Anointed To Teach God's Word

Classic Christian teaching from the holy Bible

Do Not Mistake the True Meaning of the Cross


“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14)

All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles.

It is like the old Cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental!

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life with encouragement for a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist tries to show that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. The modern view is that the new cross does not slay the sinner, it “redirects” him!

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but it is as false as it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the Cross.

The old Cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. In Roman times, the man who took up his cross and started down the road was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected: he was going out to have it ended! The Cross did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man (self)  was no more!

The race of Adam is under death sentence. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the Cross. Thus God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life!

~A. W. Tozer~

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Humility # 18


Humility and Exaltation

James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6

Just yesterday I was asked the question, How am I to conquer this pride? The answer was simple. Two things are needed. Do what God says is your work: humble yourself. Trust Him to do what He says is His work: He will exalt you.

The command is clear: humble yourself. That does not mean that it is your work to conquer and cast out the pride of your nature, and to form within yourself the lowliness of the Holy Jesus. No, this is God’s work; the very essence of that exaltation, wherein He lifts you up into the real likeness of the beloved Son. What the command does mean is this: take every opportunity of humbling yourself before God and man. In the faith of the grace that is already working in you; in the assurance of the more grace for victory that is coming; up to the light that conscience each time flashes upon the pride of the heart and its workings; notwithstanding all there may be of failure and falling, stand persistently  under the unchanging command: humble yourself. Accept with gratitude everything that God allows from within or without, from friend or enemy, in nature  or in grace, to remind you of your need of humbling, and to help you to it. Reckon humility to be indeed the mother-virtue, your very first duty before God, the one perpetual safeguard of the soul, and set your heart upon it as the source of all blessing. The promise is divine and sure: He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. See that you do the one thing God asks: humble yourself. God will see that He does the one thing He has promised. He will give more grace; He will exalt you in due time.

All God’ s dealings with man are characterized by two stages. There is the time of preparation, when command and promise, with the mingled  experience of effort and impotence, of failure and partial success, with the holy expectancy of something better which these waken, train and discipline men for a higher stage. Then comes the time of fulfillment, when faith inherits the promise, and enjoys what it had so often struggled for in vain. This law holds good in every part of the Christian life, and in the pursuit of every separate virtue. And that because it is grounded in the very nature of things. In all that concerns our redemption,  God must needs take the initiative. When that has been done, man’s turn comes. In the effort after obedience and attainment, he must learn to know his impotence, in self-despair to die to himself, and so be fitted voluntarily and intelligently to receive from God the end, the completion of that of which he had accepted the beginning in ignorance. So, God who had been the Beginning, ere man rightly knew Him, or fully understood what His purpose was, is longed for and welcomed as the End, as the All in All.

It is even thus, too, in the pursuit of humility. To every Christian the command comes from the throne of God Himself: humble yourself. The earnest attempt to listen and obey will be rewarded – yes, rewarded – with the painful discovery of two things. The one, what depth of pride, that is of unwillingness to count oneself and to be counted nothing, to submit absolutely to God, there was, that one never knew. The other, what utter impotence there is in all our efforts, and in all our prayers too for God’s help, to destroy the hideous monster. Blessed the man who now learns to put his hope in God, and to persevere, notwithstanding all the power of pride within him, in acts of humiliation before God and men. We know the law of human nature: acts produce habits, habits breed dispositions, dispositions form the will, and the rightly formed will is character. It is no otherwise in the work of grace. As acts, persistently repeated, beget habits and dispositions, and these strengthened the will, He who works both to will and to do comes with His mighty power and Spirit; and the jumbling of the proud heart with which the penitent saint cast himself so often before God, is rewarded with the “more grace” of the humble heart, in which the Spirit of Jesus has conquered, and brought the new nature to its maturity, and He the meek and lowly One now dwells forever.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will exalt you. And wherein does the exaltation consist? The highest glory of the creature is in being only a vessel, to receive and enjoy and show forth the glory of God. It can do this only as it is willing to be nothing in itself, that God may be all. Water always fills first the lowest places. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the speedier and the fuller will be the inflow of the divine glory. The exaltation God promises is not, cannot be, any external thing apart from Himself: all that He has to give or can give is only more of Himself, Himself to take more complete possession. The exaltation is not, like an earthly prize, something arbitrary, in no necessary connection with the conduct to be rewarded. No, but it is in its very nature the effect and result of  the humbling of ourselves. It is nothing but the gift of such a divine indwelling humility, such a conformity to and possession of the humility of the Lamb of God, as fits us for receiving fully the indwelling of God.

