Treasures from Tozer!
A.W. Tozer
1897-1963


What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us!

The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base—as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason, the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself. And the most portentous fact about any man, is not what he at a given time may say or do—but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid—for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech.

Without doubt, the mightiest thought the mind can entertain, is the thought of God. The weightiest word in any language, is its word for God.

That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God, is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him—our creedal statements are of little consequence.

A right conception of God is basic not only to theology—but to practical Christian living as well. There is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics—which cannot be finally traced to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.

It is my opinion that the current Christian conception of God is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God, and actually to constitute something amounting to a moral calamity!

“These things you have done, and I kept silent. You thought that I was altogether like you! But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face!” Psalm 50:21

The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the pagan gods of ancient Greece and Rome—if indeed He is not actually inferior to them, in that He is weak and helpless—while they at least had some imagined power.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry; for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is—in itself a monstrous sin—and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it—and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges. A god begotten in the recesses of a fallen heart, will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God.

The essence of idolatry, is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow—they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God—and acts as if they were true.

If we insist upon trying to imagine Him—we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts. And an idol of the mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

Before a Christian Church goes into a decline, there must first be a corrupting of her Scriptural thoughts of God. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question, “What is God like?”—and goes downhill from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed—her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is—and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him—and of her!

Most church people play at religion, as they play at their games!

Religion itself, is the one game most universally played.

The Church has its “fields” and “rules” and its “equipment” for playing the game of religion. It has its devotees, both laymen and professionals, who support the game with their money and encourage it with their presence—but who are no different in life or character from many who take no interest in religion at all!

As an athlete uses a ball—so do many of us use religious words. We throw them swiftly across the field—and learn to handle them with dexterity and grace. We gain as our reward, the applause of those who have enjoyed the game.

In the secular games which people play, there are no moral benefits. They simply are a pleasant activity which changes nothing, and settles nothing of any importance.

Sadly, it is much the same in the game of religion. After the pleasant meeting, no one is basically any different from what he had been before!

“How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,”says the LORD Almighty, “and I will not accept your offerings!” Malachi 1:10

Among the plastic saints of our times—Jesus has to do all the dying.
All we want, is to hear another sermon about His dying!

It is no longer either dangerous or costly to be a Christian!

Some Christians have taken all the justice, judgment and hatred of sin out of the nature of God—and have nothing left but a soft god.

Let us start reading our Bibles with the thought that God means exactly what He says!

The most godly Christian is the one who knows himself best.
No one who knows himself, will believe that he deserves anything better than Hell.

God’s gifts often take the place of God Himself—and the whole course of the man’s life is upset by the monstrous substitution!

The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God—and the Church is famishing for lack of His presence!

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so—by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days.

We have learned to live with unholiness in our churches—and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.”

We sing that—but we might as well sing Mother Goose rhymes, because we do not mean what we are singing!

If God Almighty compelled us to be entirely 100 percent honest, we simply could not sing the the average hymn—because their words would not be true of us!

“All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

I surrender all,
I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.”

No Christian is where he ought to be spiritually, until the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ is being reproduced in his daily life!

Yet even though a person has become like Christ, he will not know it—because humility and meekness are also a part of the transformation of true godliness!

“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did!” 1 John 2:6

Any objection to the evangelistic methods of our present golden-calf Christianity, is met with the triumphant reply, “But we are winning the lost!”

And what are you winning them to?
To true discipleship?
To cross-carrying?
To self-denial?
To separation from the world?
To crucifixion of the flesh?
To holy living?
To nobility of character?
To a despising of the world’s treasures?
To total committal to Christ?
Of course, the answer to all these questions is NO!

I am among those who believe that our Western civilization is on its way to perishing. It has many commendable qualities, most of which it has borrowed from the Christian ethic, but it lacks the element of moral wisdom that would give it permanence. Future historians will record that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization—but not the moral wisdom to preserve it!

Modern religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a church pleasing to God.

If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference!

If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference!

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 church 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 church with a stick of striped candy, in the form of religious movies, games and entertainments.

“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!

We evangelicals also know how to avoid the plain instructions, and sharp point of obedience of our Lord in the New Testament—by means of fine and intricate explanations. These are tailor-made for the flesh. They excuse disobedience, worldliness, and carnality and make the words of Christ of no effect. And the essence of it all is that Christ simply could not have meant what He said. His teachings are accepted even theoretically only after they have been weakened by interpretation.

I want to be a more serious-minded Christian, more detached from this world, more ready for heaven than I have ever been in my whole life. I would rather stand and have everybody my enemy—than to go along with the crowd to destruction!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it!” Matthew 7:13-14

Fundamentalism has stood aloof from the liberal, in self-conscious superiority and has on its own part fallen into error, the error of textualism, which is simply orthodoxy without the Holy Spirit. Everywhere among conservatives, we find people who are Bible-taught, but not Spirit-taught. They grasp the truth with the mind, not the heart.

