17-The One Thing We Must Do-BH Clendennen
The Pathway to An Overcoming Life
It's made very plain through the Bible to overcome is to overcome yourself. Jesus said only the overcomer will be a part of the Bridal company and sit with Him on the throne of this universe. I don't care what you have in this life, nothing will compare to that. God wants to deal with us about the diligence required for this. We've dealt with the need for separation, that it is this self of ours that has to be put aside if God is going to live His life through us. If we are going to be and do what God has called us to do we must hear this.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
The church isn't lacking in organization and planning. We have the machinery in place to carry out the great commission, but the foremost problem has not been solved. The most important problem of everything is how to arouse the church to a deeper, fuller life in Christ. Recognizing we have to do this against the message being preached by multitudes, and by preachers that are talking to multitudes that you're alright where you are. This is the difficulty. Satan has a message out there, there's no going further, you're saved, that's all there is to it, you can never be lost again. All that does is sanctify sin, not the sinner. The great problem is to arouse that church to a deeper, fuller life in Christ. Without this, there's no possibility of Christ being made known to all the world in this generation. It's a question of life and death, that's what it is.
Assuming the necessity of the church as a redemptive society, we must conclude the church is the only hope of civilization. The condition of the society around us is largely a reflection of the church. Were it not for the corruption now being found in the church, then there would not be all of that we are seeing out there. The Bible says we are the light of the world. The church as a redemptive society must be renewed before revival can come to the world. When I speak of renewing the church, I'm not talking about a religious system, I'm talking about the local church. That must take place before there could ever be a revival in the world. One of the predominant spirits in the world is evolution. That spirit says you are just a higher form of an animal, that's the reason life has become so cheap. Along with that is the spirit of reincarnation so prevalent today, brought in by Hinduism. The New Age movement is only a modified version of that, instead of coming back from a cockroach to where you are, it's one human life to another human life. That says there's no accident. The movie star who wrote the book Out on a Limb had the spirit guide, and when that bus went over the edge of that cliff and she saw all the carnage, the screams, and death, she was weeping. He said why are you weeping? She said because of all of this, he said it had to be for them to come up into a higher order. That's the spirit that prevails and is why life is so cheap and violence is so vile.
Before this can be changed, there must be a renewing of the church means the Holy Spirit is poured out in such profusion that men's thoughts turn to eternity one more time. Before we can begin to renew the vessel, we must clearly see what is the true calling of the church and every believer. Christianity is one thing and one thing only: eternal life in the midst of time by the strength and under the eyes of God. Before the renewing can begin, we must see clearly what is the true call of the church. The reign of God which Jesus proclaimed was His finding of and being possessed by this eternal life in the midst of time. Christ was the firstborn of this new creation of which we are. The kingdom as preached by Jesus is primarily the rule of God in this human spirit. That eternal life in the midst of time. The kingdom of God which is the church, consists of those who are redeemed, bound together and to Christ in the holy purpose of making His way of life dominant in the world so His will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Now the reign of God which Jesus proclaimed was this finding of and being possessed of this eternal life now, not after a while. Faith, according to our Lord, gave men possession of power now. Mark 9:23, Mat 17:20, Luke 17:26. Religion to Christ, and so it must be to the church, was simply a matter of simply casting one's all upon the life of God out of sheer love for God. Since God was the sole of life to Christ, the supreme thing to His mind was the rule of God. Christ expects then that everyone who's been made a partaker of His redemption must yield himself as the first object of existence to live for the coming of His kingdom.
Christ asks and expects every born again child of God in the power of His Spirit and love, shall not live for themselves but entirely for Him who died and lives for them. If this standard is counted too high, then our attempt to lift the church to the more abundant life will be in vain, absolutely impossible. The Spirit has to be poured out then upon all flesh. The Word all flesh means all humanity. IF that is to happen, if all humanity is going to feel the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, where is it going to come from?