He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Of the truth of these words Jesus Himself is the proof; of the certainty of their fulfillment to us He is the pledge. Let us take His yoke upon us and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart. If we are but willing to stoop to Him, as He has stooped to us, He will yet stoop to each one of us again, and we shall find ourselves not unequally yoked with Him. As we enter deeper into the fellowship of His humiliation, and either humble ourselves or bear the humbling of men, we can count upon it that the Spirit of His exaltation, “the Spirit of God and of glory,” will rest upon us. The presence and the power of the glorified Christ will come to them that are of a humble spirit. When God can again have His rightful place in us, He will lift us up. Make His glory thy care in humbling thyself; He will make thy glory His care in perfecting thy humility, and breathing into thee, as thy abiding life, the very Spirit of His Son. As the all-pervading life of God possesses thee, there will be nothing so natural, and nothing so sweet, as to be nothing, with not a thought or wish for self, because all is occupied with Him who filleth all. “Most gladly will I glory in my weakness, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me.”

Have we not here the reason that our consecration and our faith have availed so little in the pursuit of holiness? It was by self and its strength that the work was done under the name of faith; it was for self and its happiness that God was called in; it was, unconsciously, but still truly, in self and its holiness that the soul rejoiced. We never knew that humility, absolute, abiding, Christ-like humility and self-effacement, pervading and marking our whole lie with God and man, was the most essential element of the life of the holiness we sought for.

It is only in the possession of God that I lose myself. As it is in the height and breadth and glory of the sunshine that the littleness of the mote playing in its beams is seen, even so humility is the taking our place in God’s presence to be nothing but a mote dwelling in the sunlight of His love.

“How great is God! how small am I!

Lost, swallowed up in love’s immensity!

God only there, not I.

May God teach us to believe that to be humble, to be nothing in His presence, is the  highest attainment, and the fullest blessing, of the Christian life. He speaks to us: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Be this our portion!

“Oh, to be emptier, lowlier,

Mean, unnoticed, and unknown,

And to God a vessel holier,

Filled with Christ, and Christ alone!”

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with NOTES)

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Practice the Presence


“I have set the Lord always before me because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved”(Psalm 16:8)

The scriptural way to see things is to set the Lord always before us, put Christ in the center of our vision, and if satan is lurking around he will appear on the margin only and be seen as but a shadow on the edge of the brightness. It is always wrong to reverse this – to set satan in the focus of our vision ad push God out to the margin. Nothing but tragedy can come of such inversion.

The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in. The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf; they have but to stay close to the shepherd.

The instructed Christian will practice the presence of God and never allow himself to become devil-conscious.

Brother Lawrence wouldn’t pick up a straw from the ground but for the love of God. When he was dying he said, “When I die I won’t change my occupation. I have just been worshiping God for forty years on earth, and when I get to heaven, I’ll just keep right on doing what I am doing.”

~A. W. Tozer~

 

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Humility # 17


Humility and Happiness

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weakness: for when I am weak then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10)

Lest Paul should exalt himself, by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was sent him to keep him humble. Paul’s first desire was to have it removed, and he besought the Lord thrice that it might depart. The answer came that the trial was a blessing; that, in the weakness and humiliation it brought, the grace and strength of the Lord could be the better manifested. Paul at once entered upon a new stage in his relation to the trial: instead of simply enduring it, he most gladly glorified in it; instead of asking for deliverance, he took pleasure in it. He had learned that the place of humiliation is the place of blessing, of power, of joy.

Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learned the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. he prays for humility, at times very earnestly; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God, and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it. In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy and only pleasure. He cannot yet say, “Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.”

But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there – a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self. A clearer insight was to be given to Paul into the deep truth that the presence of Jesus will banish every desire to seek anything in ourselves, and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation. Our humiliations lead  us, in the experience of the presence and power of Jesus, to choose humility as our highest blessing. Let us try to learn the lessons the story of Paul teaches us.