“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand he held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance!” Revelation 1:14-16
Unfortunately, the ten-cent-store Jesus being preached now by many—is not the Jesus that will come to judge the world. 
This plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice, but is a soft and pliant friend to everybody—if He is the only Christ, then we might as well close our Bibles, bar our doors and make a bakery or garage out of our church buildings!
The popular Christ being preached today—is not the Christ of God, nor the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ who will be our final judge. 
Jesus Christ our Lord, the judge with the flaming eyes—is the one with whom we must deal. We cannot escape it.
“They called to the mountains and the rocks: Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!” Revelation 6:16

Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name. By these I mean not the Roman Catholics, nor the liberals, nor the various quasi-Christian cults.

I do mean Protestant churches generally, and I include those that protest the loudest that they are in spiritual descent from our Lord and His apostles, namely the evangelicals.

Many people are caught up with the toys of contemporary society. Because of great advancements in our culture, some have attained a comfortable life. They may be going to Hell, but it is going to be a comfortable ride for them.

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures!” Luke 24:45

The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.

“Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in Your law!” Psalm 119:18

Christians don’t tell lies—they just go to church and sing them!

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” Hebrews 10:31

“For our God is a consuming fire!” Hebrews 12:29

The vague and flimsy hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly, has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.

“When a wicked man dies—his hope perishes!” Proverbs 11:7

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good—but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” Proverbs 11:23

What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base—as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do—but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.

It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right, while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.

No religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base—as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.

We tend by a secret law of the soul, to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian—but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church, is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech.

Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.

A right conception of God is basic not only to correct theology, but to practical Christian living as well.

There is scarcely an error in doctrine, or a failure in applying Christian ethics—that cannot be traced finally to false and ignoble thoughts about God.

It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the twentieth century is so decadent, as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God, and actually to constitute for professed believers, something amounting to a moral calamity!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him—and of her.

Perverted notions about God, soon rot the religion in which they appear. The long career of Israel demonstrates this clearly enough, and the history of the Church confirms it.

So necessary to the Church is a lofty concept of God, that when that concept in any measure declines, the Church with her worship and her moral standards declines along with it. The first step down for any church, is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God.

The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is—in itself a monstrous sin—and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it, and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.

Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines false things about God—and acts as if they were true.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols! Amen.” 1 John 5:21

One hundred religious people knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church, any more than eleven dead men make a football team!

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.
7. What we laugh at.

A new Decalogue has been adopted by the neo-Christians of our day, the first word of which reads “You shall not disagree!” And a new set of Beatitudes too, which begins “Blessed are those who tolerate everything, for they shall not be accountable for anything.”

It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences in public with the understanding that no one will try to point out errors in another’s belief. The purpose of these talks is not to speak truth and confront error—but to discover how the followers of other religions think—and thus benefit from their views, as we hope they will from ours.

“He is Lord of lords and King of kings!” Revelation 17:14

The Lordship of Jesus is not quite forgotten among Christians—but it has been relegated to the hymnal where all responsibility toward it may be comfortably discharged in a glow of pleasant religious emotion.

Or if it is taught as a theory in the classroom—it is rarely applied to practical living.

The idea that the Jesus has absolute and final authority over the whole church and over all of its members in every detail of their lives—is simply not now accepted as true by the rank and file of evangelical Christians!

Christ is consulted by increasing numbers of people with “problems” and sought after by those who long for peace of mind. He is widely recommended as a kind of spiritual psychiatrist with remarkable powers to straighten people out. He is able to deliver them from their guilt complexes and to help them to avoid serious psychic traumas, by making a smooth and easy adjustment to society. Of course this therapy Christ has no relation whatever to the Christ of the New Testament.

We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do—flee it or die upon it.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!” Galatians 6:14

Saving faith is irrevocable, total commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience; nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith.

In the New Testament, faith was for each believer a beginning—not an end. It was a journey, not a bed in which to lie while waiting for the day of our Lord’s triumph.  Believing was not a once-done act; it was an attitude of heart and mind which inspired and enabled the believer to take up his cross and follow the Lamb wherever He went!

The idea that God will pardon a rebel who has not given up his rebellion—is contrary both to the Scriptures and to common sense!

“But those enemies of Mine who did not want Me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of Me!” Luke 19:27

Most Christians would be better pleased —if the Lord did not inquire into their personal affairs too closely. They want Him to save them, keep them happy and take them to Heaven at last—but not to be too inquisitive about their desires or daily conduct.

