own ends. But if she is wise, she will consider that she stands in the valley between the mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity to come. The past is gone forever—and the present is passing as swift as the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz. Even if the earth should continue a million years, not one of us could stay to enjoy it.
We would do well, to think of the long tomorrow!
The spiritual man desires . . .
to be holy, rather than happy;
to see the honor of God advanced through his life—even if it means that he must suffer dishonor or loss;
to carry the cross which God appoints for him;
to see everything from God’s viewpoint;
to die right—rather than to live wrong;
to habitually makes eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments.
Were all human beings suddenly to become blind, still the sun would shine by day and the stars by night, for these owe nothing to the millions who benefit from their light. So, were every man on earth to become an atheist, it could not affect God in any way. He is what He is in Himself without regard to any other. To believe in Him adds nothing to His perfections; to doubt Him takes nothing away.
Why be a mediocre Christian? When we hear the call to take up the cross and follow toward the hills, we begin to bargain with God like a huckster. What will it cost me in work? What will it cost me in money? What will it cost me in relationships? Is it safe? Is it convenient? Is it fun? Is it popular?
You will never be more than the common Christian—until you give up your own interests and put yourself in the hands of God.
We must face the fact that many professors today are notoriously careless in their living. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared.
The great of this world, are those who simply love God more than others do.
We all have too a high opinion of ourselves.
Sadly, most Christian people think of the world, not as a battleground—but as a playground.
They are not here to fight—they are here to frolic.
They are not in a foreign land—they are at home.
They are not getting ready to live—but they are already living, and the best they can do is rid themselves of their inhibitions and frustrations and live this life to the full.
There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life, is not truth in its biblical sense—but something else and something less.
What I am anxious to see in Christian believers, is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God—while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God—yet always wanting Him.
God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works. He is transcendent above all His works—even while He is immanent within them.
An honest man with an open Bible and a pad and pencil—is sure to find out what is wrong with him very quickly!
A new Decalogue has been adopted by some of our day, the first words of which reads, “You shall not disagree!”
There is a new set of Beatitudes also, which begins, “Blessed are those who tolerate everything—for they shall not be made accountable for anything.”
It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences with the understanding that no one will try to convert another or point out errors in his belief.
Imagine Moses agreeing to take part in a panel discussion with Israel over the golden calf.
Imagine Elijah engaging in a gentlemanly dialogue with the prophets of Baal.
Or try to picture Jesus seeking a meeting of minds with the Pharisees to iron out differences.
The blessing of God is promised to the peacemaker, but the religious negotiator had better watch his step.
Darkness and light can never be brought together by talk. Some things are not negotiable.
The God of modern evangelicalism rarely astonishes anybody.
He manages to stay pretty much with the church’s constitution—and never breaks her by-laws.
He is a very well-behaved God, and very denominational, and very much like one of us.
We ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble—and expect Him to watch over us when we’re asleep.
The God of modern evangelicalism isn’t a God I could have much respect for!
“These things you have done, and I kept silent. You thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face!” Psalm 50:21
True faith rests upon the character of God, and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God has said it.
As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal—how can you hope to find inward peace.
The true Christian . . .
feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen,
talks familiarly every day to One whom he cannot see,
expects to go to Heaven on the virtue of another,
humbles himself in order that he might be eternally exalted,
admits that he is wrong— so he can be declared right,
is strongest, when he is weakest,
is richest, when he is poorest,
is happiest, when he feels worst,
dies, so he can live,
forsakes, in order to have,
gives away, so he can keep,
sees the invisible,
hears the inaudible, and
knows that which surpasses knowledge!
Gratitude is a precious virtue in the sight of God. Gratitude is an offering that the poorest of us can make, and be not poorer but richer for having made it.
The final test of love to God, is obedience to His commandments.
One of the world’s greatest tragedies, is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in them for little besides ourselves.
We need to reverence and fear the Almighty God!
Grace is the good pleasure of God, which inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. It is a self-existent principle inherent in the divine nature and appears to us as a self-caused propensity . . .
to pity the wretched,
to spare the guilty,
to welcome the outcast, and
to bring into favor those who were before under just disapprobation.
Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
The neglected heart, will soon be a heart overrun with worldly thoughts.
The neglected life, will soon become a moral chaos.
The church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors, will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church which trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray.
We have become so engrossed in the work of the Lord—that we have forgotten the Lord of the work. We are here to be worshipers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker. Only the work done by a worshiper, will have eternity in it.
The lack of mighty longing after God, has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives, is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present—or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.
