Monthly Archives: May 2015

SUNDAY SERMON, 31 MAY 2015

Samuel Logan Brengle : Death Of ‘The Old Man’

The Son of God came into this world, and lived, and toiled, and taught, and suffered, and died and rose again in order to accomplish a twofold purpose. The Apostle John explains this twofold work. In I John iii. 5, speaking of Jesus, he says, ‘Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins. This is His justification, and regeneration, which are done for us and in us. In verse 8 he adds, ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.’ That is entire sanctification, which is a work done in us. Now upon an examination of experience and scripture, we find this is exactly what man needs to have done for him.

First, he needs to get rid of his own sins, and have a new principle of life planted in him. ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom. iii. 23), and when any man comes to God, he comes burdened with a sense of his own wrongdoings and tempers. His sins condemn him; but, thank God, Jesus came to take away our sins. When a man comes with a penitent heart, acknowledging himself a sinner, and puts his trust in Jesus, he will find himself suddenly freed from his sins. The sense of guilt will vanish. The power of evil will be broken. The burden will roll away. Peace will fill his heart. He will see that his sins were laid on another, even on Jesus, and he will realize that ‘with His stripes we are healed ‘ (Isa. liii. 5).

This is a result of that free pardon, that free justification for all past offenses, that God gives to every one who surrenders himself heartily to, and trusts in, Jesus. At the same time God plants in the man’s heart a new life. The man is born of God, and receives what Paul calls the washing of regeneration, which washes away all the man’s guilt, and all the sin for which he is responsible.

At this time, too, there will be planted in the man’s heart love, joy, peace and the various fruits of the Spirit, and if his experience is very marked, as such experiences frequently are, he will probably think there is nothing more to be done. But, if he walks in ‘humbleness of mind’ (which, by the way, is a much-neglected fruit of the Spirit), if he speaks often and freely with those who love the Lord, and if he carefully searches the word of God and meditates therein day and night, he will soon find that sin’s disease is deeper and more deadly than he thought, and that behind and below his own sins are the ‘works of the devil,’ that must also be destroyed before the work of grace in his soul can be complete.

He will find a big, dark something in him that wants to get mad when things are against him; something which will not be patient; something that is touchy and sensitive; something that wants to grumble and find fault; something that is proud and shuns the shame of the Cross; something that sometimes suggests hard thoughts against God; something that is self-willed and ugly and sinful. He hates this ‘something’ in him and wants to get rid of it, and probably condemns himself for it and maybe will feel that he is a greater sinner now than he ever was before he was converted. But he is not. In fact, he is not a sinner at all so long as he resists this something in himself.

Now, what is the trouble with the man? What is the name of this troublesome ‘something’? Paul calls it by several names. In Rom. viii. 7 he calls it ‘ the carnal mind,’ and he says it is ‘enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ You cannot fix it up. You cannot whitewash it over. You cannot make it better by culture or growth, or by any effort whatever. It is an enemy of God, and cannot be anything else.

In the seventh chapter (verse 24) he calls it ‘the body of this death’ and wonders how he can get deliverance from it. In Eph. iv. 22, and in Col. iii. 9, he calls it ‘the old man.’ In Gal. v.17, he calls it ‘the flesh.’ James calls it ‘superfluity of naughtiness,’ which is also well rendered, ‘the remainder of iniquity’ (Jas. i. 21).

John calls it ‘sin,’ as distinct from ‘sins,’ and the ‘works of the devil.’ In Ezek. xxxvi. 26 it is called a ‘stony heart.’ The theologians call it ‘inbred sin,’ ‘original sin’ and ‘depravity.’ Whatever you wish to call it, it is something evil and awful, that remains in the heart after a man has been converted.

Some say that it is dealt with at conversion, but I never saw any people who found it so, and John Wesley, who was a much wiser man than I am, and who had a far wider range of observation, examined thousands of people on this very point, and he said he never knew of one who got rid of this troublesome thing at conversion.

Some people say that growing in grace is the remedy. Others say you never get rid of it while you live. It will remain in you and war against you till you die. They are not altogether prophets of despair, for they say the new life in you will overcome it and keep it down, but that you will have to stand on guard and watch it, club and repress it, as you would a maniac, till death relieves you.

Personally, this subject once gave me great concern. These warring opinions perplexed me, while the ‘old man ‘ made increasing war against all my holy desires and purposes. But while I found man’s teachings and theories were perplexing, God’s teachings were plain and light as day.