But He has searched us and known us; He knows our down sitting and our uprising and understands our thoughts afar off. There is no place to hide from those eyes that are as a flame of fire—and there is no way to escape from the Judgment of those feet that are like fine brass. It is the part of wisdom to live with these things in mind!

The church has failed, by living too much like the world!

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth!” Revelation 3:15-16

“Blessed are the meek” Matthew 5:5

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his inferiority.

The meek man has accepted God’s estimate of himself. In himself—he is nothing. In God—he has everything. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him, and he has stopped caring!

The meek man will attain a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness, he will let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart—and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Man’s lordship and intrusive will has introduced such a multiplicity of unspiritual ways and unscriptural activities, as greatly to threaten the life of the Church! These divert millions of dollars from the true work of God annually, and waste Christian man-hours in such vast numbers as to be truly heartbreaking!

“For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ!” Philippians 3:18

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 condemned—the new cross amuses.

The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh—the new cross encourages it.

The old cross brought tears and blood—the new cross brings laughter.

The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before that cross it bows, and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics—but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross, it stubbornly refuses to bear.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!” Galatians 6:14

One of the greatest calamities that sin has brought upon us, is the debasement of our normal emotions. We laugh at things that are crude; we find pleasure in acts that are beneath human dignity; and we are entertained in objects that should have no place in our affections.

The objection to “sinful pleasures” that has always been characteristic of the true saint, is at bottom simply a protest against the degradation of our human emotions.

The world’s sinful and artificial pleasures are evidence that the human race has to a large extent lost its power to enjoy the true pleasures of life, and is forced to substitute false and degrading thrills.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things!” Philippians 4:8

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’—and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46

The difficulty we modern Christians face , is not misunderstanding the Bible—but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions!

Our problem is that our world-loving minds, is that we do not submit Jesus as Lord in fact, as well as in word. For it is one thing to say, “Lord, Lord”—and quite another thing to obey the Lord’s commandments. We may sing, “Crown Him Lord of all,” and rejoice in the tones of the loud-sounding organ and the deep melody of harmonious voices—but still we have done nothing until we have left the world, and set our faces toward the city of God in hard practical reality. When faith becomes obedience—then it is true faith indeed.

“Then He said to them all: If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me!” Luke 9:23

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. I am suspicious of any organized revival effort that is forced to play down the hard terms of the Kingdom.

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. Only that movement is of God, which honors the Spirit and prospers at the expense of the human ego.

Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men.

The image of God currently popular, is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heart-broken desperation to get people to accept a Savior of whom they feel no need, and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers, God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable.

This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show!

The church has lost her testimony! She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust declaration of truth, has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare—now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion—a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion, and not meant to sound bigoted.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to My people their rebellion, and to the house of Jacob their sins!” Isaiah 58:1

We evangelicals also know how to avoid the plain instructions, and sharp point of obedience of our Lord in the New Testament—by means of fine and intricate explanations. These are tailor-made for the flesh. They excuse disobedience, worldliness, and carnality and make the words of Christ of no effect. And the essence of it all is that Christ simply could not have meant what He said. His teachings are accepted even theoretically only after they have been weakened by interpretation.

Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society’s own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory, because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.

If we insist upon trying to imagine God—we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols! Amen.” 1 John 5:21

The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself, but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord, and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored, but to see his Saviour glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted, and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.

A true and safe spiritual 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. Such were Moses and David and the Old Testament prophets. I think there was hardly a great leader from Paul to the present day, but who was drafted by the Holy Spirit for the task, and commissioned by the Lord of the Church to fill a position he had little heart for.

It might be accepted as a fairly reliable rule of thumb, that the man who is ambitious to lead, is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God’s heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing, and altogether as ready to follow as to lead.

Wisdom, among other things, is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means. All of God’s acts are done in perfect wisdom. And all of His acts are as pure as they are wise, and as good as they are wise and pure. Not only could His acts not be better done—a better way to do them could not be imagined!

Before the Christian Church goes into decline anywhere, there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question, ‘What is God like?’ and goes on from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is—and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind.

The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.

Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines false things about God—and acts as if they were true.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols! Amen.” 1 John 5:21

Salvation must include a judicial change of status—but what is overlooked by most teachers is that it also includes a practical change in the life of the individual. And by this we mean more than a surface change; we mean a transformation as deep as the roots of his human life. If it does not go that deep, it does not go deep enough.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Sin is a poisonous weed that throws the whole nature out of order!
The inner life disintegrates;
the flesh lusts after forbidden pleasures;
the moral judgment is distorted so that often good appears evil and evil good;
time is chosen over eternity,
earth is chosen over Heaven
and death is chosen over life!