I do not think I exaggerate when I say that some of us put our offering in the plate with a kind of triumphant bounce as much as to say: “There—now God will feel better!” I am obliged to tell you that God does not need anything you have. He does not need a dime of your money. It is your own spiritual welfare at stake in such matters as these. You have the right to keep what you have all to yourself—but it will rust and decay, and ultimately ruin you.
I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship, is not ready for Heaven.
Religion today is not transforming the world—it is being transformed by the world.
God is not silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second person of the Holy Trinity is called “The Word.” The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind.
The basic trouble with the church today, is her unworthy concept of God.
Our religion is weak, because our God is weak.
Christianity at any given time is strong or weak—depending on her concept of God.
As the excellence of steel is strength, and the excellence of art is beauty—so the excellence of mankind is moral character.
The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search throughout his lifetime.
He does not really know where he has been.
He does not really know what he is doing here and now.
He does not know where he is going.
The sad commentary is that he is doing it all on borrowed time and borrowed money and borrowed strength—and he knows that in the end he will surely die!
Man, made more like God than any other creature—has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave; reflecting only his own sinfulness. Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world—that man, made with a soul to worship and praise and sing to God’s glory, now sulks silently in his cave!
The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down, and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world. Until that time the earth remains a disaster area, and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency. To me it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis, as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease—while the world burns!
Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.
The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience—nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are at opposite sides of the same coin!
A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of the external situation.
We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure—-and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know—infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire God’s wisdom—but he cannot even imagine God’s holiness.
A Pharisee is hard on others—and easy on himself.
A Christian is easy on others—and hard on himself.
The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he is in his moral life, as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be—but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself—he is nothing; in God—he is everything. That is his motto.
No man should desire to be happy, who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God—leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he should be.
Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming virtue, leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.
How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations—to a God who has none. Eternal years lie in His heart. For Him, time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. To understand this, is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast.
What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them, until such time as God delivers us from them. We must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured, will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.
To make converts, we are tempted to play down the difficulties—and play up the worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ. We will never be completely honest with our hearers, until we tell them the blunt truth that if they refuse to repent and believe on Christ—they will most surely perish. If they do turn to Him—then the same enemies that crucified Him, will try to crucify them.
The major cause of the decline in the quality of current Christian literature, is not intellectual but spiritual. To enjoy a great religious book requires a degree of consecration to God and detachment from the world, that few modern Christians have. The Puritans are not hard to understand, but they inhabit the highlands where the air is crisp and rarefied, and none but the God-enamored can come.
Jesus is not one of many ways to approach God—nor is He the best of several ways. He is the only way.
The cross is the lightning rod of grace, which short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ—so that only the light of His love remains for believers.
The cross always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares nothing for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible. With perfect knowledge of all this, Christ said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” So the cross not only brings Christ’s life to an end—it ends also the old life of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins. This, and nothing less, is true Christianity. We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do—flee from it, or die upon it.
The man who takes up the cross no longer controls his destiny—he lost control when he picked up his cross. That cross immediately became to him an all-absorbing interest, an overwhelming encumbrance. No matter what he may desire to do, there is but one thing he can do—that is, move on toward the place of crucifixion.
The Word of God well understood and meticulously obeyed, is the shortest route to spiritual maturity. We must not select a few favorite passages, to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.
Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.
God remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. It is true that He may sometimes chasten us, but even this He does with a smile—the tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.
I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the church, the art of worship has been lost entirely—and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called “the program.” This word has been borrowed from the theater and foolishly applied to the public service which now passes for worship among us.
Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows and pledges.
A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments. He says, “I want to be free—vows are legalism.”
There are many religious tramps in the world, who will not be bound by anything.
There are five vows which we do well to make and keep:
1. Vow to deal thoroughly with sin.
2. Vow to realize that you don’t own anything—you are merely God’s steward.
3. Vow to never defend yourself.
4. Vow to never say anything about anybody else that will hurt him.
5. Vow to never accept any glory.
Remember that these five vows are not something you write in the back of your Bible and forget. They have got to be written in your own blood.
There are churches so completely out of the hands of God, that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them—they wouldn’t find it out for many months.
We need a baptism of clear seeing. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist—Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come—we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy.
Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.
Salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures. Apart from obedience, there can be no salvation—for salvation without obedience is a self-contradictory impossibility. No man can be saved—who has no intention to obey Christ.
It is either all of Christ—or none of Christ! We need to preach a whole Christ—a Christ who will not be divided, a Christ who will either be Lord of all—or will not be Lord at all!
