Treasures from Tozer!

A.W. Tozer
1897-1963


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

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"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."

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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

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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!

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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!

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

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SELF is the opaque veil which hides the face of God from us!

The self-sins are these: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them.

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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!

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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.

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"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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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Unfortunately, the ten-cent-store Jesus being preached now by many, is not the Jesus who will come to judge the world. This plastic, painted Christ has no spine and no justice, but is a soft and pliant friend to everybody. If this is 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 now, is not the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ we must deal with finally. For the Christ whom we deal with has eyes as a flame of fire. His feet are like burnished brass, and out of His mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword! 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

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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.

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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.

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"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

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

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"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.

"Behold then the kindness and severity of God. To those who fell, severity but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off!" Romans 11:22

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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"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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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"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

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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!

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"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

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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

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"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.

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"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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!   

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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"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!

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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.

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"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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

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.

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

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."

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

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 . . .
  of business
  or politics
  or psychology
  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 . . .
  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.

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

"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!