Anointed To Teach God's Word

Classic Christian teaching from the holy Bible

Knowing God


“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6)

We must realize as we approach God that His ultimate, gracious purpose with regard to man has been revealed to us, and it is a purpose of love and mercy and of kindness and compassion. This is something that is only known fully and finally in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why this statement must be put like this: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). This truth is an absolute necessity. That is why our Lord said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He is the way to God. He is the truth about God, and apart from the life He gives, we will never share or know the life of God. So there is no knowledge of God apart from Him; through Him comes this ultimate true and saving knowledge, the saving relationship.

Notice what John 17:3 tells us about our Lord Jesus Christ: “That they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ.” The name Jesus reminds us of the truth of the Incarnation: This eternal Son of God was made man – the man Jesus. But the man Jesus is One who is God and who is co-equal with Him and whom, therefore, you think of in terms of being God and being with God – “and Jesus”.

But He is also Jesus Christ, and “Christ” means “Messiah,” the One who has been anointed to do this special work of bringing men and women to God and of giving God’s life to humankind. You see how all this mighty doctrine is put here as it were in a nutshell for us – “and Jesus Christ.” It is all there – the ultimate object is to know this “only true God”; yes, and the way to know Him is to know Jesus Christ.

A Thought to Ponder: Christ is the way to God; He is the truth about God.

~Martyn Lloyd-Jones~

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The On-High Calling # 21


The Abiding Vocation

Before going further with our main point there are two things that I want to say in parenthesis.

First, I want to correct a possible misunderstanding. The heavenly and spiritual Israel, which is the Church of Jesus Christ, is not an afterthought of God. It was not brought in because Israel failed. Please be very clear about that. There are those who teach that that is so. They say the Lord offered it to Israel, who refused it. He had to do something and so He got the idea of a Church. It was quite an afterthought, a kind of emergency movement of God. That is entirely false to the whole of the Bible, and it is one thing we are seeking to show in these days. We have said that everything in the Old Testament, including Israel, had Christ and the Church in view. It was all leading on to Christ and the Church, and they take up all the divine thoughts of the past and embody them in themselves. The Church is the eternal thing. It was in the heart of God before time was and was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.  The Church is no afterthought of God: it is a before-thought. God’s Son is NO emergency matter. He may have come in at a time of emergency, but He was in view for this particular work from all eternity. The Church was eternally intended to be the Body of Christ.

Now I want you to keep that in mind in all that we are saying. We believe that if Adam had not been disobedient in unbelief he would have been “conformed to God’s Son”; but his sin meant that he forfeited the divine intention. In the same way Israel would have become incorporated into the corporate expression of Christ, but in unbelief and disobedience Israel forfeited that “inheritance”. The Church universal stood eternally over Israel. This is a very important matter.

The other thing that I want to emphasize is this: that this new Israel, the Church, is essentially a spiritual thing, as truly as Christ, here, now, in a spiritual matter. And Christ is here in this world by the Spirit. As truly as Christ is here –  though no longer in physical presence and on a temporal basis (we can only know Him and have fellowship with Him spiritually) – so it is as to the Church.

There has to be a revolution in the minds of many Christians about this matter. That word “Church” is taken up and put on to almost anything. Forgive me! I mean no offence, but we are dealing with very vital matters. We hear of, speak of, this church and that church – the Lutheran church, the Methodist church, the Baptist church, the Anglican church – and how many more? We speak of all these as the church. From heaven’s standpoint that is a lot of nonsense. From heaven’s standpoint those are NOT the Church. They may represent one or other aspect of truth, but not one of them has the whole of the truth, and when you put them all together they have not all of the truth. All the truth is in Jesus alone.

The Church is a spiritual thing.  You cannot look upon anything material, or on people of the flesh, and say: “That is the Church.” You are only in the Church in so far as there is something of Christ in you. It is Christ in us that makes the Church. You see, the Church is a unity in Christ.

The Lord Jesus never looks upon so many loaves of bread all over the world when there is a gathering to His Table. I suppose that on the Lord’s Day there may be thousands of loaves of bread being broken, and I do not know how many cups – but heaven never sees more than one loaf and one cup. The loaf is Christ, the cup is Christ, and by partaking we are united in Christ.

It is not quite certain whether the translators were correct – though there may be something in it – when they translated the words of the Lord Jesus at the supper. In the old version it says: “This is my body, which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24). There may be very real truth in using that word “broken”. Indeed, the Lord’s body was broken, but the later translators have left that word out and have put: “This is my body, which is for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24). Perhaps that later translation dismisses  false idea, for that word “broken” has so often been taken to mean – ‘Here is one piece, there is another, and there is another’; pieces all over the world. Christ is NOT divided. There may be a thousand pieces of the earthly loaf, but the heavenly loaf is ONE, and that is how heaven sees the Church.