1. God does not admit that we get rid of this at conversion, for all His teachings and exhortations concerning it are addressed to Christians. And those who hold this doctrine will have to admit one of two things either that it is not removed at conversion, or that a great number of earnest professors who claim to be converted have never been converted at all. Personally, I cannot admit the latter for an instant.

2. God does, by the mouth of Peter, exhort us to grow in grace, but that simply means to grow in favor with God, by obedience and faith, and does not touch the subject in hand. Corn may grow beautifully and delight the farmer, but all its growth will not rid the field of weeds, and the farmer will have to look to some other method to get rid of those troublesome things.

3. Neither does God anywhere teach that this thing need be bothering us till death, or that death will destroy it.

4. Nor do I find any warrant in the whole Bible for purgatorial fires being the deliverer from this evil.

5. But I do find that God teaches very plainly how we are to get rid of it. Paul says, ‘Put off . . . the old man” (Eph. iv. 22). James says, ‘ . . . lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness’ (Jas. i. 21). John says, ‘. . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (I John i. 7), not part or some, sin, but ‘all sin.’

And again, John says, Jesus ‘was manifested’ to ‘destroy the works of the devil’; (I John iii. 8), and God says through Ezekiel, ‘I will take away the stony heart’ (Ezek. xxxvi. 26).

All these passages teach that we are to get rid of something that bothers us and hinders our spiritual life and show plainly that this work is not to be a slow, evolutionary process, but an instantaneous work, wrought in the heart of the humble believer by the Holy Ghost. Blessed be God! And the Bible further teaches that the one thing needful on our part to secure this operation of the Holy Spirit is an obedient faith that laughs at impossibilities, and cries “It shall be done.”‘

If this Bible teaching is true, then it is a matter that can be proved by experience. If one man proves it to be so, that establishes the Bible testimony against all the doubters in the world. All men used to believe the world was flat. Columbus rose up and said it was round, and he proved it against them all. There may be some ignorant old fogies yet who believe the world is flat, but they can prove it to be round, if they will take the trouble, and whether they prove it or not, their purblind unbelief does not change the fact.

Just so, the greater part of mankind believe that ‘the old man’ is destined to live to the end. But as Paul asks, ‘ . . . shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? ‘(Rom. iii. 3) and humble men and women are rising up every day to declare it is possible, and that all men can prove that he can be destroyed, if they will meet the conditions.

Oh, that we could get men to understand this! Oh, that we could get them to take counsel with faith and not with unbelief! Oh, that we could get them to see what Jesus really came to do!

I proved this fifteen years ago, and ever since I have been walking in a day that has no setting sun, and everlasting joy and gladness have been on my head and in my heart. Glory be to God!

It is no little salvation that Jesus Christ came to work out for us. It is a ‘great salvation,’ and it saves. Hallelujah! It is not a pretense. It is not a ‘make believe.’ It is a real salvation from all sin and uncleanness; from all doubt and fear; from all guile and hypocrisy; from all malice and wrath. Bless God!

When I begin to consider it and to write about it, I want to fill the page with praises to God. The hallelujahs of heaven begin to ring all through my soul, and my heart cries out with those four mystical beasts before the throne, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,’ (Rev. iv. 8) and in spirit I fall down with ‘the four and twenty elders,’ and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, who has taken away my sins and destroyed the works of the devil out of my heart, and come to dwell in me.

Finally, ‘Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief ‘ ‘And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.’ ‘For we which have believed do enter into rest’ (Heb. iii. 12, 18, 19, and iv. 3).

A. W. TOZER, POWER REQUIRES SEPARATION

A. W. Tozer, Power Requires Separation

History shows clearly enough that true spirituality has never at any time been the possession of the masses. In any given period since the fall of the human race, only a few persons ever discerned the right way or walked in God’s law.

God’s truth has never been popular. Wherever Christianity becomes popular, it is not on its way to die–it has already died.

Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets. When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong. At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded. To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous.

The historic church, while she was a hated minority group, had a moral power that made her terrible to evil and invincible before her foes. When the Roman masses, without change of heart, were made Christian by baptism, Christianity gained popularity and lost her spiritual glow. From there she went on to adopt the ways of Rome and to follow her pagan religions. The fish caught the fisherman, and what started out to be the conversion of Rome became finally the conversion of the church. From that ignominious captivity, the church has never been fully delivered.

Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline. Her eager fawning at the feet of the world’s great is a grief to the Holy Spirit and an embarrassment to the sons of God. The lick-spittle attitude of popular Christian leaders toward the world’s celebrities would make such men as Elijah or George Fox sick to the stomach.

Saving truth is a rare treasure, and not many in any generation possess it. No man ever found the way to God by asking the church member on his way to the social.

