“For clarification, what is the church? When I say that a church gets into the rote and then onto the rut and finally to the rot, what am I talking about? For one thing, the church is not the building. A church is an assembly of individuals. There is a lot of meaningless dialogue these days about the church. It is meaningless because those engaged in the dialogue forget that a church has no separate existence. A church is not an entity in itself, but rather is composed of individual persons. It is the same error made about the state. Politicians sometimes talk about the state as though it were an entity in itself. Social workers talk about society, but society is people. So is the church. The church is made up of real people, and when they come together we have the church. Whatever the people are who make up the church, that is the kind of church it is–no worse and no better, no wiser, no holier, no more ardent and no more worshipful. To improve or change the church you must begin with individuals. When people in the church only point to others for improvement and not to themselves, it is sure evidence that the church has come to dry rot. It is proof of three sins: the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of judgment and the sin of complacency.”
“For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? –Revelation 6:17
What a great responsibility God has laid upon us preachers of His gospel and teachers of His Word. In that future day when God’s wrath is poured out, how are we going to answer? How am I going to answer? I fear there is much we are doing in the name of the Christian church that is wood, hay and stubble destined to be burned up in God’s refining fire. A day is coming when I and my fellow ministers must give account of our stewardship:
What kind of a gospel did we preach?
Did we make it plain that men and women who are apart from Christ Jesus are lost?
Did we counsel them to repent and believe?
Did we tell them of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit?
Did we warn them of the wrath of the Lamb–the crucified, resurrected, outraged Lamb of God?
With that kind of accounting yet to come, the question John hears from the human objects of God’s wrath is especially significant: “Who can stand?” (6:17). Who indeed? Jesus Is Victor!, 108.
“We confess, do we not, that we have a Christian responsibility to believe God’s Word and to obey God’s Truth? Then we should accept the fact that it is our task to practice the Christian virtues in the power of the Holy Spirit as we await the coming of Him who will come. The great spiritual needs around us should drive us back to the gospel records of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. When evil men crucified Jesus, killed Him, they had no power to change Him. They could not alter the Person or the personality of the Son of God. Putting Him on the cross did not drain away any of His divine affection for a lost race. The best thing we know about our Lord and Savior is that He loves the sinner. He has always loved the outcast-and for that we should be glad, for we, too, were once outcasts! We are descended from that first man and woman who failed God and disobeyed. They were cast out of the garden, and God set in place a flaming sword to keep them from returning!”
“We ought to be fully aware that in the body of Christ we are not interested in the production of “cookie-cutter” Christians. This is a word of caution in the matter of Christian experience-there is no pattern or formula for identical Christian experiences. It is actually a tragic thing for believers to try to be exactly like each other in their Christian faith and life. I have probably been overly cautious about testifying to my own experiences because I do not want anyone to be tempted to try to copy anything the Lord has done for me. God has given each of us an individual temperament and distinct characteristics. Therefore it is the office of the Holy Spirit to work out as He will the details of Christian experience. They will vary with personality. Of this we may be sure: whenever a person truly meets God in faith and commitment to the gospel, he will have a consciousness and a sharp awareness of the details of that spiritual transaction!”
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God. –2 Corinthians 3:5
That is the difference between Christianity and all the Oriental cults and religions. All cult religions try to wake up what you already have, and Christianity says, “What you have is not enough– you will need the enduement which is sent from above!” That is the difference. The others say, “Stir up the thing that is in you,” and they expect this to be enough.
By way of illustration, if there were four or five lions coming at you, you would never think of saying to a little French poodle, “Wake up the lion in you.” That would not work–it would not be enough. They would chew the little fellow up and swallow him, haircut and all, because a French poodle just isn’t sufficient for a pack of lions. Some power outside of himself would have to make him bigger and stronger than the lion if he were to conquer.
That is exactly what the Holy Spirit says He does for the Christian believer, but the cult religions still say, “Concentrate and free your mind and release the creative powers that lie within you.” The Counselor, 142-143.
“Lord, in our self-reliance we’re all too often guilty of digging deep for that inner self-sufficiency. Our New Age culture fosters that error. Teach us how futile; show us Your power. Amen.””