Know ye not you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you? Since the Holy Spirit dwells in us, it must be through us He must come. The command of God to His church is be filled with the Spirit. Our greatest need in this hour is a renewal of Pentecost. To bring those vessels back to the altar of God and tarry there until those vessels are filled again and the world can once more take knowledge we have been with Christ. After the renewal of Pentecost, we must obey Christ's command and let our light shine before men. According to John 1:4 the life was light. This says in no uncertain terms that there can be life in us and not be seen. Something has obstructed its flow. That something has rendered the church incapable of fulfilling the command of the Lord in taking the Gospel to every creature. The Holy Spirit gives us this broad picture of the cause of our impotency.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
The Spirit of God never leaves us with the broad view. He breaks it up, He deals with each person specifically. The weight and sin that hinders me may not be the same with you. This brings us to the 2nd step of renewing the vessel. That is, the heart of the church, and the individual believer must be probed by the Word of God. The law of God must be preached until we discover what the real cause of the evil is, it's power over us and our inability to overcome it. It's not enough for us to confess that we've been unfaithful to the charge of Christ, that we're guilty of leaving men to perish without the Gospel. We have to go deeper than a broad confession that we have sinned. We must ask why with our faith in Christ, there has been so little love to Him for the souls of men He has entrusted us with. We'll find the root of it is we selfishly sought and looked to Christ for our own personal salvation only. We've become a parasite of the pew, looking only to what is in it for ourselves and not pouring ourselves out that others may know. It is worldliness that's kept us from living in the death and power of His resurrection. It's self satisfaction that's been content with a religion which was for the greater part, in the power of human wisdom and only in the form of Godliness.
We as preachers of this gospel as the voice of God to His church must be brought to the conviction that we need an entire revolution in our own inner life. The church will never rise higher than that pulpit. The God who by His power saved us, must also bring us, still by a more powerful experience of His grace into that life of the new covenant in which God will dwell with us and walk with us. Who but the man of God, the preacher called of God will take the initiative in bringing this about today? The greatest need of the modern church is for power in that pulpit. We live in a very progressive time and if other agencies have increased power then the pulpit must have that increase of power or lose its supremacy-or perhaps I should say it will never regain that supremacy. It's a pretentious age we live in, and if the false prophets will voice their false views and theories, the pulpit must meet and explode them.
It's a very wicked age. If the current evil is to be arrested, then the pulpit must be foremost with soul searching, proclamation of the Word of God. If we are serious about being God's voice to a spiritually sick church, we must restudy Moses' encounter with God at that burning bush.
Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
Fire is an emblem of sanctification and though Moses was a very imminent servant of God, there were elements of hesitancy and disobedience in his nature which had to be destroyed with a consuming fire. Moses looked and said he must turn aside and see this great sight. From this we learn the lesson of taking time to wait upon God and giving attention to our own spiritual needs. If we aren't where we ought to be, we'll never lift that church up where it should be. It's very difficult to persuade that preacher or servant of God to take time to seek this baptism of the Holy Ghost. There are preachers by the score who are partially interested in holiness but aren't interested in as Moses was, to leave the sheep tending, and secondary matters alone, long enough to wait on the anointing. One has a business appointment, another a sick person to visit, a fellowship meeting to attend, or a Sunday school lesson to write. Each has some little task to attend to, but they have no time to seek the sanctifying grace of God.
If the preacher isn't holy, the church will not be holy. When Jesus told the 120 to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were baptized in the Holy Ghost, it would have been absolute rebellion and idolatry for them to go about Jerusalem even though they were visiting the sick and feeding the hungry. No time is lost in the journey by stopping to pray. No real duties are ever neglected by stopping to be filled with this Holy Ghost or refilled. In fact, it's absolutely disobedience for you to go without Him. Behold the bush burned with fire and wasn't consumed. God's question to us in this moment isn't have you been filled but are you filled right now? If we're to deliver the church the experience must be up to date. It's evident this burning bush is a type of what God wanted Moses to be and every man of God. The very bush upon which Moses was gazing was a weak shrub compared to the trees of the forest. It had no strength. But when touched by the power of God, it become an instrument of power. When the Lord saw Moses turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of that bush.
The call to holiness is always personal. God wants an audience with us individually. We're not sanctified or justified in the collective mass, but God deals with every person separately. Moses said, here am I. All through the Word of God, all the ultimate questions of salvation and destiny, are brought to a point and settled between the I Am of God and the here I am of man. The Lord said take the shoes off your feet. Those shoes separate from what we're standing on. There must not be anything separating us from His holiness if we are going to be His instrument in these perilous times. He said My sheep know my voice and another they won't follow. If we are going to be the voice of God, we must separate ourselves from everything and separated ourselves unto the holiness of God, the clean must be separated from the unclean. Then and only then can we be His voice and be assured His sheep will hear our voice. God help us to become the voice of God and call that church back to be the church and the problems will be solved.
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