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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Oswald Chambers ~ Of what success?

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crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
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Santa Clara, CA

 Oswald Chambers ~ Of what success?

[b]The Patience of the Enshrined Life of God[/b]

[i]Here is the patience of the saints.[/i]

The revelation of God in the Bible works in a twofold way: first the Incarnate Fact, our Lord Jesus Christ; second, the interpretation of that Fact enshrined in the lives of those who are “called to be saints.”† A saint is one in whom the life of Jesus Christ is formed.

The description given in Revelation 14:9-11 is the description of prosperous worldliness such as has never been seen before, but from God’s standpoint it is a moral disaster, and I should say we are very near the type of civilised life that this refers to. What is described in the climax is true in every stage until the climax is reached. After the War* this combine of everything, in which it will be impossible to have religion independent of an organisation, or business independent of a federation, will take place.

[b][i](a) In the Perversion of Religion[/i][/b]

[i]If any man worshippeth the beast and his image, and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand . . .††† (rv)[/i]

This is the description of a man who has given the best he has got to the ruling power that gives him what he wants. If he is consecrated entirely there, he will meet with undoubted prosperity. He receives “a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand” (symbols of thought and grasp), a mark of the time in which he lives, cut off from everything other than the present order of things. The worship that should be given to God is given to “the beast and his image.”††† The saint has to endure, keeping “the word of My patience,” maintaining the enshrined life of God in the midst of this perversion of religion. We can always recognise the mark of the beast if we put this one simple test—was it necessary for Jesus Christ to have lived and died to produce that attitude to life?

[b][i](b) In the Punishment of Revelation[/i][/b]

[i]. . . he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mingled unmixed in the cup of His anger. (Revelation 14:10 rv)[/i]

—intoxicated by the elemental wrath of God. The love of God and the wrath of God are obverse sides of the same thing. If we are morally rightly related to God we see His love side, but if we reverse the order and get out of touch with God, we come to a place where we find everything is based on wrath—not that God is angry, like a Moloch,* but wrath is inevitable; we cannot get out of it. If we give the best we have got to worldliness we shall one day wake up to the revelation of what we have done and shall experience the wrath of God, mingled with ungovernable despair—“I gave the best I had got, not to God, but to the world, and I can’t alter now.” This is not only true with individuals, but with the whole of civilised life. Take the good, thoroughgoing, prosperous, worldly business men of any country who have worshipped at the shrine of a pagan worldliness, you will find exactly what Jesus says, their hearts fail them—“men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world” (rv). Men who have worshipped mammon have the mark of the beast in thought and grasp, and when the realisation of where they are comes, they “faint for fear.” Civilisations will get there; and the panic in any country will be beyond all limits. God is the controller of History.

[b][i](c) In the Pain of Recession[/i][/b]

[i]and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. (Revelation 14:11)[/i]

That is the pictorial way of presenting the atmosphere of the wrath in which civilisations will be found when once God is manifested. When mediaeval artists wanted to portray a crime they usually accompanied the scene with bad weather. According to God’s Book, this is not merely pictorial, but a representation of what will actually take place. “The smoke of their torment” refers not only to the physical condition of individuals, but to the terrific disturbance in Nature which is connected with it. Satan is “the prince of the power of the air.”

Take the popular idea of Christianity and compare it with the patience of the saints, and you will see where we are. Popular Christianity says, “[b]We must succeed[/b].” The Book of Revelation says success cannot be marked, it is impossible. The New Testament conception of spirituality in the world is a forlorn hope always, by God’s design. Take the parable of the Sower††, which is the key to all the parables, only one-fourth of the seed sown brings forth fruit in this dispensation. We are determined to be successful; the Apostle Paul says we are called upon to be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). In this dispensation it is a day of humiliation in the lives of the saints, as it was in the life of our Lord. We have to remain steadfastly patient to God through the whole thing.

Oswald Chambers
[i]The servant as His Lord[/i]

*the War: World War I (1914-1918).
*moloch: tyrannical power requiring sacrafice to be appeased.

Cont...


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Mike Balog

 2005/10/22 11:00Profile
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 Re: Oswald Chambers ~ Of what success?

[b]The Practice of the Expressed Love of God[/b]

[i]. . . they that keep the commandments of God.[/i]

What are the commandments? “The first of all the commandments is, . . . thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: the second is . . . this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mark 12:30-31†††).

[b][i](a) Among the Unseemly[/i][/b]

[i]“Love . . . doth not behave itself unseemly . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5rv).[/i]
In prosperous worldliness there is any amount that is unseemly, not from the social standpoint, but from the saint’s standpoint. The way worldly sagacity argues is—Pay men back in their own coin, if you have been deceived, deceive in order to get your rights—“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”††† You cannot do that if you are a saint. We must practise the expressed love of God and behave among the unseemly as the children of God. There is no test on earth to equal it. There is unseemly laughter at the saint—“Where is your success? What have you done? what is the good of missionary enterprise? what is the use of talking about spiritual things to soldiers?” If the saints are not practising the expression of the love of God, they will be discouraged and give up. Discouragement is “disenchanted egotism”; “I have not got what I wanted, therefore I am not going on, I give it up. I have lost my conceit.”

“Love . . . taketh not account of evil . . .” (rv); it does not ignore the fact that there is evil, but it does not take it into calculation. Someone has done us a wrong, and we say, “Now I must be careful. . . .” Our attitude is to be that of the expressed love of God, and if we take the evil into account we cannot express His love. We must deal with that one as God has dealt with us. There is no bigger, stiffer job for a saint than that.

