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Discussion Forum : General Topics : RASA ~ Duncan Campbell ~ STEADFASTNESS IN CONDUCT

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crsschk
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 Random Article strikes again!

Some general suggestions...

There are some gems that pop up through this great feature; "[b]Random Article[/b]" on the right hand side of the main page.

The key to catching them is to be quick because every time you move on to another page it is refreshed and another takes it's place.

I keep a shortcut icon of Windows Notepad on my desktop and pull it up for items like this amongst others. Copying and pasting the link for later viewing.

Grabbed this one by the hem before it got away:

[b]The Chained Ambassador[/b]
Samuel Logan Brengle

My soul was stirred within me the other morning by Paul’s appeal for the prayers of the Church, in which he declares himself to be “an ambassador in bonds” or as the margin reads, “in a chain.”

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching there­unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds” (Eph. 6:18-20).

You know what an ambassador is—a man who represents one government to another. The person of such a man is considered sacred. His word is with power. The dignity and authority of his county and government are behind him. Any injury or indignity to him is an injury and indignity to the country he represents.

Now Paul was an ambassador of Heaven, representing the Lord Jesus Christ to the people of this world. But instead of being respected and honored, he was thrust into prison and chained between two ignorant and probably brutal, Roman soldiers.

What stirred me were the quenchless zeal of the man and the work he did in the circumstances. Most Christians would have considered their work done or at least broken off till they were free again. But not so with Paul. From his prison and chains, he sent forth a few letters that have blessed the world, and will bless it to the end of time. He also taught us that there is a ministry of prayer, as well as of more active work. We live in an age of restless work and rush and excitement, and we need to learn this lesson.

Paul was the most active of all the Apostles -- “in labors more abundant” -- and it seemed as if he could ill be spared from the oversight of the converts and the new church which he had so recently opened, and which were in such desperate circumstances and surrounded by implacable enemies. But as he was set to be the chief exponent of the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ, so he was set to be the chief exponent of its saving and sanctifying power under the most trying conditions.

It is difficult if not quite impossible to conceive of a trial to which Paul was not subjected--from being worshipped as a god to being whipped and stoned as the vilest slave. But he declared that none of these things moved him. He had learned in whatsoever state he was to be content (Phil 4:11), and he triumphantly wrote at the end of his life: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). He did not backslide. He did not even murmur, but kept on his way, trusting in the love of Jesus and through faith in Him, coming off more than conqueror.

Many Christians have fairly well learned the lessons of activity taught us by Paul, but it will be well for us to be prepared to learn the lessons taught us by his imprisonment. Doubly important is it for sick and resting officers to learn these lessons. They get impatient of waiting, are tempted to murmur and repine, and imagine that they can do nothing. But the fact is, God may possibly use them more widely in prayer and praise, if they will believe and rejoice and watch and pray in the Holy Ghost, than He used them at the head of a battalion of Christian soldiers. They should watch unto prayer for those who are at work and for those in need of the salvation of God. I write from experience.

continued...


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/29 5:53Profile
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 Re: Random Article strikes again!

For eighteen months I was laid aside with a broken head. God put His chain on me, and I had to learn the lessons of a passive ministry of prayer and praise and patience, or backslide altogether. It seemed as if I should never be able to work any more. But I did not backslide. God helped me to nestle down into His will, and like David to behave and quiet myself as a child weaned of his mother, until my soul was even as a weaned child (Ps.131:2).

Yet my heart longed for the glory of God and the salvation of nations. I prayed and watched reports of the salvation war and studied the needs of some parts of the world and prayed on until I knew God heard and answered me. My heart was made as glad as though I had been in the thick of the fight.

During that time I read of a great country, and my heart ached and burned and longed for God to send salvation there. In secret and in family prayer I poured out my heart to God, and I knew He heard and would yet do great things for that dark, sad country. Shortly after this, I learned of dreadful persecutions and the banishment of many simple, earnest Christians to this country. While I was greatly grieved at their sufferings, yet I thanked God that He was taking this way to get the fight of His glorious salvation into that loveless, needy land.

The fact is, sick and resting workers and saints of God can move Him to bless the Church and the world if they have faith and will storm Heaven with continuous prayers.