The spiritual climate of today’s churches, does not make for vigorous spiritual growth. Indeed, the whole evangelical world is to a large extent unfavorable to healthy Christianity. And I am not thinking of Modernism either. I mean rather the Bible-believing crowd that bears the name of orthodoxy.

Modern civilization is so complex, as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions, and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again.

“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

“All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me!” Matthew 28:18

It is a basic doctrine of the New Testament that after His resurrection, Jesus was declared by God to be both Lord and Christ, and that He was invested by the Father with absolute Lordship over the church which is His Body.

All authority is His in Heaven and in earth. In His own proper time He will exert it to the full—but during this period in history He allows this authority to be challenged or ignored. And just now, it is being challenged by the world—and ignored by the church!

The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground, has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of Christians. The ‘worship’ growing out of such a view of life, is as far off center as the view itself. Church has become a sort of sanctified nightclub without the champagne and the dressed-up drunks.

“You are the God who sees me!” Genesis 16:13

The doctrine of God’s omnipresence, is a great central truth of Scripture.

God is present, near me, next to me—and this God sees me and knows me through and through!

At this point faith begins, and while it may go on to include a thousand other wonderful truths, these all refer back to the truth that God is, and God is here!

God is underived and self-existent. Man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative fiat for its continued existence. One is the Creator, high over all, ancient of days, dwelling in unapproachable light. The other is a creature and, though privileged beyond all others, is still but a creature—a pensioner on God’s bounty and a suppliant before His throne.

The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world—a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of professing Christians, as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences, he is forced to walk alone.

We cannot grasp the true meaning of God’s 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 His wisdom—but His holiness he cannot even imagine.

A little acquaintance with our own hearts will force us to acknowledge that there is no hope within us, and the briefest glance around should show us that we need expect no help from without.

Nature itself will teach us that (apart from God) we are but orphans of the creation, waifs of the wide spaces, caught helpless amid the whirl of forces too great to comprehend. Onward through this world roars an immense and sightless power—leaving in its wake generations, cities, civilizations.

The earth, our brief home, offers us at last only a grave. For us, there is nothing safe, nothing kind. In the Lord there is mercy—but in the world there is none, for nature and life move on as if unaware of good or evil, of human sorrow or human pain.

“Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

A doctrine has practical value, only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives. By this test the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as held by evangelical Christians today, has almost no practical value at all. In most Christian churches, the Spirit is quite entirely overlooked. Whether He is present or absent, makes no real difference to anyone. Brief reference is made to Him in the Doxology and the Blessing. Further than that, He might as well not exist.

It is not my desire to minimize the justifying effect of faith. No man who knows the depths of his own wickedness, would dare to appear before the ineffable Presence of God, with nothing to recommend him but his own character. Nor would any Christian, wise after the discipline of failures and imperfections, want his acceptance with God to depend upon any degree of holiness to which he might have attained through the operations of inward grace.

All things being equal, our prayers are only as powerful as our lives. In the long run, we pray only as well as we live. Some prayers are like a fire escape, used only in times of critical emergency—never very enjoyable—but used as a way of terrified escape from disaster. They do not represent the regular life of the one who offers them; rather are the unusual and uncommon acts of the spiritual amateur.

Grace is the good pleasure of God which inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. Grace is a self-existent principle inherent in the divine nature, and appears to us as a propensity to pity the wretched, spare the guilty, welcome the outcast, and bring into favor those who were before under condemnation.

Grace to 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.

If our creed requires that we admit our own sinful depravity—we do so and feel proud of our fidelity to the Christian faith. But from the way we love, praise and pamper ourselves—it is plain enough that we do not consider ourselves worthy of damnation!

Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity, without practicing its implications. We arrange things so that we can get on well enough without divine aid, while at the same time ostensibly seeking it. We boast in the Lord, but watch carefully that we never get caught depending on Him.

Truth that is not experienced—is no better than error, and may be fully as dangerous! The scribes who sat in Moses’ seat, were not the victims of error; they were the victims of their failure to experience what they taught.

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?

“I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds!” Acts 26:20

To change from one sort of person to another, is the essence of repentance. The liar becomes truthful, the thief honest, the lewd pure, the proud 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.

“They tell how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God!” 1 Thessalonians 1:9

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 . . .
shallow lives,
hollow religious philosophies,
the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings,
the glorification of men,
trust in religious externalities,
quasi-religious fellowships,
salesmanship methods,
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.

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles-that a man has his father’s wife!” 1 Corinthians 5:1

The period in which we now live may well go down in history as the Erotic Age. Sex love has been elevated into a cult. Eros has more worshipers among civilized men today than any other god. For millions the erotic has completely displaced the spiritual. Now if this god would let us Christians alone I for one would let his cult alone. The whole spongy, fetid mess will sink some day under its own weight and become excellent fuel for the fires of hell, a just recompense which is meet, and it becomes us to feel compassion for those who have been caught in its tragic collapse. Tears and silence might be better than words, if things were slightly otherwise than they are. But the cult of Eros is seriously affecting the Church. The pure religion of Christ that flows like a crystal river from the heart of God is being polluted by the unclean waters that trickle from behind the altars of abomination that appear on every high hill and under every green tree from New York to Los Angeles!