When we become too glib in prayer—we are most surely merely talking to ourselves.
Without doubt, the mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God.
In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne.
The Christian is on the throne—until he puts himself on the cross.
If he refuses the cross—then he remains on the throne.
Perhaps this is at the bottom of the backsliding and worldliness among gospel believers today. We want to be saved—but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying! We remain king within the little kingdom of Mansoul, and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar.
One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church—any more than eleven dead men make a football team.
To have found God and still to pursue Him, is the soul’s paradox of love.
Those who seek the spiritual riches that are in Christ—seek no place, no wealth, no things, only Christ.
Secularism, materialism, and the intrusive presence of things—have put out the light in our souls, and turned us into a generation of zombies.
One important point many fail to understand, is that the Bible was never meant to replace God; rather, it was meant to lead us into the heart of God. Too many Christians stop with the text—and never go on to experience the presence of God.
If we understand that every trial and difficulty is to make us more Christlike—it will solve a great deal of anxiety in our lives.
Too often, we give God only the weary remnants of our time. If Jesus Christ had given us only the remnant of His time—we would all be on our way to eternal darkness. Christ did not give us the tattered leftovers of His time. But some of us give Him only the leftovers of our money and of our talents and our time.
How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations, to a God who has none.
Since God is immutable, He never varies in the intensity of His loving-kindness to His redeemed people.
I will not settle for anything less than the deep divine addiction that we call God!
It is one thing to believe the Bible—but something else altogether to allow the Bible, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to impact and change your life.
One problem some have, is to believe that if they read it in the Bible—that they have already experienced it. It is one thing to read about the new birth in the Bible—and quite another thing to be born from above by the Spirit of the living God.
The best way for a husband to save his family from delinquency—is to show them an example of a man who loves God uncompromisingly.
The true Christian ideal is not to be happy—but to be holy. The holy heart alone, can be the habitation of the Holy Spirit.
The Scriptures are in sharp opposition to the easy ways of the world, and of the mixed multitude within the precincts of religion.
There is a difference between Scripture information—and Scripture transformation.
Anything the church does not want to do—it calls legalism.
God knows instantly and effortlessly . . .
all matter and all matters,
all mind and every mind,
all spirit and all spirits,
all being and every being,
all creaturehood and all creatures,
every unuttered secret,
all thrones and dominions,
all things visible and invisible in Heaven and in earth,
space and time,
life and death,
good and evil,
Heaven and Hell.
Rules for Self Knowledge:
1. What we want most.
2. What we think about most.
3. How we use our money.
4. What we do with our leisure time.
5. The company we enjoy.
6. Who and what we admire.
We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God!
Most Christians act as if coming to Christ, is being invited to a picnic.
We should understand that we are entering into a war!
A lot of people have gone too far and have written books and poetry that gets everybody believing that God is so kind and loving and gentle. God is so kind, that infinity won’t measure it. And God is so loving, that He is immeasurably loving. But God is also holy and just!
As a Christian minister, I have no right to preach to people I have not prayed for. That is my strong conviction.
In some circles, God has been abridged, reduced, modified, edited, changed and amended—until He is no longer the God whom Isaiah saw, high and lifted up!
The church that can’t worship—must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship—must provide the entertainment.
Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token homage to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them.
Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who or what is most desired, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice . . .
between God and money,
between God and personal ambition,
between God and self—
and God will take second place every time. Those other things are more desired. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choice he makes day after day throughout his life.
Did you ever stop to think that God is going to be as pleased to have you with Him in Heaven—as you are to be there?
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God—and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble—as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has not done deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge. Her very unawareness, only makes her situation all the more tragic!
Worship is pure or base—as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
The more fascinated we become with the toys of this world—the more we forget the world to come!
No Christian, if he is walking with God—should ever need to hide anything in his life.
Man appears for a little while to laugh and weep, to work and play—and then to go to make room for those who shall follow him in the never-ending cycle!
We have learned to live with unholiness—and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.
An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part—but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others!
Compassion is not something that simply runs out of God—it is something that God is.
We go astray when we attempt to do spiritual work without spiritual power.
Listen to no man, who has not listened to God.
If Jesus Christ isn’t the central figure in our lives and in our churches—we are only fooling ourselves.
I don’t want the world to define God for me. I want the Holy Spirit to reveal God to me.
As long as we think we own anything—that thing owns us.
As soon as we know that we own nothing—then God owns us.
To be right with God, has often meant to be in trouble with men.
Outside the will of God—there is nothing I want.
Inside the will of God—there is nothing I fear.