Transcending Chains Through Payer
There are more ways to chain God’s ambassadors than between Roman soldiers in Roman dungeons. If you are hopelessly sick, you are chained. If you are shut in by family cares and claims you are chained. But remember Paul’s chain, and take courage.

I sometimes hear Christian workers who have deserted their posts and become so entangled that it is impossible for them to get back into Christian work, lamenting their sad fate, and declaring they can do nothing. Let them bow beneath the judgment of God, kiss the hand that smites them, no longer chafe under the chain that binds them, but cheerfully, patiently begin to exercise themselves in the ministry of prayer.

If they are faithful, God may yet unloose their chain, and let them out into the happier ministry of work. Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage and missed the mighty blessing he should have had. Still he got a blessing (Gen. 27:38-40).

If a man really longs to see God’s glory and souls saved rather than to have a good time himself why should he not content himself to lie on a sick bed, or stand by a loom and pray, as well as to stand on a platform and preach, if God will bless one as much as the other?

The platform man can see much of his work and its fruit. The praying man can only feel his. But the certainty that he is in touch with God and being used by Him may be as great or greater than that of the man who sees with his eyes. Many a revival has had its secret source in the closet of some poor washerwoman or blacksmith who prayed in the Holy Ghost, but who was chained to a life of desperate daily toil.

The platform man gets his glory on earth, but the neglected, unknown or despised chained ambassador who prayed will share largely in the general triumph. It may be he will march by the King’s side, while the platform man comes in behind.

God sees not as man sees. He looks at the heart, and regards His children’s cry, and marks for future glory and renown and boundless reward all those who cry and sigh for His honor and the salvation of men.

God could have loosed Paul, but He did not choose to do so. But Paul did not grumble or get sulky or fall into despair or lose his joy and peace and faith and power. He prayed and rejoiced and believed and thought about the poor little struggling churches and the weak converts he had left behind him. He wrote to them and bore them on his heart and wept over them and prayed for them night and day. In so doing he saved his own soul and moved God to bless ten thousand times ten thousand folks whom he never saw and of whom he never even dreamed.

But let no one called of God to the work imagine that this lesson of the chained ambassador is for those who are free to go. It is not. It is only for those who are in chains.

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=135] Samuel Logan Brengle[/url]

Edit: I cannot even begin to say how much this speaks to my present condition especially; '[i]If you are shut in by family cares and claims you are chained.[/i]' Suspect there very well may be others in similar situations, may it be an encouargement to them as much as it is to me.
In this present case, "random" seems to be a misplaced word :-)


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/29 5:56Profile
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 Re: Random Article strikes again!

[u]Harry Ironside[/u]

An excerpt,

[i]Night after night I attended the meetings, speaking on the street and indoors, and I soon noticed (and doubtless others did too) that a change came over my "testimonies." Before, I had always held up Christ, and pointed the lost to Him. Now, almost imperceptibly, my own experience became my theme, and I held up myself as a striking example of consecration and holiness! This was the prevailing characteristic of the brief addresses made by most of the "advanced" Christians in our company. The youngest in grace magnified Christ. The "sanctified" magnified themselves. A favorite song will make this more manifest than any words of mine. It is still widely used in Army meetings, and finds a place in their song or hymnbooks. I give only one verse as a specimen:

The people I know don't live holy;
They battle with unconquered sin,
Not daring to consecrate fully,
Or they full salvation would win.
With malice they have constant trouble,
From doubting they long to be free;
With most things about them they grumble;
Praise God, this is not so with ME!

Will the reader believe me when I say that I sang this wretched doggerel without a thought of the sinful pride to which it was giving expression? I considered it my duty to continually direct attention to "my experience of full salvation," as it was called. "If you don't testify to it, you will lose the blessing," was accepted as an axiom among us.[/i]

-----------------------

In two parts:
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=10275]HOLINESS: THE FALSE AND THE TRUE - PART 1 OF 2[/url]
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=10276]HOLINESS: THE FALSE AND THE TRUE - PART 2 of 2[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2004/12/19 23:18Profile
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Online!
 Re:

Quote:
Grabbed this one by the hem before it got away


hahhaha praise God! your awesome brother Mike.. yes I love how there is so much truth hidden away in the almost 15,000 text articles, peoms, hymns... praise God for the spiritual truths we can learn that are found in this section. You have dug up and caught some great principles :)


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/12/19 23:22Profile
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 Re:

Another one...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When you open a Bible, you see at once that it is made up of many shorter books. Do you wonder how people decided which books should be in the Bible?

