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lwpray
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 Re: The Lord's controversy



GIRD THYSELF
Otto Stockmayer

The natural indolence of the human heart tends to let oneself go. There are men too indolent to stir themselves up to fight. They fight shy of the conflict themselves, while they expect it in others. Thus we become spiritual invalids, such as are unable to bear a breath of air; who blame everybody but themselves—people without a backbone, without a moral standard, given over blindly to follow their own thoughts and inclinations, because they are sold under their own natural life. He who does not thus pull himself together, and gird himself, leaves gate and door open to all sorts of ideas; he thinks no one understands him, no one loves him, and be thinks everything gives him a right to pity himself.

Poor, pitiable creature! Can we wonder at the lack of the Holy Spirit’s power, when children of God are in such a condition? ‘All seek their own,’ and finally come to blame God for His want of mercy. Whence comes this? Because men have not had true pity for themselves, which would lead to self-mastery. How should children turn out well whose parents have never rightly disciplined them? God is a Father who does not fear to deal severely with us when we need it; and He has the right, since He spared not His only-begotten Son, but freely gave Him up for our salvation. It is only when we are severe with ourselves that we can, and may, be severe with others. And only thus in this present evil age will characters be formed which will stand the coming storm.

The mind of the Lord Jesus was to empty Himself to the uttermost, and the Spirit of Christ only generates such as no longer love their own life. He who is begotten of the Spirit of Christ follows the ways of Christ—the Lamb-spirit—which tends to give itself. Whoever is of His seed finds it to be his second nature to serve. Lasting blessing belongs to self-surrender. The love of Christ cannot grow cold; it proceeds from another world than this. The love of Christ manifested on the Cross empowers us to go on our way with girded loins. . .

There is no waste in our physical or spiritual life which is beyond repair by God, and which He has not bound Himself to restore on divine lines. God must in the end be able to say of thy life what He could say in the days of the creation:
‘Behold, it is very good.’ ‘He lifteth up the poor from the dust, and the beggar from the dunghill, that He may set him among princes’ (1 Samuel 2:8). He takes no rest until the rays of His glory shine forth from us—us who have so long manifested the caricature which our own nature has become. . . Trust in thy Saviour, who is still able to make thee a saint, living in God alone instead of always revolving around thyself. Grace sets all in order for those who have the courage to believe.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/16 9:53Profile









 Re:

“Not many are willing to have the crucifixion experience made real, very real, in their lives. Crucifixion was a painful experience, and it still is.”
Roseberry

This is at the core of the Controversy of the Lord, isn’t it?
Hanna


 2004/9/20 13:50
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
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 Re:




I cannot help but borrowing a comment made by Hanna in another thread:

“Not many are willing to have the crucifixion experience made real, very real, in their lives. Crucifixion was a painful experience, and it still is.”
Roseberry

This is at the core of the Controversy of the Lord, isn’t it?
Hanna


And the repeat what Hanna writes in the previous post:

We have put theological knowledge and intellectual pride in the place of spiritual understanding – Help us, Lord.

In these two very compact statements the peril of modernity finds a definite formula.
And I also repeat: Help us Lord.
Lars


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/20 14:58Profile
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 Re: The Lord's controversy



A NOBODY

Grace is often adulterated by human vanity, which mingles Grace with the Law of Moses and human energies. We say human, because the energy and power of the Holy Spirit is lacking.
There are many who begin to run well, but who later err in that they set out on a campaign to conquer the world for Christ. Their ways, carriage, and words reveal a feverish restlessness, as if their task demanded more time and effort than that which is humanly possible to give. They appear to be labouring under a great burden. Everything they do shows that they want to be in earnest for the Lord. They want to become great saints, tireless workers, etc. But failure awaits them; and, alas, many have ended in despair.

They have been studying relentlessly, anxious to become singular saints, and strain every nerve to win souls in order to convert the world to Christ. What is the motive back of all your struggling and work? Do you really desire only God’s glory? Is there no spiritual vanity in you? Are you really desiring to remain unknown, even to yourself?