It is one thing for a minister to choose a powerful text, expound it and preach from it—but it is quite something else for the minister to honestly and genuinely live forth the meaning of the Word from day to day.

A minister often has a proud little kingdom of his own, a kingdom of position and often of pride and sometimes with power.

Ministers must wrestle with the spiritual implications of the crucified life just like everyone else, and to be thoroughgoing men of God and spiritual examples to the flock of God, they must die daily to the allurements of their own little kingdoms of position and prestige.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever!” 1 John 2:15,17

Any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquillity must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian.

Christ calls men to carry a cross;
we call them to have fun in His name.

Christ calls them to forsake the world;
we assure them that if they but accept Jesus, the world is their playground.

Christ calls them to suffer;
we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords.

Christ calls them to holiness;
we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness.

We can afford to suffer now; we’ll have a long eternity to enjoy ourselves. And our enjoyment will be valid and pure, for it will come in the right way at the right time.

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. What has he thought about, when free to think of what he pleased? Toward what has his inner heart turned, when it was free to turn where it would?

When the bird of thought was let go did it fly out like the raven to settle upon floating carcasses—or did it like the dove circle and return again to the ark of God?

Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves we can discover not only what we are, but what we are going to become. We’ll soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts.

“What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight!” Luke 16:15

One of the greatest weaknesses in our modern church, has been the acceptance of quantity rather than quality as the goal after which to strive. Christianity is resting under the blight of degraded values. And it all stems from a too-eager desire to impress—to gain fleeting attention.

This is so foreign to the Scriptures, that we wonder how Bible-loving Christians can be deceived by it. The Word of God ignores size and quantity—and lays all its stress upon faithfulness and quality.

Pastors and churches in our hectic times are harassed by the temptation to seek size at any cost—and to secure by inflation, what they cannot gain by legitimate growth. The mixed multitude cries for quantity and will not forgive a minister who insists upon solid values and permanence. Many a man of God is being subjected to cruel pressure by the ill-taught members of his flock, who scorn his slow methods and demand quick results and a popular following regardless of quality.

To God quality is vastly important and size matters little. When set in opposition to size—quality is everything and size nothing.

Man’s moral fall has clouded his vision, confused his thinking and rendered him subject to delusion. One evidence of this is his all but incurable proneness to confuse values and put size before quality in his appraisal of things. The Christian faith reverses this order, but even Christians tend to judge things by the old Adamic rule: How big? How much? and How many? are the questions oftenest asked by religious persons when trying to evaluate Christian things.

Quality matters. Let’s not be led astray by the size of things.

“It is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2

“He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” Colossians 4:7 

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23

“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!

“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!

“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!

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 . . .
shallow lives,
hollow religious philosophies,
the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings,
the glorification of men,
trust in religious externals,
quasi-religious fellowships,
salesmanship methods,
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.

It is one thing for a minister to choose a powerful text, expound it and preach from it—but it is quite something else for the minister to honestly and genuinely live forth the meaning of the Word from day to day.

A minister often has a proud little kingdom of his own, a kingdom of position and often of pride and sometimes with power.

Ministers must wrestle with the spiritual implications of the crucified life just like everyone else. To be thoroughgoing men of God and spiritual examples to the flock of God, they must die daily to the allurements of their own little kingdoms of position and prestige.

God’s already put me so far in debt to His grace, that if I were to live one million millenniums, I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me!

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.

The truth is, men are not basically good; they are basically evil, and the essence of their sin lies in their selfishness!

God is a being of supreme moral excellence, possessing in infinite perfection all the qualities that constitute holy character. He deserves the unreserved confidence of every moral creature. Any proper relation to Him must be by confidence, that is, faith.

Idolatry is the supreme sin, and unbelief is the child of idolatry.

An idol of the mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

A doctrine has practical value, only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives.

We must return to New Testament Christianity—not in creed only, but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, seriousness, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing—these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept, and be carried out in everyday conduct.

Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself—faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests, and pays no attention to itself at all.

Many people have been misinformed about the Christian life—they think that it is an easy path. They believe that God will take away all of their problems and difficulties, and that they will be able to live their lives without any kind of distraction or disturbance. As everybody who has traveled this journey knows, such is not the case. If your journey is not cluttered with difficulties and hardships and burdens—you just might be on the wrong path!

The human heart contains both a throne and a cross.