It was important for Christians to know which works were true scriptures and which weren't. For one thing, they needed to know what teachings they should follow. For another, they needed to know what writings they should protect if they had to, because they didn't want to be tortured or killed for trying to save a book that wasn't God's word. About a hundred and thirty years after Christ's resurrection, bishops began making lists of the writings that they regarded as scripture. Their lists were usually close to each other but did not always agree exactly with one another.

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=7126]January 7, 367 • Athanasius Listed Writings with Power to Help.[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2005/1/15 0:43Profile
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 Re:

If you want to do a bit of background reading on this topic you might like to read
The New Testament Documents; are they reliable?" by F F Bruce.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/1/15 3:49Profile
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 Re:

Ron, you find the greatest links!

A snippet;

[i]"It is, indeed, difficult to restrict a discussion of the New Testament writings to the purely historical plane; [b]theology insists on breaking in.[/b][/i]"

Indeed!

Rather fond of F.F. Bruce. Have another one of those 'priceless' bargain books that end up on the discount table;

[u]Jesus[/u]
'Past, Present & Future; The Work Of Christ'
F.F. Bruce

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

F.F. Bruce (1910-1991) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England, and a leading evangelical biblical scholar. Widely esteemed for his numerous and scholarly biblical studies and commentaries on the New Testament, behind the scenes he regularly devoted himself to teaching the Bible to laypeople.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other recommended works from him?


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Mike Balog

 2005/1/15 10:12Profile
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 Random Article strikes again! AWT

[b]THE HUMBLE PLACE[/b]

I have met two classes of Christians; the proud who imagine they are humble, and the humble who are afraid they are proud! There should be another class: the self-forgetful men and women who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest. The truly humble person does not expect to find virtue in himself, and when he finds none he is not disappointed. He knows that any good deed he may do is the result of God's working within him. When this belief becomes so much a part of any man or woman that it operates as a kind of unconscious reflex, he or she is released from the burden of trying to live up to the opinion they hold of themselves. They can relax and count upon the Holy Spirit to fulfill the moral law within them. Let us never forget that the promises of God are made to the humble: the proud man by his pride forfeits every blessing promised to the lowly heart, and from the hand of God he need expect only justice!

A.W. Tozer


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Mike Balog

 2005/2/12 19:49Profile
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 Random Article strikes again! Richard Owen Roberts

[u]Cycles of Revival[/u]

A very easy way to come to grips with the biblical teaching on revival is to approach it from the standpoint of cycles of history.

In your imagination, picture a very long line that begins with the creation of man in the book of Genesis and continues on until the end of the present age, sometimes in our unknown future. Let us call this imaginary line the norm. A cycle of history consists of crossing this line twice; once going down and a second time going up.

The Cycles In The Old Testament
Consider this question, "At the time of creation, was man above or below this imaginary line?" Every indication is that prior to his fall man enjoyed a relationship of great beauty and intimacy with God which was vastly above the normal relationship of man with God in subsequent times. But Eve sinned and Adam joined her. Suddenly their intimacy with God was lost and their relationship plunged below the line. From that point in Genesis until the close of Malachi it is possible to trace numerous cycles in which God's people experienced a return to God and a still later departure from Him.

The book of Judges provides tremendous help in understanding these cycles. Please note the pattern as established in chapter two. Stage One: The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the Elders who survived Joshua (vs.7). Stage Two: When Joshua died (vs 8), the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, serving the Baals and forsaking the Lord, the God of their fathers (vss 11-13). Stage Three: The anger of the Lord burned against then under righteous judgement, delivering them into the hands of their enemies. Whenever they went the hand the Lord was against them for evil and they were severely distressed (vss 14-17). Stage Four: When the judgement was so heavy and the oppression so great that they could no longer handle it, they groaned under the burden and cried unto the Lord (vs.18b). Stage Five: When the cry was of great anguish and from their hearts, God raised up a judge who delivered from the hands of their enemies (vs 18a), and the people again served the Lord their God and enjoyed a season of rest. But the cycle started all over again, for when that judge died, they turned their backs on God and acted more corruptly than their fathers in following other gods to serve them, and bow down to them (vs 19). Thus, once more the anger of the Lord burned against Israel (vss 20-21).