We may have advanced believers, eminent teachers, men of heavenly experiences, who have not yet fully learned the lesson of perfect humility, gladly glorying in weakness. We see this in Paul. The danger of exalting himself was coming very near. He knew not yet perfectly what it was to be nothing; to die, that Christ alone might live in him; to take pleasure in all that brought him low. It appears as if this were the highest lesson that he had to learn, full conformity to his Lord in that self-emptying where he gloried in weakness that God might be all.

The highest lesson a believer has to learn is humility. Oh that every Christian who seeks to advance in holiness may remember this well! There may be intense consecration, and fervent zeal and heavenly experience, and yet, if it is not prevented by very special dealings of the Lord, there may be an unconscious self-exaltation with it all. Let us learn the lesson – the highest holiness is the deepest humility; and let us remember that it comes not of itself, but only as it is made a matter of special dealing on the part of our faithful Lord and His faithful servant.

Let us look at our lives in the light of this experience, and see whether we gladly glory in weakness, whether we take pleasure, as Paul did, in injuries, in necessities, in distresses. Yet, let us ask whether we have learned to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring  us, as above all an opportunity of proving how Jesus is all to us, how our own pleasure or honor are nothing, and how humiliation is in very truth what we take pleasure in. It is indeed blessed, the deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is said of us or done to us we lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is all.

Let us trust Him who took charge of Paul to take charge of us too. Paul needed special discipline, and with it special instruction, to learn, what was more precious than even the unutterable things he had heard in heaven – what it is to glory in weakness and lowliness. We need it too, oh so much. He watches over us with a jealous, loving care, “lest we exalt ourselves”. When we are doing so, He seeks to discover to us the evil, and deliver us from it. In trial and weakness and trouble He seeks to bring us low, until we so learn that His grace is all, as to take pleasure in the very thing that brings us and keeps us low. His strength made perfect in our weakness, His presence filling and satisfying our emptiness, becomes the secret of a humility that need never fail. It can, as Paul, in full sight of what God works in us, and through us, ever say, “In nothing was I behind the chiefest apostles, though I am nothing.” His humiliations had led him to true humility, with its wonderful gladness and glorying and pleasure in all that humbles.

“Most gladly will I glory in my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me; wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses.”  The humble person has learned the secret of abiding gladness. The weaker he feels, the lower he sinks, the greater his humiliations appear, the more the power and the presence of Christ are his portion, until, as he says, “I am nothing,” the word of his Lord brings ever deeper joy: “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

I feel as if I must once again gather up all in the two lessons: the danger of pride is greater and nearer than we think, and the grace for humility too.

The danger of pride is greater and nearer than we think,  and that especially at the time of our highest experiences. The preacher of spiritual truth with an admiring congregation hanging on his lips, the gifted speaker on a holiness platform expounding the secrets of the heavenly life, the Christian giving testimony to a blessed experience, the evangelist moving on as in triumph, and made a blessing to rejoicing multitudes, – no man knows the hidden, the unconscious danger to which these are exposed. Paul was in danger without knowing it; what Jesus did for him is written for our admonition, that we may know our danger and know our only safety. If ever it has been said of a teacher or professor of holiness, – he is so full of self; or, he does not practice what he preaches; or, his blessing has not made him humbler or gentler, – let it be said no more. Jesus, in whom we trust, can make us humble.

Yes, the grace for humility is greater and nearer, too, than we think.  The humility of Jesus is our salvation: Jesus Himself is our humility. Our humility is His care and His work. His grace is sufficient for us, to meet the temptation of pride too. His strength will be perfected in our weakness. Let us choose to be weak, to be low, to be nothing. Let humility be to us joy and gladness. Let us gladly glory and take pleasure in weakness, in all that can humble us and keep us low; the power of Christ will rest upon us. Christ humbled Himself, therefore God exalted Him. Christ will humble us, and keep us humble; let us heartily consent, let us trustfully and joyfully accept all that humbles; the power of Christ will rest upon us. We shall find that the deepest humility is the secret of the truest happiness, of a joy that nothing can destroy.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 18 – “Humility and Exaltation”)