Listen! Swallow this little pill which will, in time, be salutary to you. GOD HAS NO NEED OF YOU. He carries the government of the universe without your assistance. The sun will rise and set without your efforts. You are not necessary. God, in His mercy, condescends to use you, for He wants to make you something for His Kingdom. You are an unprofitable servant, even if you succeed to do everything He may command you. You do not know how many times He has had to adjust what you have not said or done wisely, humbly, or timely.

What then? PURE GRACE is the answer. Nothing is nothing. The Lord is the I AM to those who know that they are not. He becomes the ALL IN ALL to those who become nothing before their own eyes. And the knowledge of this nothingness must be so ingrained in you that you must even forget that you are nothing.
Please, do not parade your own insignificance or unworthiness. Forget yourself entirely and remain in God’s hand as a nobody. He will then use you more effectually than you can ever imagine or hope, but you will not even discover how much He has used you.
If you enter the realm of Grace – I mean PURE GRACE - you will even stop saying that you are serving people, but will enter the condition prophesied in Revelation 22.3: “And His servants shall serve Him.” Someone translates: “And the bond-servants of Him shall publicly serve Him.”
Such servants will not think of themselves, of their own holiness, nor even boast that they are serving people. They will be so immersed in God that they will not even notice if they are doing any work for Him.
Eternity will reveal it.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/10/3 2:20Profile
lwpray
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 Re: The Lord's controversy



THE CHURCH: TODAY’S REALITY VS. GOD’S INTENTION

There can be no denial of the statement that there is a tremendous contrast between the Church as it is seen on earth today and the Church of the New Testament writings, especially of the Book of Acts. And if the thought is lifted from the Church as it existed in apostolic days to the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the Church as God intended, and still intends it to be, the contrast is greater still.
What are the two great marks of the Church of Christ according to divine revelations? Are they not ”Blod” and “Fire” with their concomitants of Sacrifice and Suffering?
The very strangeness of that statement and perhaps the shock which its reading gives are tokens of how far we have drifted, and how little we are accustomed to think God’s thoughts after Him. The New Testament is saturated with these great spiritual realities.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/10/8 1:41Profile
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 Re: The Lord's controversy



Could This Be Our Most Critical Need?
A.W. Tozer

When viewing the religious scene today, we are tempted to fix on one or another weakness and say, “This is what is wrong with the church. If this were corrected, we could recapture the glory of the early church and have pentecostal times back with us again.”
This tendency to oversimplification is itself a weakness and should be guarded against always, especially when dealing with anything as complex as religion as it occurs in modern times. It takes a very young man to reduce all our present woes to a single disease and cure the whole thing with one simple remedy. Older and wiser heads will be more cautious, having learned that the prescribed nostrum seldom works for the reason that the diagnosis has not been correct. Nothing is that simple. Few spiritual diseases occur alone. Almost all are complicated by the presence of others and are so vitally interrelated as they spread over the whole religious body that it would take the wisdom of a Solomon to find a single cure.

For this reason, I am hesitant to point to any one defect in present-day Christianity and make all our troubles to stem from it alone. That so-called Bible religion in our times is suffering rapid decline is so evident as to need no proof, but just what has brought about this decline is not so easy to discover. I can only say that I have observed one significant lack among evangelical Christians which might turn out to be the real cause of most of our spiritual troubles. Of course, if that were true, then the supplying of that lack would be our most critical need.

The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual discernment, especially among our leaders. How there can be so much Bible knowledge and so little insight, so little moral penetration, is one of the enigmas of the religious world today. I think it is altogether accurate to say that there has never before been a time in the history of the church when so many people were engaged in Bible study as are so engaged today. If the knowledge of Bible doctrine were any guarantee of godliness, this would without doubt be known in history as the age of sanctity. Instead, it may well be known as the age of the church’s Babylonish captivity, or the age of worldliness, when the professed Bride of Christ allowed herself to be successfully courted by the fallen sons of men in unbelievable numbers. The body of evangelical believers, under evil influences, has during the last twenty five years gone over to the world in complete and abject surrender, avoiding only a few of the grosser sins such as drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.