With a little care you can see this cycle clearly repeated seven times in the next fourteen chapters:

Under Othniel (3:1-11);
Under Ehud (3:12-31);
Under Deborah (4:1-5:31);
Under Gideon (6:1-8:35);
Under Abimelech (9:1-57);
Under Jepthah (10:6-12:7) and
Under Sampson (13:1-16:31).
In addition to these seven, there were several other cycles during this period which are not so distinctly delineated.

Similar patterns appear throughout the other historical books of the Bible from First Samuel to Nehemiah, enabling us to say that there are many full cycles of history in the Old Testament. But what about the New Testament?

The Cross-over And Peak In The New Testament
Some, who are aware that the subject of revival is so much more prominent in the Old Testament than in the New, have concluded that revival is indeed an Old Testament phenomena and not something to be found in the New Testament nor to be looked for in this present age of grace. This error of interpretation can be easily exposed by examining the question, "How many full cycles exist in the New Testament?"

We begin by asking, "Where does the New Testament begin, above or below the norm?" We know that the New Testament was preceded by that period which has been denominated "the four hundred years of silence" -- that long stretch of time in which there is no recorded evidence of God having spoke to man. We know that John the Baptist spoke severely to the religious leaders of his day saying "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matt. 3:7). We know that Christ came to His own and His own received Him not (John 1:11). Certainly, the evidence is ample that the New Testament opened below the line.

Is it no clear that the people of God were moved way above the norm when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost? In one day about three thousand were baptized, a;; believers were of one mind, taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people (Acts 2:43-47).

But where, in relationship to this line, did the New Testament close, and how many full cycles appear in the New Testament? Clearly, it closed above the line and obviously, there was less than one full cycle in the entire New Testament! While we know that numerous warnings in the Epistles predict a descent below the line, and the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3) fortify these warnings, the New Testament Church remained above the norm.

There is indeed a most precious sense in which the New Testament must be described as revival at its highest and at its best. Thus, instead of concluding that revival is not at all a New Testament theme, it can be described as the grandest theme of all the New Testament -- God drawing near to His own people through Immanuel — God with us.

Since the New Testament days it is easy to observe the cycles of history as it is in the Old Testament. Just in the history of the United States of America alone, several full cycles are clearly evident. The same can be said for the United Kingdom.

The Church Today At A Low Point
But what does all this teach us about where we are today, and how can it help us?

Consider again the great lesson of the Book of Judges. A season of revival brings the people of God into a restored relationship with their Father. But when that people sin and will not repent, God Himself brings them under His righteous judgement. Surely that is where the Church in the western world is today. We have sinned grievously against God. Think of the terrible pride of evangelicalism! Consider the spirit of stubbornness and rebellion that mars so much of the work of the Church in the age of decadence! Ponder the terrible unbelief that marks both the conduct and the practice of the vast portions of professed believers. Realize that millions of people have been led to a false hope of salvation by the grievously distorted and paltry teaching and preaching so popular today. Surely these sins, not to mention innumerable others, are an affront to our holy God and sufficient to have brought the wrath of God upon an entire generation.

But do the evidences of God's righteous judgements upon us -- in the form of restraining the stirring of His heart and compassion toward us (Isaiah 63:15); the withdrawal of His manifest presence and the delivering us up to the power of our own iniquities (Isaiah 74:7); the forcing us to drink the wine of His wrath to the point of spiritual drunkenness (Jer. 13:12-14); the visitation of earthquakes, floods, fires, storms, and hosts of other indicators of His wrath -- have the desired affect? Are we crying out to God for mercy? Do the groaning of our burdened hearts reach the throne of the Almighty? Apparently not yet!

Oh, to be sure, there are some individuals here and there who are under an immense burden of concern and imploring God to come among us in power. Infrequently one does learn of a local congregation somewhere that is weeping before the Lord as it seeks His face; but by-and-large the Church seems to indicate that things are not so bad but what one more committee, or one more new and innovative program, or some new approach not yet tried, will rescue us from our difficult circumstances. How much worse must things become before the whole Church begins to cry out to God?

The Lack Of A Cyclical Pattern
Have you ever wondered if there is any fixed pattern in these cycles of history? Are the moral and spiritual declines uniformed in their depths? Are the upturns or revivals consistent in the peaks they reach? Is there any uniformity in the length of the cycles and the periods of time between revivals?