The Church is a broken thing on the earth. It is broken into many pieces down here, but in heaven it is seen as one, and the sooner you and I see from heaven’s standpoint the better. If this man or this woman is “in Christ”, it does not matter whether he or she is in our denomination or not, whether he or she is in our sect or not. If they are “in Christ” they are part with all others in Christ.

Understanding that the Church is a spiritual thing, not an earthly, temporal thing, and that is a very important thing for us to recognize; it is comprised of all who are born of the Spirit.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 22)

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The Blessedness of a Life of Intercession


“Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers, take ye no rest and give Him no rest, till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:6-7)

What an unspeakable grace to be allowed to deal with God in intercession for the supply of the need of others!

What a blessing, in close union with Christ, to take part in His great work as Intercessor and to mingle my prayers with His! What an honor to have power with God in heaven over souls and to obtain for them what they do not know or think!

What a privilege, as a steward of the grace of God, to bring to Him the state of the Church and of individual  souls, of the ministers of the Word or His messengers away in heathendom, and plead on their behalf till He entrusts me with the answer!

What blessedness, in union with other children of God, to strive together in prayer until the victory is gained over difficulties here on earth or  over the powers of darkness in high places!

It is indeed worth living for, to know that God will use me as an intercessor to receive and dispense here on earth His heavenly blessing and, above all, the power of His Holy Spirit.

This is in very deed the life of heaven, the life of the Lord Jesus Himself in His self-denying love, taking possession of me and urging me to yield myself wholly to bear the burden of souls before Him and to plead that they may live.

Too long have we thought of prayer simply as a means for the supplying of our need in life and service. may God help us to see what a place intercession takes in His divine counsel and in His work for the Kingdom. And may our hearts indeed feel that there is no honor or blessedness on earth at all equal to the unspeakable privilege of waiting upon God and bringing down from heaven and of opening the way on earth for blessings He delights to give!

O my Father, let Thy life indeed flow down to this earth and fill the hearts of Thy children! As the Lord Jesus pours out His love in His unceasing intercession in heaven, let it even be thus with us also upon earth, a life of overflowing love and never-ending intercession. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

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The On-High Calling # 20


Note the next thing: God’s glory in Abraham reached its climax in sonship. There were  many things in the life of Abraham when the God of glory needed to come in, and so we read that in different situations “the Lord appeared unto Abraham”. However, the peak of all God’s appearances to Abraham was in connection with Isaac – that is, it was bound up with this matter of sonship. The covenant of God with Abraham was going to be realized along the line of sonship, and all God’s purposes in him were bound up with Isaac. Of course, at the beginning Isaac was an impossibility – “Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, … and offer him there for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). All the promise and covenant are wrapped up in Isaac, who is to be slain with a knife. This s an impossible situation! Isaac to die? There is no possibility of another Isaac, indeed, I doubt whether Abraham would have wanted another. It was a matter of life or death to him and is a quite impossible situation if Isaac lies dead on the altar. But you know what happened! And you know what the New Testament says about that: “Accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a parable receive him back” (Hebrews 11:19).

Has anyone but God ever raised someone from the dead? Man can do a great deal in prolonging life, and he thinks he will reach the time when he will raise the dead. Well, we have not reached that time yet, and we shall see whether God will surrender His own one prerogative – that is, to bring back a departed spirit into a dead body. That is God’s act and is resurrection and not resuscitation.

I was saying that the glory of God reached its climax in Abraham’s case along the line of sonship. Later on we shall have to look at this more closely in connection with Lazarus, but let us come back to our beginning.

We turn to John again – “We beheld his glory”. How do we behold His glory? “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God” (John 1:12) – He gave them the authority to be sons. That is our history. We are able to say: “By God’s intervention I am a child of God”. Then you notice how John analyses this: “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). We are children of God by His intervention and by a direct act on His part. We are born from above and are made children of God. The glory of God is revealed in Jesus Christ in sonship.

Are you glorying in the fact that you are a born again child of God?

This same John, many years later, wrote these words, with a very full heart: “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is” (1 John 3:2). And connected with that, John said: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).

It is a wonderful thing to be a child of God! John said so, and he knew what he was talking about.