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Humility # 16


Then follows: Only this death leads to perfect humility.  Oh, beware of the mistake so many make, who would not be humble, but are afraid to be too humble. They have so many qualifications and limitations, so many reasonings and questionings, as to what true humility is to be and to do, that they never unreservedly yield themselves to it. Beware of this. Humble yourself unto to death. It is in the death to “self” that humility is perfected. Be sure that at the root of all real experience of more grace, of all true advance in consecration, of all actually increasing conformity to the likeness of Jesus, there must be a deadness to self that proves itself to God and men in our dispositions and habits. It is sadly possible to speak of the death-like and the Spirit-walk, while even the tenderest love cannot but see how much there is of self. The death to self has no surer death mark than a humility which makes itself of no reputation, which empties out itself, and takes the form of a servant. It is possible to speak much and honestly of fellowship with a despised and rejected Jesus, and of bearing His cross, while the meek and lowly, the kind and gentle humility of the Lamb of God is not seen, is scarcely sought. The Lamb of God means two things –  meekness and death. Let us seek to receive Him in both forms. In Him they are inseparable: they must be in us too.

What a hopeless task if we had to do the work? Nature never can overcome nature, not even with the help of grace. Self can never cast out self, even in the regenerate man. Praise God! the work has been done, and finished and perfected for ever. The death of Jesus, once and for ever, is our death to self. And the ascension of Jesus, His entering once and for ever into the Holiest, has given us the Holy Spirit to communicate to us in power, and make our very own, the power of the death-life. As the soul, in the pursuit and practice of humility, follows in the steps of Jesus, its consciousness of the need of something more is awakened, its desire and hope is quickened, its faith is strengthened, and it learns to look up and claim and receive that true fullness of the Spirit of Jesus, which can daily maintain His death to self and sin in its full power, and make humility the all-pervading spirit of our life.

“Are ye ignorant that all who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Present yourself unto God, as alive from the dead.” The whole self-consciousness of the Christian is to be imbued and characterized by the spirit that animated the death of Christ. He has ever to present himself  to God as one who has died in Christ, and in Christ is alive from the dead, bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus. His life ever bears the two-fold mark: its roots striking in true humility deep into the grave of Jesus, the death to sin and self; its head lifted up in resurrection power to the heaven where Jesus is.

Believer, claim in faith the death and the life of Jesus at thine. Enter in His grace into the rest from self and its work – the rest of God. With Christ, who committed His spirit into the Father’s hands, humble thyself and descend each day into that perfect, helpless dependence upon God. God will rise thee up and exalt thee. Sink every morning in deep, deep nothingness into the grave of Jesus; every day the life of Jesus will be manifest in thee. Let a willing , loving, restful, happy humility be the mark that thou hast indeed claimed thy birthright – the baptism into the death of Christ. “By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Te souls that enter into His humiliation will find in Him the power to see and count self dead, and, as those who have learned and received of Him, to walk with all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love. The death-life is seen in a meekness and lowliness like that of Christ.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 17 – “Humility and Happiness”)

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Kneel, Adore and Obey


“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me … If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:6, 15)

Truth is forever the same, but modes and emphases and interpretations vary. It is a cheering thought that Christ can adapt Himself to any race or age or people. He will give life and light to any man or woman anywhere in the world regardless of doctrinal emphasis or prevailing religious  customs, provided that man or woman takes Him as He is and trusts Him without reservation.

The Spirit never bears witness to an argument about Christ, but He never fails to witness to a proclamation of Christ crucified, dead, and buried, and now ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high.

The conclusion of the matter is that we should not assume that we have all the truth and that we are mistaken in nothing. Rather we should kneel in adoration before the pierced feet of Him who is the Truth and honor Him by humble obedience to His words.

The first principle and condition of divine guidance is a surrendered spirit. Next, there must be a readiness of obey. He will not give us light unless we mean to follow it.