We occupy the one—and Jesus occupies the other.

One of the world’s worst tragedies, is that we allow our hearts to shrink until there is room in them for little beside ourselves.

Much that passes for Christianity in our day—is very little more than a very mild case of orthodox religion, grafted on to a heart that is sold out to the world in its pleasures and tastes and ambitions!

Future historians will record that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization—but not the moral wisdom to preserve it!

True Christians are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities, and will not be put off with words—nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied until they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.

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 flesh whimpers against the rigor of God’s inexorable commands—and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use. We can progress rightly—only by accepting God as He is, and learning to love Him for what He is.

So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. But the truth is that God is not greater for our being—nor would He be less if we did not exist.

To escape the error of salvation by works—we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience. In our eagerness to get rid of the legalistic doctrine of works—we have thrown out the baby with the bath-water, and gotten rid of obedience as well.

I believe that entertainment and amusements are the work of the Enemy to keep dying men from knowing they’re dying; and to keep enemies of God from remembering that they’re enemies.

Be hard on yourself—and easy on others. Carry your own cross—but never lay one on the back of another.

Most are guilty of merely ‘nibbling’ at the truths of Scripture!

The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor—is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God, that is precisely what we see. Twentieth century Christianity has put God on charity! So lofty is our opinion of ourselves—that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. But the truth is that God is not greater for our being—nor would He be less, if we did not exist.

What my head cannot comprehend—my heart can adore!

Religion today is not transforming people—rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society—rather it is descending to society’s own corrupt level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.

We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines, is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. The tragic results of this spirit is all around us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the exaltation of men, trust is religious externals, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such of these, are the symptoms of an evil disease.

  Abounding sin is the terror of the world—but abounding grace is the hope of mankind!

 If we truly want to follow God—then we must seek to be other-worldly.

Every man must choose his world.

 Knowledge of God, cannot be acquired simply through academic processes.

Rather than taking Scripture for our standard—we have accepted one another’s notions, copied one another’s lives and made one another’s experiences—the model for our own.

The cross is rough, and it is deadly—but it is effective!

“If anyone would come after Me—he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24

Many people are caught up with the toys of contemporary society. Because of great advancements in our culture, some have cultivated an attitude of “comfortability.” They may be going to Hell, but they are going to have a comfortable ride getting there!

We have lost all sense of knowing God as He is—and consequently we try to make God out to be what He is not. Instead of accepting the fact that we were created in His image—we have deteriorated to the point of believing that God has been created in our image!

  The Fall was a moral crisis that has affected every part of man’s nature—moral, intellectual, psychological, spiritual and physical. His whole being has been deeply injured. The sin in his heart, has overflowed into his life—affecting his relation to God, to his fellow men and to everyone and everything which touches him!

Our gifts and talents should also be turned over to Him. They should be recognized for what they are—God’s loan to us; and should never be considered in any sense our own. We have no more right to claim credit for special abilities—than for blue eyes or strong muscles. “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms. We want to get Him where we can use Him—or at least know where He is when we need Him. We want a God we can in some measure control. We need the feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like—and what He is like is of course a composite of all the religious pictures we have seen, all the best people we have known or heard about, and all the sublime ideas we have entertained.

The roots of our hearts have grown down into things—and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die.

God is not going to entertain me, and God is not going to be entertained by me. This fact rules out a lot that passes for worship today.

Our error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man—and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians.

The Bible has no compromise whatever with the world. The Bible always sends us out into the world—but never to compromise with the world; and never to walk in the way of the world, but only to save as many as we can.

All our lives long we might talk of Jesus—and yet we would never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all that He is—or to worship Him for all He has done for us. But then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more.

Pardon without penitence is a delusion which simple honesty requires that we expose for what it is.

When Jesus returns is not as important—as to be ready for Him when He does return.

Mere acquaintance with correct doctrine—is a poor substitute for Christ Himself. Mere familiarity with New Testament eschatology—will never take the place of a love-inflamed desire to look on His face.

God was our original habitat. Our hearts cannot but feel at home—when they enter again that ancient and beautiful abode.

There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the Christian life. Because it is so natural—it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic!

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 that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray.

Unfortunately, the ten-cent-store Jesus being preached now by many men, is not the Jesus that will come to judge the world. This plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice, but is a soft and pliant friend to everybody—if He is the only Christ, then we might as well close our Bibles, bar our doors and make a bakery or garage out of our church buildings.

The popular Christ being preached today—is not the Christ of God, nor the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ we must deal with finally. For the Christ that we deal with has eyes as a flame of fire. And His feet are like burnished brass; and out of His mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword! He will be the judge of humanity!

Jesus Christ our Lord, the judge with the flaming eyes—is the one with whom we must deal. We cannot escape it.