The glory, then, is in sonship. And it is at that point that Israel comes into view: Abraham’s seed through Isaac. It is the nation that is coming into view and, as we have said, God said to Pharaoh: “Let my son go.” That word “son” was a comprehensive word, meaning the whole nation. God saw that nation as one son and would not surrender one fragment, because sonship is such a complete thing. Pharaoh said ‘Well, let the men go. Leave the women and children and the flocks and herds”, but Moses said: ‘Not one single hoof of one single animal shall be left behind.” God had said “My son”, and that included the nation.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 21 – “The Abiding Vocation”)

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Christ’s Victory Rightfully Belongs to Us


” … in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren …” (Hebrews 2:17)

“Is it possible to be a true Christian and still suffer in the doldrums of discouragement?”

This is a question that we are hearing often. Frankly, I cannot assure you whether Christians should know discouragement or not: I can only tell you that they all do!

Inwardly, they are often heavy-hearted, defeated, unhappy and a little bit frightened – yet they are Christians!

What we need is to get the true scriptural vision of our victorious  Lord, our victorious human brother. Paul wrote to the Philippians about Jesus Christ humbling Himself and becoming obedient even unto the death of the Cross, and then: “Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name” and “every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.”

Now, that is our victorious Lord, our victorious human brother.

Someone may say: “It is no great news to say that God is victorious.”

But what we read in the New Testament is that God his joined His nature to the nature of man and has made a Man victorious, so that men might be victorious and overcoming in that Man!

God has made Him to be Head of the Church and He meanwhile waits for the time of His returning, guiding and keeping and instructing His Church. This He does by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God!

~A. W. Tozer~

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Letting God Speak


“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: ‘Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18)

Of all the heroes of the Bible, few are spoken of as respectfully as King David. What was so special about David? That was a question he asked himself. The est answer is simply this: David was a man who listened to God.

It is impossible to live a godly life if we do not listen to God. When we listen, we gain guidance, direction, discipline, and encouragement from our heavenly Father. This was certainly true in David’s life (Psalm 63:1-8). In the Psalms, we get a beautiful picture of David’s prayer life. Note four things he did when mediating on God:

First, he reviewed the past. Though David had made some serious mistakes, those hard times produced a necessary humility. Looking back helped him remember God’s faithfulness.

Second, David reflected upon God Himself. When w focus on God’s character, we grow in our understanding of who He is. This results in a more personal, interactive relationship.

Third, David remembered God’s promises. God has directed David’s steps throughout his life, and always with great success.

Finally, David made requests of his heavenly Father. God never intended us to go through life alone. He is always ready to act on our behalf.

If your prayer life is dominated by your own talking, you probably need to make some adjustments. Just as He spoke to David, God has many things to say to you, if you will simply let Him speak.

Lord, I know You have important things to say to me. Help me to listen, knowing You will speak. Amen

~Charles Stanley~

 

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The On-High Calling # 19


(Now, just a little word to the young Christians who have not yet done a lot of Bible study. I had not thought of saying this, but perhaps it will be helpful. I do not profess to know a great deal about the Bible, indeed, I know very little of it, but I will tell you how I started to study it. I bought a box of colored pencils and a  new Bible. I started first with John’s Gospel and I gave a certain color to the same word through the Gospel. Of course, I always put green where he word “life” is found! You see it all around – green speaks of life. Wherever the word “glory” appears I put blue – that i the color for heaven. I put red whenever anything to do with the blood or the Cross appeared – and so I went on. I had a wonderful result in the Gospel of John when I had finished! That is only a suggestion, but I hope that you may find it a helpful one. There are a  lot more colors than those three!)

We are saying that “glory” is one of John’s great words, and all the references in his Gospel to Christ’s glory are related to His super natural person and His super natural power. When John wrote “We beheld his glory” it was many years after the Lord Jesus had come and gone. John’s Gospel is one of the last books of the New Testament. All the other Apostles had probably gone to the Lord when John wrote it. So he was looking back over all that history and putting his impressions into words, and as he thought of the Lord Jesus, His life, His work, His teaching and everything else about Him, he summed it all up in this: “We beheld his glory.”

How did John behold the glory of the Lord of the Lord Jesus? He did so on many occasions and by a whole series of humanly impossible situations.

(That is another line of study for you! Go to the Gospel by John and see how many impossible situations you can find.)

The Gospel is just full of impossible situations. There is the marriage in Cana, when the wine failed. Humanly, that is an impossible situation. Then there is Nicodemus – and what is it that he is saying? “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4). An impossible situation! Think of the woman of Samaria. She had tried everything to find satisfaction. An impossible situation! And you can o right on like that. In all these situations Jesus came in and turned the impossible into actuality. Thus it says at the end of the account of the marriage in Cana: “This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory” (John 2:1). That was the principle which governed everything. It does not always say so in those words, but if you went back with that woman of Samaria into the city and heard her shouting to all the people: “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29), you  would conclude that she had beheld His glory.