~A. W. Tozer~

 

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Humility # 15


Humility and Death to Self

“He humbled himself and became obedient unto death” (Phil. 2:8)

Humility is the path to death, because in death it gives the highest proof of its perfection. Humility is the blossom of which death to SELF is the perfect fruit. Jesus humbled Himself unto death, and opened the path in which we too must walk. As there  was no way for Him to prove His surrender to God to the very uttermost, or to give up and rise out of our human nature to the glory of the Father but through death, so with us too. Humility must lead us to die to self: so we prove how wholly we have given ourselves up to it and to God; so alone we are freed from fallen nature, and find the path that leads to life in God, to that full birth of the new nature, of which humility is the breath and the joy.

We have spoken of what Jesus did for His disciples when He communicated His resurrection life to them, when in the descent of the Holy Spirit He, the glorified and enthroned Meekness, actually came from heaven Himself to dwell in them. He won the power to do this through death: in its inmost nature the life He imparted was  a life out of death, a life that had been surrendered to death, and been won through death. He who came to dwell in them was Himself One who had been dead and now lives for evermore. His life, His person, His presence, bears the marks of death, of being a life begotten out of death. That life in His disciples ever bears the death marks too; it is only as the Spirit of the death, of the dying One, dwells and works in the soul, that the power of His life can be known. The first and chief of the marks that show the true follower of Jesus, is humility. For these two reasons: Only humility leads to perfect death; Only death perfects humility. Humility and death are in their very nature one: humility is the bud; in death the fruit is ripened to perfection.

Humility leads to perfect death.  Humility means the giving up of “self”, and the taking of the place of perfect nothingness before God. Jesus humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death. In death He gave the highest, the perfect proof of having given up His will to the will of God. In death He gave up His self, with its natural reluctance to drink the cup; He gave up the life He had in union with our human nature; He died to self, and the sin that tempted Him; so, as man, He entered into the perfect life of God. If it had not been for His boundless humility, counting Himself as nothing except as a servant to do and suffer the will of God, He never would have died.

This gives us the answer to the question so often asked, and of which the meaning is so seldom clearly apprehended: How can I die to “self”? The death to self is not your work, it is God’s work. In Christ you are dead to sin; the life there is in you has gone through the process of death and resurrection; you may be sure you are indeed dead to sin. But the full manifestation of the power of death in your disposition and conduct, depends upon the measure in which the Holy Spirit imparts the power of the death of Christ. And here it is that the teaching is needed: if you would enter into full fellowship with Christ in His death, and know the full deliverance from “self”, humble yourself. This is your one duty. Place yourself before God in your utter helplessness; consent heartily to the fact of your impotence to slay or make alive yourself; sink down into your own nothingness, in the spirit of meek and patient and trustful surrender to God. Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-man as a help to abide humble before God. God will accept such humbling of yourself as the proof that your whole heart desires it, as the very best prayer for it, as your preparation for His mighty work of grace, when, by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit, He reveals Christ fully in you, so that He, in His form of a servant, is truly formed in you, and dwells in your heart. It is the path of humility which leads to perfect death, the full and perfect experience that we are dead in Christ.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with # 16)

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The Holy Spirit Glorifies the Son


“He shall glorify me” (John 16:14)

After the Lord Jesus went back to heaven, He sent upon the church the Holy Spirit, and the business and work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son. Now this is a marvelous statement. We do not see the Holy Spirit – He is invisible, and in a sense that is because His work is to glorify the Son. Indeed, we read about the Holy Spirit in John 16:14 the same thing that we read elsewhere about the Son. Our Lord says that the Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself, but “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” We are told precisely the same thing about the Son in relation to the Father. Therefore, the great controlling thought we must hold in our minds is that the chief work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

In a sense the final glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ was the coming of the Holy Spirit. We are told in John’s Gospel that the Holy Spirit was not yet come because Jesus was not yet glorified. We see this in the great promise our Lord made one day in the Temple when He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). And John expounds on that: “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” So the Holy Spirit could not be given until Christ had died and risen again, until He had ascended and taken His seat at the right hand of God. God then said, in effect, “I give You the promise; You send it upon the people.”