[i][b](b) Among the Unspiritual[/b][/i]

[i]“Love . . . rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 6rv)[/i]. Prosperous worldliness is unspiritual and those who do not pray and who are not at all holy get on well. There is so much nervous energy spent in spiritual exercises, in giving time to study, that the temptation is to let these things slip. We have to express the love of God and see that we do not become unspiritual among the unspiritual tendencies around us. If you listen to the talk of the day in which we live you find it is sagacious common sense that rules, the spiritual standpoint is taboo, like a fairy-story. The question is, will we maintain the spiritual standpoint, or say, “oh yes, it is rather too high”? We do not need Jesus Christ and the Bible for the ordinary common-sense standpoint, and if in a crisis we act according to common sense we do not express the love of God.

[b][i](c) Among the Unshameable[/i][/b]

[i]“. . . beareth all things, . . . endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7)[/i]. After every phase of a particular type of successful civilised life, we get the anti-conventionalist who tries to develop the unshameable attitude and brags about things. It is called pluck; it is not, it is shamelessness, and it is easy to remain unspiritual before that.

At the basis of every one of these matters, the unseemly, the unspiritual, the unshameable, is something that is right, a strong basis of common sense; but the test for the saint is not common sense, but “Is this what Jesus Christ stood for?” “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel,” says the Apostle Paul. If you dare to stand for Jesus Christ and His presentation of things in certain crises, men will separate you from their company, treat you with unutterable contempt. “Blessed are ye,” said Jesus, “when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake” (Luke 6:22†). We have to express the love of God in the midst of these things.

Cont...


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Mike Balog

 2005/10/22 11:27Profile
crsschk
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 Oswald Chambers ~ Of what success?

[b]The Power of the Enshrouded Loyalty to God[/b]

[i]. . . and the faith of Jesus.[/i]

The faith of Jesus is exhibited in His temptation†† and can be summed up in His own words: “I came . . . not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.”††† Jesus remained steadfastly loyal to His Father, and the saint has to keep the faith of Jesus.

[b][i](a) Under the Success of Civilisation (Matthew 4:3-4)[/i][/b]

In the Temptation†† the sagacity of Satan is seen from every standpoint—“If Thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread"† (rv): “Look after men’s bodies, feed them and heal them, and you will get men under Your control.” Was Satan right? would Jesus Christ have gained the Kingship of men if He had put their needs first? Read John 6:15—“Jesus therefore perceiving that they were about to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again into the mountain Himself alone” (rv). It is this temptation which has betaken the Christian Church to-day. We worship Man, and God is looked upon as a blessing machine for humanity. We find it in the most spiritual movements of all. For instance, watch how subtly the missionary call has changed. It is not now the watchword of the Moravian* call, which saw behind every suffering heathen the Face of Christ: the need has come to be the call. It is not that Jesus Christ said “Go,” but that the heathen will not be saved if we do not go. It is a subtle change that is sagacious, but not spiritual. The need is never the call: the need is the opportunity. Jesus Christ’s first obedience was to the will of His Father—“Lo, in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will,”† and, “As the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you” (rv). The saint has to remain loyal to God in the midst of the machinery of successful civilisation, in the midst of worldly prosperity, and in the face of crushing defeat.

[b][i](b) Under the Success of Ceremonialism (Matthew 4:5-7)[/i][/b]

[i]“If Thou art the Son of God, cast Thyself down . . .”[/i] (rv). “Do some supernatural wonder, use apparatus whereby You will paralyse men’s wits and stagger them, and the world will be at Your feet.” In the midst of the success of worldliness we get an outburst of spiritualism, of supernaturalism, fire called down from heaven by the authority of the devil, and all kinds of signs and wonders whereby people say, “Lo, here is Christ.”†† Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” I believe in the Second Coming, but not always in its advocates. They are apt to ignore altogether what Jesus said.

[b][i](c) Under the Success of Compromise (Matthew 4:8-10)[/i][/b]

[i]“All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.”[/i] “Be diplomatic, be wise, compromise in a wise shrewd way and You will get everything under Your own control.” That is the kind of thing the peace of the world is based on, we call it “diplomacy.” Jesus maintained His faith in God’s methods in spite of the temptations which were so sagacious and wise from every standpoint, saving the standpoint of the Spirit of God. The insinuation of putting men’s needs first, success first, has entered into the very domain of evangelism, and has substituted “the passion for souls” for “the passion for Christ,” and we experience shame when we realise how completely we have muddled the whole thing by not maintaining steadfast loyalty to Jesus Christ.

You will find the things God uses, not to develop you, but to develop the manifestation of God in you, are just the things we are apt to ignore—successful worldliness, other people, trials of our faith—these are the things that either make a saint un-saintly, or give God the chance to exhibit Himself. The most delightful saint is the one who has been chastened through great sorrows. The type of character produced by great sorrows is different from that produced by the pressure of the “mosquito” order of things. The saints are unnoticed, there is no flourish of trumpets about them, nothing self-advertised, but slowly and surely this characteristic comes out—the stamp of a family likeness to Jesus Christ, and men take knowledge of them, that they have been with Jesus.
[i]Zeitoun, Egypt* Sunday morning service, August 26, 1917[/i]

*[i]The Moravian Mission traces its beginnings to the 1730s, to a Christian community founded by Count Nicholas Zinzendorf.[/i]

*[i]Zeitoun (zay TOON). An area 6 miles NE of Cario. Site of YMCA camp, Egypt General Mission compund and a large base area for British, Australian and New Zealand troops. Site of the Imperial School of Instruction (1916-1919)[/i]

Oswald Chambers
[i]The servant as His Lord.[/i]


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Mike Balog

 2005/10/22 23:38Profile





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