So you go right on to Lazarus. Jesus said: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby” (John 11:4). An in the difficulty being faced by the sisters, when they could not altogether accept the fact that their problem was going to be solved at once, and they said: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24), Jesus replied: “Said I not unto thee, that if thou believe, thou should see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). You see, the glory of God in Jesus Christ related to what God could do that no one else could do. It was the super natural person and power of the Son of God.

That is the glory of God: and that is why we sometimes have such a difficulty in getting through. Perhaps you have often been troubled because of the difficulty some soul has in getting through to the Lord? It almost seems as though the Lord does not want to save them. They go through difficulties, sometimes for days, weeks or months, and all the time they are arguing and bringing up their problems, but nothing seems to happen. Then, at last, it does happen and they come through. Why is that?  God is emphatically saying: “This is going to be of Me, and not of yourself.” No man or woman can save himself or herself, even with all the goodwill of other people to help. The salvation of a soul is an impossible thing but for God, and He sees to it that it is put upon the super natural basis. He very often does He not come in until we have come to the point of despair – but He does come in then.

And what is true about salvation is so often true about our spiritual history. Again and again we are brought to the point where situations are quite impossible where man is concerned. We find we cannot solve that problem ourselves, or change that situation. If we were people of this world we might be able to do it, but somehow or other, because we are the Lord’s people, it just does not work. All our cleverness fails. Naturally there is no reason why we should not get on, but the fact is that we just do not. We try everything and are greatly perplexed. We are being brought more and more to despair, and finally to the point where we say: “Well, only the Lord can do this!” – and that is exactly what the Lord has been working for. When the God of glory appears, He appears as the God of glory. Do you see the point? Well, I said that the word “glory” in John’s Gospel is connected with the super natural power of Jesus Christ, and we can only learn who Jesus is by coming up against situations in which He is the only one who can help us. The more we go on to learn about the Lord Jesus the more impossible will life we, and situations become, on this earth.

That is the beginning of the God of glory.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 20)

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The Intercessors God Seeks


“I have set watchmen upon Thy walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers, take ye no rest and give Him no rest” (Isaiah 62:6-7).

Watchmen are ordinarily placed on the walls of a city to give notice to the rulers of coming danger. God appoints watchmen not only to warn men – often they will not hear – but also to summon Him to come to their aid whenever need or enemy may be threatening. The great work of the intercessor is to be that they are not to hold their peace day or night, to take no rest, and to give God no rest until the deliverance comes. In faith they may count upon the assurance that God will answer their prayer.

It is of this that our Lord Jesus said: “Shall not God avenge His own elect, who cry to Him day and night?” From every land the voice is  heard that the Church of Christ, under the influence of the power of the world and the earthly mindedness it brings, is losing its influence over its members. Thee is but little proof  of God’s presence in the conversion of sinners or the holiness of His people. With the great majority of Christians thee is an utter neglect of Christ’s call to take a part in the extension of His Kingdom. The power of the Holy Spirit is but little experienced.

Amid all the discussions as to what can be done to interest young and old in the study of God’s Word or to awaken love for the services of His house, one hears but little of the indispensable necessity of the power of the Holy Spirit in the ministry and the membership of the Church. One sees but little sign of the conviction and confession that is owing to the lack of prayer that the workings of the Spirit are so feeble and that only by united fervent prayer a change can be brought about. If ever there was a time when God’s elect should cry day and night to Him, it is now. Will you not, dear reader, offer yourself to God for this blessed work of intercession and learn to count it the highest privilege of you life to be a channel through whose prayers God’s blessing can be brought down to earth?

Ever blessed Father, hear us, we pray Thee, and do Thou Thyself rise up intercessors such as Thou would have. Give us, we beseech Thee, men and women to act as Thy remembrances, taking no rest and giving Thee no rest until Thy Church again be a praise n the earth. Blessed Father, let Thy Spirit teach us how to pray. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

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The On-High Calling # 18


The Two Beginnings

It would be a very wonderful thing if we could spend some time in seeing God’s line right from the beginning up to Christ. There were many generations which came to an end, and in one place there is a large summary of what came and what finished. It says “So-and-So lived, for so long, and he died.” That is said about a long list of people – they lived and then they died. However, right through there is one line that is the living line, continuing straight through history up to Christ. You can follow that line quite clearly, although, at times, it seemed to go under ground.