A Thought to Ponder: The chief work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

 

 

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Humility # 14


Humility and Faith

“How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?” (John 5:44)

In an address I lately heard, the speaker said that the blessings of the higher Christian life were often like the objects exposed in a shop window, – one could see them clearly and yet could not reach them. If told to stretch out his hand and take, a man would answer, I cannot; there is a thick pane of glass between me and them. And even so Christians may see clearly the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, of over-flowing love and joy, of abiding communion and fruitfulness, and as yet feel that there was something between hindering the true possession. And what might that be? Nothing but pride.  The promises made to faith are so free and sure; the invitations and encouragements so strong; the mighty power of God on which it may count is so near and free, – that it can only be something that hinders faith that hinders the blessing being ours. In our text Jesus discovers to us that it is indeed pride that makes faith impossible. “How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another?” As we see how in their very nature pride and faith are irreconcilably at variance, we shall learn that faith and humility are at root one, and that we never can have more of true faith than we have of true humility; we shall see that we may indeed have strong intellectual conviction and assurance of the truth while pride is kept in the heart, but that it makes the living faith, which has power with God, an impossibility.

We need only think for a moment what faith is. Is it not the confession of nothingness and helplessness, the surrender and the waiting to let God work? Is it not in itself the most humbling thing there can be, – the acceptance of our place as dependents, who can claim or get or do nothing but what grace bestows? Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. And every, even the most secret breathing of pride, in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation, is jut the strengthening of that self which cannot enter the kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be there – the All in All.

Faith is the organ or sense for the perception and apprehension of the heavenly world and its blessings. Faith seeks the glory that comes from God, that only comes where God is All. As long as we take glory from one another, as long as ever we seek and love and jealously guard the glory of this life, the honor and reputation that comes from men, we do not seek, and cannot receive the glory that comes from God. Pride renders faith impossible. Salvation comes through a cross and a crucified Christ. Salvation is the fellowship with the crucified Christ in the Spirit of His Cross. Salvation is union with and delight in, salvation is participation in, the humility of Jesus. Is it wonder that our faith is so feeble when pride still reigns so much, and we have scarce learned even to long or pray for humility as the most needful and blessed part of salvation?

Humility and faith are more nearly allied in Scripture than many know. See it in the life of Christ. There are two cases in which He spoke of a great faith. Had not the centurion, at whose faith He marveled, saying, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel!” spoken, “I am not worthy that Thou should come under my roof”? And had not the mother to whom He spoke, “O woman, great is thy faith!” accepted the name of dog, and said, “Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs”? It is the humility that brings a soul to be nothing before God, that also removes every hindrance to faith, and makes it only fear lest it should dishonor Him by not trusting Him wholly.

Have we not here the cause of failure in the pursuit of holiness? Is it not this, though we knew it not, that made our consecration and our faith so superficial and so short-lived? We had no idea to what an extent pride and self were still secretly working within us, and how alone God by His incoming and His mighty power could cast them out. We understood not how nothing but the new and divine nature, taking entirely the place of the old self, could make us really humble. We knew not that absolute, unceasing, universal humility must be the root-disposition of every prayer and every approach to God as well as of very dealing with man; and that we might as well attempt to see without eyes, or live without breath, as believe or draw nigh to God or dwell in His love, without an all-pervading humility and lowliness of heart.

Have we not been making a mistake in taking so much trouble to believe, while all the time there was the old self in its pride seeking to possess itself of God’s blessing and riches? No wonder we could not believe. Let us change our course. Let us seek first of all to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God: He will exalt us. The cross, and the death, and the grave, into which Jesus humbled Himself, were His path to the glory of God. And they are our path. Let our one desire and our fervent prayer be, to be humbled with Him and like Him; let us accept gladly whatever can humble us before God or men; – this alone is the path to the glory of God.

You perhaps feel inclined to ask a question. I have spoken of some who have blessed experiences, or are the means of bringing blessing to others, and yet are lacking in humility. You ask whether these do not prove that they have true, even strong faith, though they show too clearly that they still seek too much te honor that cometh from men. There is more than one answer can be given. But the principal answer in our present connection is this: They indeed have a measure of faith, in proportion to which, with the special gifts bestowed upon them, is the blessing they bring to others. But in that very blessing the lack of humility. The blessing is often superficial or transitory, just because they are not the nothing that opens the way for God to be all. A deeper humility would without doubt bring a deeper and fuller blessing. The Holy Spirit not only working in them as a Spirit of power, but dwelling in them in the fullness of His grace, and especially that of humility, would through them communicate Himself to those converts for a life of power and holiness and steadfastness now all too little seen.