That this disgraceful betrayal has taken place in broad daylight with full consent of our Bible teachers and evangelists is one of the most terrible affairs in the spiritual history of the world. Yet I for one cannot believe that the great surrender was negotiated by men of evil heart who set out deliberately to destroy the faith of our fathers. Many good and clean-living people have collaborated with the quislings who betrayed us. Why? The answer can only be, from lack of spiritual vision. Something like a mist has settled over the church as “the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations” (Isaiah 25:7). Such a veil once descended upon Israel: “For their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:14-15). That was Israel’s tragic hour. God raised up the church and temporarily disfranchised His ancient people. He could not trust His work to blind men.

Surely we need a baptism of clear seeing if we are to escape the fate of Israel (and of every other religious body in history that forsook God). If not the greatest need, then surely one of the greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy. But the cross is always the harbinger of the resurrection.

Mere evangelism is not our present need. Evangelism does no more than extend religion, of whatever kind it may be. It gains acceptance for religion among larger numbers of people without giving much thought to the quality of that religion. The tragedy is that present-day evangelism accepts the degenerate form of Christianity now current as the very religion of the apostles and busies itself with making converts to it with no questions asked. And all the time we are moving farther and farther from the New Testament pattern.

We must have a new reformation. There must come a violent break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad, paganized pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men employing unscriptural methods to achieve their ends.
When the Roman church apostatized, God brought about the Reformation. When the Reformation declined, God raised up the Moravians and the Wesleys. When these movements began to die, God raised up fundamentalism and the “deeper life” groups.
Now that these have almost without exception sold out to the world—what next?

From:
We travel an appointed way


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/10/9 11:29Profile
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 Re: The Lord's controversy



THE HOLY SPIRIT’S COMMITMENT

What I want us to see now is that the Holy Spirit, above all other considerations, is committed to, and concerned with, the throne (of the Lord Jesus). Therefore if you and I are at all under the government of the Holy Spirit, it will be in that matter that we shall be mainly exercised. It will be in the matter of the overthrow of the powers of evil, the dethronement of Satan and his system.
That will be the object to which the Holy Spirit is working in us and through us continually, and we must recognize that; because, until we really get on the main thing which the Holy Spirit has in view, we cannot know the fulness of the Spirit.

You ask for Pentecost; rightly or wrongly, you pray for Pentecost to be repeated. What do people mean when they are praying in that way for another experience of Pentecost? I think we have missed the point. We are after some thing, something to be experienced in the matter of sense, power, demonstration. All sorts of things will happen if only we can get Pentecost again. Revival will come! Such is the common outlook. The Lord open our eyes!
While those things may be quite good and may result, that is not the essential meaning of Pentecost. The fulness of the Spirit is related to the lordship of Jesus Christ, nothing less, and that will find us very much in need of the Holy Spirit because of the intensity of the conflict on that issue.

T. A.-S.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/10/24 2:15Profile
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 Re: The Lord's controversy



INFLATED RELIGION
A.W.Tozer

If inflation means that there is more money but its value is less, then it may properly be said that religion in the last few years has been hit by inflation. Statistics show not only that more people belong to churches, but that a larger per cent of the total population are now churchgoers, or are at least identified with the churches; and certainly no one would deny that religious rallies and evangelistic campaigns draw vaster crowds than at any other time in modern history.

These things being so, would it not be logical to expect that moral conditions would be better as a consequence? But the situation is exactly contrary. More new and expensive church buildings, more professed Christians, huger crowds and stepped-up religious activities have raised the moral standards of the civilized world not one inch.

In the midst of all this the church stands completely impotent. She is impotent because she is in her Babylonian captivity and cannot sing the Lord’s song in a strange land. She is custodian of a Christianity that has become almost wholly secularized; her own moral standards are disgracefully low, the fire of her worship has burnt down to a gray ash, and her whole inner life is seriously and tragically impaired.