At at certain point in that movement of God, we find ourselves in the presence of His beginning with Israel. It has moved from individuals  to the point where the nation comes into view. Up to then the movement had been with individuals – Abel, Enoch, Noah. Then, when it reached Abraham the nation came on the horizon, that is, the Israel of history, of this earth.

We are going to note how God began with Israel, and how the principle of  that beginning is transferred to the new, heavenly Israel in Christ. It is very impressive to find that the beginning of the first Israel is in the New Testament, in the Book of Acts. Note that, for it is a significant thing. The  Book of Acts is the link between the old and the new: the focal point of the transition from the one to the other is there. Interestingly enough, it is in the discourse of the martyr, Stephen. The new Israel received a great impetus by his death.

The first thing that Stephen said to the old Israel was: “The God of glory appeared unto our father, Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia  (Acts 7:2) … “The God of glory appeared.” That was the first movement toward the old Israel, and that is exactly the first movement toward the new Israel: and we find that beginning in the New Testament.

We turn again to the Gospel by John: “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (now note!) … ” and we beheld his glory” (John 1:1, 14). Then turn again to the Letter to the Hebrews: “God … hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son … the effulgence of his glory” (Hebrews 1:1-3) … “The God of glory appeared … and hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son … the effulgence of his glory.”

First of all, then, God is breaking into human history. That is how it was with the first Israel. Away there, in Ur of the Chaldees, a pagan country with two thousand others gods, the God of glory broke in and changed the course of history. Thus He took His first step toward the securing of Israel.

The first chapter of John shows the God of glory breaking into human history in a new way.

That, of course, and you may have taken it in mentally, viewing it in an objective way. But you must just take hold of that and let it apply to you personally, because it relates to you and to me. You and I are called by God to be the companions of Christ in a heavenly calling and this belongs to all of us. The very beginning of our history as God’s heaven Israel is His intervention in our lives. Perhaps it was just as unexpected to some of us as it was to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees. We were living our lives in this world, were mixed up in the course of things here and were ruled by the god of this world. We were just there, one in a great crowd … and then God broke in. When God breaks into a life there is no doubt about it. It is a turning point in our history, and the nature of the change is that we no longer belong to this world. We have become members of a New Israel, of a heavenly people with a new spiritual nature. It may not have been with us just as it was with Abraham, but it is essential for every one of us to know that God has entered into our human history. In the first place it was not something from our side, but it was from God’s side. He took the initiative, perhaps in a wonderful way, or in a very simple way. It may belong to a moment in time, or it may belong to days, weeks or months. However, the fact is that God came in where we were. How did God come in? How should we put it, if we wanted to put it into worlds? Well, it says here about the old Israel: “The God of glory appeared”. Could you put it like that in your experience?

 

These words in the New Testament explain that. God came in Jesus Christ, and in Him is the glory of God. And as we have seen Jesus Christ, so we have come into touch with the God of glory. In the words of the Letter to the Hebrews: “God … hath … spoken unto us in his Son”. All those who know that Jesus Christ has come into their lives really do know that the God of glory has come in. And so John, after saying that “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us”, says, “and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father.”

And what is the glory? John goes on to say “full of grace and truth.” You will notice that in the New Testament grace and glory always go together. If you want to know what is the glory of God, well, it is the grace of God, and if you want to know what is the grace of God, it is the glory of God. It is the glory of God to be gracious. He glories in being gracious, and when you know the grace of God, then you know the glory of God. The glory of God will always come to us along the line of grace, and so, because of grace, we shall be able to say: “We beheld his glory”.

Perhaps you know that that word “glory” is one of the big words in John’s Gospel. If you have never done so, I advise you to go through the Gospel and underline that word.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continue with #19)

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Teach the Bible with High Moral Obligation


“… Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13)

Much that passes for New Testament Christianity is little more than objective truth sweetened with song, and made palatable by religious entertainment.

I take the risk of being misunderstood when I say that probably no other portion of the Scriptures can compare with the Pauline Epistles when it comes to making artificial saints. Peter warned that the unlearned and unstable would wrest Paul’s writings to their own destruction, and we have only to visit the average Bible conference and listen to a few lectures to know what he meant!

The ominous thing is that the Pauline doctrines may be taught with complete faithfulness to the letter of the text without making the hearers one whit better. The teacher may and often does so teach the truth as to leave the hearers without a sense of moral obligation.

One reason for the divorce between truth and life may be lack of the Spirit’s illumination. Another surely is the teacher’s unwillingness to get himself into trouble. Any man with fair pulpit gifts can get on with the average congregation if he just “feeds” them and lets them alone. Give them plenty of objective truth and never hint that they are wrong and should be set right, and they will be content!

But the man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life – but a glorious one!

~A. W. Tozer~

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