“How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another?” Nothing can cure you of the desire of receiving glory from men, or of the sensitiveness and pain and anger which come when it is not given, but giving yourself to seek only the glory that comes from God. Let the glory of the All-glorious God be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God, and you will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill the every desire of your faith.

~Andrew Murray~

(continued with #Humility and Death to Self”)

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Wanted: A Prophet to Preach to Preachers


At attempt to measure the sun with an inch tape  measure could hardly be more difficult than attempting to measure John the Baptist by our modern standards of spirituality. At Jordan the anxious crowd asked concerning the newborn child, “What manner of child shall this be?” They were told, “H shall be great in the sight of the Lord.”

Today we are prodigal with the use of this word “great”, for we mistake prominence for eminence.  In those days God was wanting not a priest nor a preacher, but MEN. There were plenty of men then, as now; but all were too small. God wanted a great man for a great task!

John the Baptist probably had not one qualification for the priesthood, but he had every quality to become a prophet. Immediately before his coming there had been four hundred years of darkness without one ray of prophetic light – four hundred years of silence without a “Thus saith the Lord” – four hundred years of progressive deterioration in spiritual things. With a river of beasts  blood for its atonement and with an overfed priesthood for its mediator, Israel, God’s favored nation, was lost in ceremony, sacrifice and circumcision.

But what an army of priests could not do in four hundred years, one man “sent of God”, John the Baptist, God-fashioned, God-filled, and God-fired, did in six months!

I share the view of E. M. Bounds that it takes God twenty years to make a preacher. John the Baptist,s training was in God’s University of Silence. God takes all His great men and women there. Though to Paul, the proud, law-keeping Pharisee of colossal intellect and boasted pedigree, Christ made a challenge on the Damascus road, and needed his three years in Arabia for emptying and unlearning before he could say, “God revealed Himself to me.” God can fill in a moment what may take years to empty. Hallelujah!

Jesus said, “Go ye!” but He also said, “Tarry until!” Let any man shut himself up for a week with only bread and water, with no books except the Bible, no television, no radio, with no visitor except the Holy Spirit, and I guarantee, my preacher brethren, that that man will either break up or break through and out. After that, like Paul, he will be known in hell!

John the Baptist was in God’s School of Silence, the wilderness, until the day of his showing forth. Who was better fitted for the task of stirring a torpid nation from its sensual slumber than this sun-scorched, fire-baptized, desert-bred prophet – sent of God with a  face like the judgment morning! In his eyes was the light of God, in his voice was the authority of God, and in his soul was the passion of God! Who, I ask, could be greater than John? Truly “He did no miracle”, that is, he never raised a dead man; but he did far more – he raised a dead nation!

This leather-girdled prophet with a time-limit ministry so burned and shone that those who heard his hot-tongued, heart-burning message, went home to sleepless night until their blistered souls were broken in repentance. Yet John the Baptist was strange in doctrine – no sacrifice, ceremony, or circumcision; strange in diet – no winebibbing nor banqueting; strange in dress – no phylacteries nor Pharisaic garments.

Yes, but John was  great! Great eagles fly alone; great lions hunt alone; great souls walk alone – alone with God.  Such loneliness is hard to endure and impossible to enjoy unless God-accompanied. Truly John made the grade in greatness. He was great in three ways: great in fidelity to the Father – training long years, preaching short months; great in his submission to the Spirit – he stepped and stopped as ordered; great in his statements of the Son – declaring Jesus, whom he had never seen before, as “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.”

John was a “Voice.” Most preachers are only echoes, for if you listen hard, you will be able to tell what latest book they have read and how little of the Book they quote. To reach the masses we need a Voice – a heaven-sent prophet to preach to preachers!  It take broken men to break men. Brethren, we have equipment but not enduement; commotion but not creation; action but not unction; rattle but not revival. We are dogmatic but not dynamic!