God doesn’t work through us, because we’re flawless.
Rather, He works through us, in spite of our imperfections.
The great test of faith is to wait on God—not expecting to push a button and get whatever we want now.
The driver on the highway is safe not when he reads the signs—but when he obeys them. Just so, with readers of the Scriptures.
We must do worldly jobs. If we do them with sanctified minds—they become offerings to God.
The door of mercy stands wide open.
How utterly terrible is the current idea that Christians can serve God at their own convenience.
The only Christian you want to listen to—is the one who gives you more of a hunger for God.
As long as Christ sits on the throne of universal dominion—every day is a good day!
To desire revival, and at the same time to neglect personal prayer and devotion—is to wish one way, and walk another.
No one will make progress with God—until our eyes are lifted to the faithfulness of God, and we stop looking at ourselves!
There is no limit to what God can do through us—if we are a yielded and purified people.
Be careful that you do not become so enamored of God’s good gifts—that you fail to worship the Giver.
Christianity is hard when we try to serve God in man’s way—instead of serving God in God’s way.
Some people’s lives would drastically change—if they would obey God as strictly as they obey their doctors.
Christ calls us to carry the Cross.
Churches call us to have fun in His name.
The true Christian ideal is not to be happy—but to be holy! The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and Christlike. To accomplish this, He disengages us from earthly ambition—and draws us away form the cheap and unworthy prizes that worldly men set their hearts upon!
Christianity is so entangled with the world—that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere!
Whatever Jesus is—that is what a Christian must strive to become!
Jesus knows the worst about us—yet He is the One who love us the most!
The Bible is a supernatural book—and can only be understood by supernatural aid!
Modern Christians hope to save the world by being like it—but that will never work.
The church’s power over the world, springs out of her unlikeness to it!
May God deliver us from the easy-going, comfortable Christianity that never lets the truth get hold of us!
We cannot afford to let down our Christian standards, just to hold the interest of people who are going to Hell, and still want to belong to the church!
There are millions who cannot live without amusement. Life without some form of entertainment is simply intolerable for them. They look forward to the relief afforded by professional entertainment and other forms of psychological narcotics—as a dope addict looks to his daily shot of heroine!
Much of religious activity today, reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain, and devotion to trivial pleasures.
Gratitude is a precious offering in the sight of God. It is an offering that the poorest of us can make—and not be poorer, but richer for having made it.
What has the church gained if it is popular—but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?
When people sugarcoat Christianity and arrange it all nicely—they have, in effect, taken away the cross.
On compromise here, and another there—and soon the so-call Christian and the worldling will look the same!
The contemporary Church has imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord, and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is no place to hide from God’s wrath—except in the blood of the Lamb.
Tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by “accepting Christ”—but they have not been saved. If your Christian conversion did not reverse the direction of your life, if it did not transform it—then you are not converted at all! You are simply a victim of the “Accept Jesus” heresy!
We give God our leftovers. We tend to give Him that which we don’t need, instead of giving Him that which we need.
The Bible was written in tears—and to tears it yields its best treasures.
True worship, worship that is pleasing to God, radiates throughout a person’s entire life.
Too often we are Christians by assumption, manipulation or instruction—rather than Christians by regeneration.
Wherever I am, whatever I am doing—I hope and pray that I will have the courage to stand up for the real Jesus of the New Testament, regardless of who I offend!
One thing the young Christian should be taught as quickly as possible after conversion—is that Jesus Christ is all that he needs!
Whatever fascinates you will guide you—so pray that the only thing that will fascinate you is God and His marvelous glory.
The man who knows God is not looking for anything—he has found it.
How completely satisfying is it to turn from our own limitations—to a God who has none!
Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy—however harmless it may appear to be.
When I understand that everything that happens to me is to make me more Christlike—it removes a great deal of anxiety from my life.
This generation has forgotten that the gospel message does not merely clean up and shine the outside of a person—rather it bores into the very heart and soul of a person and radically changes that person from the inside forever!
The cross stands high above the opinions of men—and to that cross, all opinions must come at last for judgment.
If you do not worship God seven days a week—then you do not worship Him one day a week.
Repentance is not merely the start of the Christian life—it is the Christian life.
You can blame circumstances—but backsliding always begins in the heart!
If I am not changed by grace—then I am not saved by grace.
We must allow the Word of God to correct us—the same as we allow it to encourage us.
Mercy is not something that God has—but something He is!
Christian liberty is not freedom to sin—but freedom from sin!
Sometimes when we get overwhelmed—we forget how big God it!