The inflationary religious boom of recent years has given us more Christianity, but it is worth less. Religion has become popular. Thousands of uninstructed and bewildered persons have ”accepted” Christ, but they have no remote idea of the true meaning of the cross. They are not penitent; they evince no real fear of God; they have not separated from the world; their psychology is pagan, their ambitions are carnal, their lives empty. They turned to Christianity because it was at the moment the popular thing to do. They innocently believed what they were told and did what they were urged to do; but tragically they accepted a Christ that is no Christ and a cross that is not the cross of Christ.

Religious gatherings swarm with this kind of Christians. It takes no particular prophetic gift to foresee with a fair degree of accuracy what the outcome will be. A war or a depression or some other violent dislocation of the social order will deflate our shiny religious balloon. From some direction harsh reality will strike swift and hard and the millions who have taken refuge under the glass roof of popular Christianity will find themselves without a cover; then, bitter and disillusioned, they will turn in fury against the gospel, the church, and every form of religion. Cynicism, materialism, and unbelief will blanket the world again as it did after World War I.

The swing away from popular religion is inevitable, and I believe it will be a good thing, for it will separate the men from the boys and reveal who is on the Lord’s side and who is not. It will expose bogus faith and allow true faith to stand forth by contrast strong and clear and victorious The Christian who has not compromised his testimony is now in a position of peculiar strength. Through him the Lord can work to bring back the church from her Babylonian captivity. God’s poor captive children will look to the Ezras and the Nehemiahs who have suffered with them in their affliction but who have never accepted Babylon as their true home.

Those leaders who have become in any degree tainted by the religions of Babylon can never command the respect of the mourning exiles. It is our belief that the evangelical movement will continue to drift farther and farther from the New Testament position until its leadership passes from the modern religious star to the self-effacing saint who asks for no praise and seeks no place, happy only when the glory is attributed to God, and himself forgotten.

Until such men as these return again to spiritual leadership we may expect a progressive deterioration in the quality of popular Christianity year after year till we reach the point where the grieved Holy Spirit withdraws like the Shekinah from the temple and we are left like Jerusalem after the crucifixion, God-deserted and alone. In spite of every effort to torture doctrine to prove that the Spirit will not forsake religious men, the record reveals plainly enough that He sometimes does. He has in the past forsaken groups when they had gone too far to make a recovery.

It is an open question whether or not the evangelical movement has sinned too long and departed too far from God to return again to spiritual sanity. Personally I do not believe it is too late to repent if the so-called Christians of the day would repudiate evil leadership and seek God again in true penitence and tears. The ”if’ is the big problem. Will they? Or are they too well satisfied with religious frolic and froth even to recognize their sad departure from the New Testament faith? If the latter is true, then there is nothing left but judgment.

The devil is adept at the use of the red herring. He knows well how to divert the attention of the praying Christian from his subtler but deadly attacks to something more obvious and less harmful. Then while the soldiers of the Lord gather excitedly at one gate he quietly enters by another. And when the ”saints” lose interest in the red herring they return to find the newly baptized and pious enemy in charge of proceedings. So far are they from recognizing him that they soon adopt his ways and call it progress.

Within the last quarter of a century we have actually seen a major shift in the beliefs and practices of the evangelical wing of the Church so radical as to amount to a complete sellout; and all this behind the cloak of fervent orthodoxy. With a Bible under their arm and a. bundle of tracts in their pocket, religious persons now meet to carry on ”services” so carnal, so pagan, that they can hardly be distinguished from the old vaudeville shows of earlier days. And for a preacher or an editor to challenge this heresy is to invite ridicule and abuse from every quarter.

Our only hope is that renewed spiritual pressure will be exerted increasingly by self-effacing and courageous men who desire nothing but the glory of God and the purity of the Church. May God send us many of them. They are long overdue.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/10 4:00Profile





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