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 which is 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 tell you, twenty minutes on your knees in silence before God—will sometimes teach you more than you can learn out of books, and teach you more than you can learn in churches.

It is possible to run a church and all of its activities—without the Holy Spirit. You can organize it, get a board together, call a pastor, form a choir, launch a Sunday school and a ladies’ aid society. You get it all organized—and the organization part is not bad.

But I am warning about getting organized, getting a pastor and turning the crank—some people think that is all there is to it. The Holy Spirit can be absent and the pastor goes on turning the crank, and nobody finds it out for years and years!

What a tragedy, my brethren! What a tragedy that this can happen in a Christian church!

If you could increase the attendance of your church until there is no more room, if you could provide everything that men want and love and value—and yet you did not have the Holy Spirit—you might as well have nothing at all. For it is “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Not by the eloquence of a man, not by good music, not by good preaching—but it is by the Spirit, that God works His mighty works.

I am Your servant to do Your will—and that will is sweeter to me than riches or fame, and I choose it above all things on Earth or in Heaven.

Jesus knows you individually, as though there were not another person in the entire world!

  The complacency of Christians, is the scandal of Christianity!

The man who is seriously convinced that he deserves to go to Hell—is not likely to go there. While the man who believes that he is worthy of Heaven—will certainly never enter that blessed place.

Those who seek the riches that are in Christ—seek neither place, nor wealth, nor things—only Christ.

We must go to the Bible itself for our spiritual standards.

The way to deeper knowledge of God, is through the lonely valleys of soul-poverty and abnegation of all things.

In the deep heart of every man, is a shrine where none but God is worthy to come.

In trying to count our many blessings, the difficulty is not to find things to count—but to find time to enumerate them all.

Self-pity is one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart!

We must return to New Testament Christianity—not in creed only, but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, seriousness, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing—these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept, and be carried out in everyday conduct!

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.

Let the sincere Christian trample under foot every slippery trick of his deceitful heart—and insist upon being sincere and open with God.

The sincere interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man, is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.

It is not intellectual knowledge about God which quenches man’s ancient heart-thirst—but the very Person and Presence of God Himself. These come to us through Christian doctrine—but they are more than doctrine. Christian truth is designed to lead us to God—not to serve as a substitute for God.

We have ceased to obey Him or love Him—and in guilt and fear, we have fled as far as possible from His Presence.

The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

Justice is not something God has. Justice is something that God is.

 We might be wise to follow the insight of the enraptured heart—rather than the more cautious reasoning of the theological mind.

To avoid the hard necessity of obeying the plain instructions of our Lord in the New Testament—we take refuge in a liberal interpretation of them.

We evangelicals also know how to avoid the sharp point of obedience—by means of fine and intricate explanations. These are tailor-made for the flesh. They excuse disobedience and carnality—and make the words of Christ of none effect. And the essence of it all, is that Christ simply could not have meant what He said!

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 path of obedience stands the cross, and we take the cross when we enter that path.

Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called—and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry! 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. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart—and he can thereafter do no common act. Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds, and learn to find Him there.

You can always test the soundness of religious teaching—by the kind of reception which it receives from unsaved men. If the natural man receives it enthusiastically—then it is not of the Spirit of God. Paul says plainly that the natural man cannot know spiritual things—to him, spiritual things are plain foolishness! (1 Corinthians 2:14)

In God’s Presence—silence best befits us.

To have all else and have not Christ, is to be a cosmic pauper—cut off forever from all that will matter at last.

The sincere Christian neither exalts nor downgrades himself. His interests have shifted from self, to Christ.

The utilitarian god is having a run of popularity today. His chief claim to men’s attention, is His ability to bring them success in their various undertakings—and who for that reason is being cajoled and flattered by everyone who wants a favor.

Saving faith includes an utter committal of the whole life to Christ. It involves a volitional and emotional attachment to Him, accompanied by a firm purpose to obey Him in all things.

So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church,
so shockingly irreverent are our public services in some quarters,
so degraded are our religious tastes in still others—
that the need for Spirit’s power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history.

There is within the human heart, a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man, better than a thousand volumes of theology could do!

Refuse to be an average Christian! One of the great problems dating back to the Early Church, was that of the static Christian. The static Christian is one who is slowed in his spiritual progress. This is a problem we need to face today in the Christian Church. The great challenge is how do we get such Christians interested in becoming more than the average run-of-the-mill type of believers that we see everywhere.

Because God has been reduced in the minds of people—they do not have that boundless confidence in His character that used to be prominent among Christians.

Think God away—and man has no ground of existence.

When you kill time—remember that it has no resurrection!

We can never know who or what we are—until we know at least something of what God is.

To be effective, the preacher’s message must be alive. It must alarm, arouse, challenge—it must be God’s present voice to this particular people.

Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ indwelling us and changing us into His likeness.

We must put away all effort to impress others—and live with the sincere candor of a child.

God never uses anyone greatly, until He tests them deeply.

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.

The love of Christ . . .
both wounds and heals, 
it fascinates and frightens, 
it kills and makes alive, 
it draws and repulses.

There can be nothing more awesome or wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply, that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts—while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart!

God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful—that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, as mysterious and deep as that nature is.

The cross is rough and it is deadly—but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies—after that is resurrection glory! The pain is forgotten—and we have entered in actual spiritual experience, the Presence of the living God.

It might shock some of us profoundly—if we were brought suddenly face to face with our beliefs, and forced to test them in the fires of practical living!

Every man must choose his world—either this world, or the next.

We must love God as He is in Himself—and not as our imagination says He is, and pictures Him to be.

Much of our difficulty as Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is—and adjust our lives accordingly.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

The cross where Jesus died, became also the cross where the apostle Paul died. The loss, the rejection, the shame—belong both to Christ and to all who are truly His. the cross that saves them—also slays them. Anything short of this, is a false faith and not true faith at all.

Man’s constant assertion of SELF—appears to him to be a perfectly normal thing. He may be willing to share himself for a desired end—but he is never willing to dethrone himself. No matter how far down the scale of social acceptance he may slide—he is still in his own eyes, a king on a throne. He will share his throne with no one—not even God!

As the sailor locates his position on the sea by looking at the sun—so we may get our moral bearings, by looking at God. We must begin with God.

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.

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. Such were Moses and David and the Old Testament prophets. I think there was hardly a great leader from Paul to the present day, but that was drafted by the Holy Spirit for the task, and commissioned by the Lord of the Church to fill a position he had little heart for. I believe it might be accepted as a fairly reliable rule of thumb, that the man who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God’s heritage—but will be humble, gentle and self-sacrificing. He will be altogether as ready to follow as to lead, when the Spirit makes it clear that a wiser and more gifted man than himself has appeared.

The experiences of men who walked with God in olden times agree to teach that the Lord cannot fully bless the a man until He has first conquered him. The degree of blessing enjoyed by any man, will correspond exactly with the completeness of God’s victory over him.

To expose our hearts to truth and consistently refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arouses—is to stymie the motions of life within us; and, if persisted in, to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence.

To admit the existence of a need in God—is to admit incompleteness in the divine Being. Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator. God has a Voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no Necessary relation to anything outside of Himself. His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure—and not from any need those creatures can supply, nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in himself.

I want to be a more serious-minded Christian, more detached from this world, more ready for Heaven than I have ever been in my whole life.

Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself—faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God, we do not see ourselves—blessed riddance!

The Triune God will be our dwelling place—even while our feet walk the low road of simple duty here among men.

Private prayer should be practiced by every Christian. Long periods of Bible meditation will purify our gaze and direct it. Church attendance will enlarge our outlook and increase our love for others. But at the bottom of all these things, giving meaning to them, will be the inward habit of beholding God. A new set of eyes (so to speak) will develop within us—enabling us to be looking at God while our outward eyes are seeing the scenes of this passing world.

This is the tragedy and woe of the hour—that we neglect the most important One who could possibly be in our midst—the Holy Spirit of God. Then, in order to make up for His absence, we have to do something to keep up our own spirits.

God saves a criminal not so he might tell about it once a year for the next forty years—but so that He might become a saint.

Announce a prayer meeting—and see how many show up.

Announce a banquet—and see how many will come.

We smile about it—but it is an alarming thing!

Out of the vast number of people who call themselves Christians—the overwhelming majority are merely nominal professors!

The only cross in all of history that was turned into an altar, was the cross on which Jesus Christ died. It was a Roman cross. They nailed Him on it—and God, in His majesty and mystery, turned it into an altar! The Lamb who was dying in mystery and wonder, was turned into the Priest who offered Himself!

When Jesus died on the cross, the mercy of God did not become any greater. It could not become any greater, for it was already infinite. We get the odd notion that God is showing mercy because Jesus died. No—Jesus died because God is showing mercy. It was the mercy of God that gave us Calvary—not Calvary that gave us mercy. If God had not been merciful—there would have been no incarnation, no babe in the manger, no man on a cross and no open tomb!

The work of Christ on the cross did not influence God to love us—did not increase that love by one degree—did not open any fount of grace or mercy in His heart. He had loved us from old eternity and needed nothing to stimulate that love. The cross is not responsible for God’s love; rather it was His love which conceived the cross as the one method by which we could be saved. God felt no different toward us after Christ had died for us, for in the mind of God Christ had already died before the foundation of the world. God never saw us except through atonement!