God never negotiates with men. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross put an end to any kind of negotiations. It is now God’s Word in its entirety—or nothing.
No Christian should ever need to hide anything in his life.
God’s Word is true—whether we believe it or not!
There are no shortcuts to a deeper spiritual life. The man who would know God—must devote his time to Him.
Those living the crucified life, do not seek fame or wealth. Rather they want to know God and to be where Jesus is. Only to know Jesus—that is all.
The man after God’s own heart, must be dead to the opinions of his friends—as well as his enemies.
Oh for men who have such a longing for God, that everything else in their life would be pushed away!
So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each other. It is therefore critically important that the Christian take full advantage of every provision which God has made to save him from delusion. These are prayer, faith, meditation on the Scriptures, obedience, humility, hard and serious thought, and the illumination of the Spirit.
God never changes. His attitude towards sin is the same as it was when He drove man out of the Garden of Eden. And his attitude towards the sinner is the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden—and I will give you rest.”
Danger approaches the Christian life from three directions:
the world through which we journey,
the god of this world,
and our unmortified flesh.
That is why we need a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, and a high tower to run to at all times!
Some people attempt to worship God with their lips—but not with their lives. If your lives don’t worship God—then your lips don’t worship Him either.
If we focus on the world—then we will conform to the ways of the world.
If we focus on the Word—then we will conform to the ways God.
Worship is not longer worship, when it reflects the culture around us—more than the Christ within us.
You can be sure of this—that the Holy Spirit never enters a man and lets him live like the world!
The church which compromises the truth in order to reach larger numbers—dishonors God and deeply injures the souls of men!
The man who has God as his treasure—has all things in one.
The church that preaches easy-believism, cheap grace, and a shallow gospel—doesn’t transform lives. That church has ceased to preach the doctrine of repentance.
Knowledge without humility—is vanity!
We may as well face it—the level of spirituality among us is drastically low! We have measured ourselves by ourselves—until we no longer attempt to grow in grace.
we must not select a few favorite passages of Scripture—to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.
People who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:
1. They are facing in only one direction.
2. They can never turn back.
3. They no longer have plans of their own.
God demands the whole person, and He will not be satisfied until He get us entirely.
You can see God from anywhere—if your mind is set to love and obey Him.
While it may look like things are out of control—but behind the scenes there is a God who hasn’t surrendered His authority.
Modern Christians are too tolerant, too anxious to be popular, and too quick to make excuses for sin. God’s people should be willing to stand for God.
We please God most—not by frantically trying to make ourselves good—but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our sins and imperfections—and believing that He understands everything—and still loves us!
God is never satisfied with anything less than all.
Worship is not some performance we do—but a Presence we experience.
The key to prayer, is simply praying.
How utterly terrible is the current idea that Christians can serve God at their own convenience.
Why do you still try to carry your cares? If you are humble and trust in God’s grace—then why not roll them onto Him?
The church is not a social club. We are a holy people called out of darkness to show forth the glory of almighty God.
Wherever we find Jesus, is the perfect place to worship.
Silence is often the most eloquent answer to our critics.
Any sermon that is not birthed in prayer—is not a message from God, no matter how learned the preacher.
Outside of the will of God, there is nothing I want.
In the will of God, there is nothing I fear.
God is not any more present in church—than He is present in your home, factory or office.
Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, popularity, or the amount of its offerings.
God is never impressed with what a man can do.
He is more concerned with what a man is.
It will cost you everything to follow the Lord!
The sincere Christian lets God strip him of everything which might serve as a false refuge.
We go astray, when we think that we can do spiritual work without spiritual power.
There is a strain of loneliness infecting many Christians, which only the presence of God can cure.
A true Christian never hides anything, because a true Christian never needs to hide anything.
True worship elevates us above all the accouterments of religion, into the rarefied atmosphere of God’s presence!
The proud man can’t worship God—any more than the proud devil can. Worship humbles you.
Many things about our salvation are beyond our comprehension—but not beyond our trust.
We should come to church not anticipating entertainment—but expecting the high and holy manifestation of God’s presence.
It takes simplicity and humility to worship God acceptably.
What is wrong with Christians today, is that we have the gifts of God—but have forgotten the God of the gifts.
As we come to the Bible—we can come with the holy anticipation of actually meeting with God.
We are sent to bless the world—but we are never told to compromise with it.
In an effort to get the work of the Lord done—we often lose contact with the Lord of work.
You can see God from anywhere—if your mind is set to love and obey Him.
We must contend for truth, without being contentious.
The most dangerous trap is just living—and forgetting that God exists.