Lot was a popular believer. He sat in the gates of Sodom. But when trouble struck, he had to send quick for Abraham to get him out of the jam. And where did they find Abraham? Out on the hillside, far away from the fashionable crowds. It has always been so. For every Elijah there have always been 400 popular prophets of Baal. For every Noah there is always a vast multitude who will not believe it is going to rain.

We are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it. Our glory lies in a spiritual withdrawal from all that builds on dust. The bee finds no honey while crawling around the hive. Honey is in the flower far away where there is quiet and peace and the sun and the flowing stream; there the bee must go to find it. The Christian will find slim pickings where professed believers play and pray all in one breath. He may be compelled sometimes to travel alone or at least to go with the ostracized few. To belong to the despised minority may be the price he must pay for power. But power is cheap at any price. A.W.T.

From Alliance Weekly, July 22, 1950

KEEP ON THE LORD’S WATCH

Once more, one who lives in the spirit of prayer will spend much time in retired and intimate communion with God. It is by such a deliberate engagement of prayer that the fresh springs of devotion which flow through the day are fed. For, although communion with God is the life-energy of the renewed nature, our souls “cleave to the dust,” and devotion tends to grow formal-it becomes emptied of its spiritual content, and exhausts itself in outward acts. The Master reminds us of this grave peril, and informs us that the true defense against insincerity in our approach to God lies in the diligent exercise of private prayer.

In the days of the Commonwealth, one of the early Friends, “a servant of the Lord, but a stranger outwardly,” came into an assembly of serious people, who had met for worship. “And after some time he had waited on the Lord in spirit he had an opportunity to speak, all being silent; he said by way of exhortation, ‘Keep to the Lord’s watch.’ These words, being spake in the power of God, had its operation upon all or most of the meeting, so that they felt some great dread and fear upon their spirits. After a little time he spake again, saying, ‘What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.’ Then he was silent again a little time, but the whole meeting, being sensible that this man was in some extraordinary spirit and power, were all musing what manner of teaching this should be, being such a voice that most of the hearers never heard before, that carried such great authority with it that they were all necessitated to be subject to the power.”

Soldier of Christ, you are in an enemy’s country; “Keep to the Lord’s watch.” David M’Intyre, The Hidden Life Of Prayer

Keep on the Lord’s watch
fresh springs of devotion will flow
Keep on the Lord’s watch
this is the enemy’s country here below

you are in the enemy’s country

IT HAS TO GET INSIDE OF YOU

Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

“Now I’m a theological dogmatist and I believe in theology; I believe in the faith of our fathers and I could write a book of disciplines of what I believe and what people ought to believe. I believe in doctrine. But what good is it going to do you to know that there are three Persons in the Trinity if you don’t live pleasing to the Trinity? What does it profit thee if your able to discourse learnedly about the Trinity if thou livest such a life not pleasing to the Trinity. What difference does it make that you know God made the heavens and the earth if you live an ungodly life friends?

It doesn’t mean anything until it gets inside of you and changes you. Too often we have a Christianity that consist of a lot of creeds that are believed. That’s not Christianity, that is only the raw material of Christianity. Until that belief enters a man in faith and repentance it doesn’t do that man any good.

The faith of our fathers is objective truths having become subjective reality within the soul by pennant prayer. If your christian faith does not affect every part of your being you have a reason to wonder whether you have the faith of our fathers really in your heart or not” A. W. Tozer, sermon

The Holy Spirit cannot conquer the world with unbelief, nor can He save the world with a worldly Church. He calls for a crusade, a campaign, and an adventure of saving passion. For this enterprise He wants a separated, sanctified and sacrificial people. Samuel Chadwick

Create in us the splendor
That dawns when hearts are kind,
That knows not race nor station
As boundaries of the mind;
That learns to value beauty
In heart, or mind or soul,
And longs to see God’s children
As sacred, perfect, whole.

“Remember that holiness is not the way to Christ, but Christ is the way to holiness.” James H. Aughey

THE INCARNATION REQUIRED NO COMPROMISE OF DIETY

John 1:14a And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

“The Incarnation required no compromise of Deity. Let us always remember that when God became incarnate there was no compromise on God’s part. In times past, the mythical gods of the nations were no strangers to compromise. The Roman gods, the gods of the Grecian and Scandinavian legends, were gods that could easily compromise themselves and often did in the tales of mythical lore.

But the holy God who is God, and all else not God, our Father who art in heaven, could never compromise Himself. The Incarnation, the Word made flesh, was accomplished without any compromise of the holy Deity. The living God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God.