For an answer, consider the history if the revivals in the United States. In the earliest days of settlement in the New England Colonies in the 1600's there were several gracious seasons of revival. A powerful movement of the Spirit gripped much of the then existing nation between approximately 1732 and 1770. Another great revival began about 1792 and continued in various waves into the 1840's. The mighty prayer revival gripped much of the nation in 1857 and 1858. Another revival occurred during the Civil War. Some parts of the nation were touched by revival in 1905-1906 as a spill-over of the mighty work of God in Wales.

Yet, since that time we have seen little more than localized movements touching small and scattered elements of our society. In truth, we have not had a large-scale nation-wide revival for considerably more than a century.

And what about the peaks and troughs? From all appearances, there is no pattern. The times, depths, and peaks vary, manifesting the creative ways of our sovereign God. We may say, however, that the current decline goes to shocking depths, so much so that many wonder if the nation can ever turn upward toward God again.

Hope And Cry For Deliverance
Ought we to despair? Absolutely not! Is there no hope? There is abundant reason for hope! The judgements we are under are gracious and remedial! Will we heed them? Will we yet cry unto God for deliverance? Indeed, what will you personally do?

Will you let the evidences of where we are as a nation move you to appropriate action? Will you, as a believing individual, cry unto God day and night, "Turn us again, Oh God, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved" (Psalm 80:3,7,19). Will you encourage your church to heed the call of II Chronicles 7:14 to humble itself, pray, seek his face, and turn from its wicked ways? Will you stand firmly with others who are calling the nation of churches to cry earnestly unto God in seasons of humiliating repentance, fasting and prayer?

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=107]Richard Owen Roberts[/url]


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Mike Balog

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 RASA ~ The Heresy of Christendom

[b]The Heresy of Christendom[/b]
Peter Ainslie


I have only to remind you of one single fact, and that is that Christianity is a reality. It can no more express itself in dogmas and creeds than can human blood pulsate through books and dusty archives.

The aim of Christianity is to elevate character, to purify conduct, to perpetuate goodness, and to make men in the express image of the Father; but religious definitions and correct orthodoxy have been so prominent in the minds of churchmen that, when the English poet said,

"We have preached Christ for centuries,
Until at last men learn to scoff,
So few seem any better off."

he was expressing the world's contempt for dogmas and creeds, by the side of the world's incomparable need of benevolence. When Christ was asked what was the one test by which you would know true teachers from the false, it was not, "By their doctrines you shall know them," as many would have us think in these days, but, "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Artists have painted pictures of Christ bearing the cross up the slope of Calvary and pathos breaks down in tears when we see him fallen beneath that cross; but heavier than the cross of Christ is the theology of men. The cross of Calvary was laid upon him by the unsympathetic soldiers of the Tower of Antonia. That heavier cross of theology has been laid upon him by those whom history has called his friends, but I think that of the marks upon him of the latter cross, he will say, "These are the wounds that I received in the house of my friends."

Christianity is true, or it would long ago have perished in the theologies of men, as weak streams have perished in desert sands. In spite of the difficulties of its human prison-house, it has worked marvelous changes in the soul-soil of our race, and it has lifted characters of the redeemed to such heights [299] in holiness that the robes of angels have clothed them and light from the throne has crowned them; but darker than the noonday of crucifixion have been the clouds of opinions of men about the person of Christ. The world could only see the darkness of the clouds. It is no surprise that a French statesman cried in despair, "Christ has come, but when cometh salvation?" The world looked towards Calvary and they saw only the cross of orthodoxy. They asked for bread and they were given a stone; they asked for a fish and they were given a serpent; but God can not be coffined in orthodoxy, for he is larger than the church and his heart is wider than the hearts of theologians. The generation which has already risen to take our places will certainly pass judgment upon the church of this generation unless she becomes as sensitive to the practice of benevolence as she is to the belief in correct orthodoxy. The generation wants the gospel of brotherhood, kindness and help. It will not ask for charity, but it will ask for Jesus Christ, disrobed of human thought, for the Christianity of victory is not to be identified with what Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Campbell or what any other man has thought. It must have the God of human companionship, whose disciples bear the fruit of unstinted benevolence, else that generation will repeat what history has done and make its own God.

continued


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 2005/2/26 21:46Profile





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