Every epoch has been  initiated by fire; every life, whether of preacher or prostitute will end with fire – judgment fire for some, hell-fire for others! Wesley sang, “Save poor souls out of the fire and quench their brands in Jesus’ blood.” Brethren, we have only one mission – to save souls; and yet they parish! Oh! think of them! Millions, hundreds of millions, maybe over one thousand million eternal souls, need Christ. Without eternal life they perish! Oh! the shame of it! the horror of it! the tragedy of it! “Christ was not willing that any should perish.” Preachers, people go by the millions to hell-fire today because we have lost Holy Spirit fire!

This generation of preachers is responsible for this generation of sinners. At the very doors of our churches are the masses – unwon because they are unreached because they are unloved. Thank God for all that is being done for missions overseas. Yet it is strangely true that we can get more “apparent” concern for people across the world than for our perishing neighbors across the street! With all our mass-evangelism, souls are won only in hundreds. Let an atom bomb come and they will fall by the thousands into hell.

To say that the sin of today has no parallel is without foundation. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” We find a graphic picture of Noah’s time in Genesis 6:5, “God saw … the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination … of his heart was only evil continually.” So it was, evil without exception, every imagination; evil without mixture, only evil; evil without intermission, evil continually. As it was, so it is! Sin today is both glamorized and popularized, thrown into the ear by radio, thrown into the eye by television, and splashed on popular magazine covers. Church-goers, sermon-sick and teaching-tired, leave the meeting as they entered it – visionless and passionless! Oh God, give this perishing generation ten thousand John the Baptists – to tear away the bandages, put over our national and international sins by politicians, humanists, and modernists!

Just as Moses could not mistake the sight of the burning bush, so a nation could not mistake the sight of a burning man! God meets fire with fire. The more fire in the pulpit the less burning in hell-fire. John the Baptist was a new man with a new message. As a man accused of murder hears the dread cry of the judge, “Guilty!” and pales at it, so the crowd heard John’s cry,  “Repent!”  until it rang down the corridors of their minds, stirred memory, bowed the conscience and bought them terror-stricken to repentance and baptism! After Pentecost, the onslaught of Peter, fresh from his fiery baptism of the Spirit, shook the crowd until s one man they cried out: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?! Imagine someone telling these sin-stricken men, “Just sign a card! Attend church regularly! Pay your tithes!” NO! 

Unctionized by the Spirit’s might, John cried, “Repent!”  And they did! Repentance is not a few hot tears at the penitent form. It is not emotion or remorse or reformation. Repentance is a change of mind about God, about sin, and about hell!

Nature’s two greatest forces are fire and wind, and these two were wedded on the Day of Pentecost. Thus, just like wind and fire, that blessed “upper room” company were irresistible, uncontrollable, unpredictable – Then their fire started missionary fires, quenched the violence of fire, lit martyr fires, and started revival fires!

Two hundred years ago, Charles Wesley sang “O that in me the sacred fire might now begin to glow, burn up the dross of base desire, and make the mountains flow!” Dr. Hatch cried: “Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly Thine, until this earthly part of me glows with Thy fire divine.” Holy Spirit fire both destroys, purifies, warms, attracts, and empowers.

Some Christians cannot say when they were saved. But I never knew a man yet who was baptized with the Holy Spirit and Fire and was unable to say when it happened. Such Spirit-filled men shake nations for God, like Wesley who was born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and lived and walked in the Spirit.

An automobile will never move until it has ignition – fire; so some men are neither moved nor moving because they have everything except fire.

Beloved, brethren, there is to be a special judgment for preachers; they shall receive the greater condemnation (James 3:1). Can it be possible that as they stand condemned before the bar of God, men will turn on some and say, “Preacher, if you had had Holy Spirit fire, I should not now be going to hell-fire.” Like Wesley, I believe in the need for repentance in the believer. The promise of the Father is for you. Just now, on your knees in that lonely mission station, or by your chair in that comfortable home, or in the pastor’s study crushed and almost ready to give up, make this your prayer:

To make my weak heart strong and brave,

Send the fire.

To live a dying world to save, send the fire.

Oh, see me on Thy altar lay

My life, my all, this very day;

To crown the offering now, I pray:

Send the fire!

F. de L. Booth-Tucker

We have a cold church in a cold world because the preachers are cold and we are cold. Therefore, “Lord, send the Fire!” Amen!

~Leonard Ravenhill~

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