He remained ever God and everything else remained not God. The gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and had dwelt among us. Instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, by the act of Incarnation He elevated mankind to Himself.

It is plain in the Athanasian Creed that the early church fathers were cautious at this point of doctrine. They would not allow us to believe that God, in the Incarnation, became flesh by a coming down of the Deity into flesh; but rather by the taking up of mankind into God.Thus, we do not degrade God but we elevate man–and that is the wonder of redemption!” A. W. Tozer, sermon

“Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity.”

Not “made” but “became.” Jesus was not created, but was the Creator (Col 1:16, Heb 1:2) Who condescended to become part of His own creation, a thought too profound to fully comprehended by our mind, and yet a truth that can be fully received by our faith.

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD

Psalm 89:33–34 But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
My covenant I will not 1violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

“The faithfulness of God is a datum of sound theology but to the believer it becomes far more than that: it passes through the processes of the understanding and goes on to become nourishing food for the soul. For the Scriptures not only teach truth, they show also its uses for mankind. The inspired writers were men of like passion with us, dwelling in the midst of life. What they learned about God became to them a sword, a shield, a hammer; it became their life motivation, their good hope, and their confident expectation. The Book of Psalms rings with glad thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God. The New Testament takes up the theme and celebrates the loyalty of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; and in the Apocalypse Christ is seen astride a white horse riding toward His triumph, and the names He bears are Faithful and True.

Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and His promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come.

Every heart can make its own application of this truth and draw from it such conclusions as the truth suggest and its own needs bring into focus. The tempted, the anxious, the fearful, the discouraged may all find new hope and good cheer in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is faithful. He will ever be true to His pledged word. The hard-pressed sons of the covenant may be sure that He will never remove His loving-kindness from them nor suffer His faithfulness to fail.” A. W. Tozer

Oh, make but trial of His love,
Experience will decide
How blest they are, and only they,
Who in His truth confide.

Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
Have nothing else to fear;
Make you His service your delight,
Your wants shall be His care.

Psalms 36:5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds

SUNDAY SERMON, 24 MAY 2015

Christ’s Love for us, Thomas Brooks

Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us vessels of glory, Oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this! This is the envy of devils. and the admiration of angels and saints..continue reading

A. W. TOZER, THE CHRISTIAN FUNERAL NEEDS A REFORMATION

The Christian Funeral Needs a Reformation

We have long been of the opinion that for the blood-washed Christian the worst thing about dying is the funeral. Even among gospel Christians the funeral obsequies have degenerated into a gloomy ordeal that leaves everybody miserable for days. The only one not affected by the general heaviness that hangs over everything is the servant of God who has died and in whose honor the service is held. He has gone where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary be at rest. The minister and the undertaker, however, see to it that those who remain are neither untroubled nor at rest.

An odd contradiction exists here, for dolefulness is just what everybody is trying to avoid. Every effort is made to create the impression that the deceased is not really dead, and that the cemetery is not a graveyard at all but a pleasant park where everything is bright and full of cheer. Strangely enough, in spite of this obvious effort, the average funeral (even the Christian funeral) succeeds only in accenting the presence of death all the more. The dimmed lights, the low music, the smell of cut flowers, the unnatural tones of the minister and his slow march ahead of the coffin all contribute to the feeling of utter futility with which the service is charged.

We can’t beat death by setting it to music. The instinct of the human heart is too strong to be cheated by little well-meant attempts to turn away its thoughts from the serious business of death and dying. Death is a solemn fact. Only unbelief or the insensibility caused by sin prevent the funeral of an unsaved man from being an agony of terror for his unsaved relatives. The honest minister can bring to the funeral of a lost man no real words of hope for the deceased. For the living there is hope, and the minister may do well to point them to the Savior, but if he has a proper regard for the sacredness of his office he will not give the living false hope concerning the dead.

The basic spirituality of any group of professed Christians may be discovered by observing the conduct of its advocates when faced with the harsh necessity of death. Where there is abounding gospel assurance among believers the funeral invariably takes on the air of a celebration rather than of a lamentation. Where that assurance is lacking, the whole atmosphere reveals it, however bravely the minister may quote, “There is no death, what seems so is transition.” Where various ecclesiastical wires are pulled in an effort to secure last minute favors for the departed, where every attempt is made to placate death by timid posturing and ingratiating genuflections, we may be sure that the true gospel light has not shined. For a ransomed man knows how to die without crawling, and ransomed men know how to keep their poise in the presence of death.

The early Methodists enjoyed a degree of spiritual victory that lifted them above sorrow at the passing of their brethren. One of their funeral songs, for instance, ran like this:

Hosanna to Jesus on high!
Another has entered her rest:
Another has ‘scaped to the sky,
And lodged in Immanuel’s breast;

The soul of our sister is gone
To heighten the triumph above;
Exalted to Jesus’ throne,
And clasped in the arms of his love.

Another song often heard when the Methodists lay away their beloved dead was this:

Weep not for a brother deceased;
Our loss is his infinite gain;
A soul out of prison released,
And freed from its bodily chain;

With songs let us follow his flight,
And mount with his spirit above.
Escaped to the mansions of light,
And lodged in the Eden above.

How inferior the songs we sing today at the graves of our Christian dead. The note of joyous triumph is gone. The whole mood reflects the plaintive hopelessness of paganism. By our conduct at the funeral of those who sleep in Jesus we effectually cancel out the testimony they gave while they lived. It is time for a change.

We share with other believers the hope that for many of us the return of Christ may circumvent death and project us into the Immaculate Presence without the necessity of dying. But if not, then let there be no gloomy faces among the few that gather to pay their last regards. We lived with the Resurrection in our heart and died in the Everlasting Arms. Hosanna! There’s no room there for lamentation.

“I have observed,” said the old historian, “that these Christians die well.” A Christian can die well because he is the only one who dares to die at all. The lost man cannot afford to die, and that he must die is his infinite woe. A Christian dares to die because his Savior has died and risen. Let us renounce paganism at our funerals and die as we lived, like Christians.

Tozer editorial from Alliance Weekly 15 July 1950

APPROACHES TO THE THRONE OF GRACE

Acts 1:14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

One whose life is spent in fellowship with God will constantly seek and find opportunities for swift and frequently-recurring approaches to the throne of grace. The apostles bring every duty under the cross; at the name of Jesus their loyal souls soar heavenward in adoration and in praise. The early Christians never met without invoking a benediction; they never parted without prayer. The saints of the Middle Ages allowed each passing incident to summon them to intercession-the shadow on the dial, the church-bell, the flight of the swallow, the rising of the sun, the falling of a leaf.

The covenant which Sir Thomas Browne made with himself is well-known, but one may venture to refer to it once more: “To pray in all places where quietness inviteth; in any house, highway, or street; and to know no street in this city that may not witness that I have not forgotten God and my Savior in it; and that no parish or town where I have been may not say the like. To take occasion of praying upon the sight of any church which I see, or pass by, as I ride about. To pray daily, and particularly for my sick patients, and for all sick people under whose care soever. And at the entrance into the house of the sick to say, “The peace and the mercy of God be upon this house.” After a sermon to make a prayer and desire a blessing, and to pray for the minister.” And much more of a like nature. David M’Intyre, The Hidden Life Of Prayer

Like a watered garden,
Full of fragrance rare,
Lingering in Thy presence,
Let my life appear.

“One who lives in the spirit of prayer will spend much time in retired and intimate communion with God.” David M’Intyre

THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD

Luke 15:31 “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”

THE HIGH PRIVILEGE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD, pt 1

“Son, thou art ever with me”—unbroken fellowship with thy Father is thy portion; “Thou art ever with me;” I am always near thee; thou canst dwell every hour of thy life in My presence, and all I have is for thee. I am a father, with a loving father’s heart. I will withhold no good thing from thee. In these promises, we have the rich privilege of God’s heritage. We have, in the first place, unbroken fellowship with Him. A father never sends his child away with the thought that he does not care about his child knowing that he loves him. The father longs to have his child believe that he has the light of his father’s countenance upon him all the day—that, if he sends the child away to school, or anywhere that necessity compels, it is with a sense of sacrifice of parental feelings. If it be so with an earthly father, what think you of God? Does He not want every child of His to know that he is constantly living in the light of His countenance? This is the meaning of that word, “Son, thou art ever with me.”

The child of God is called to this blessed privilege, to live every moment of his life in fellowship with God. He is called to enjoy the full light of His countenance.

There are some people who seem to think that God, by some unintelligible sovereignty, withdraws His face. But I know that God loves His people too much to withhold His fellowship from them for any such reason. The true reason of the absence of God from us is rather to be found in our sin and unbelief, than in any supposed sovereignty of His. If the child of God is walking in faith and obedience, the Divine presence will be enjoyed in unbroken continuity. Andrew Murray, The Deeper Christian Life

Lord, Thou art with me!
Whom shall I fear?
Who then can harm me
While Thou art near?
Under Thy shadow
Is my retreat;
There to my taste,
Lord, Thy fruit is sweet.