I listened to excerpts from a compilation of old-time preaching! Stern warnings to any who would listen. We don't often hear stern warnings from the pulpits anymore.
Some of the men chosen for this compilation of scratchy preaching were Leonard Ravenhill, A. G. Tozer, T. Austin-Sparks, Duncan Campbell, Ian Pauley and Paris Reidhead. Not all well known? But their words, like the true words of God, pierce the heart and soul, mind and spirit.
Some wouldn't want to hear this type of preaching because of the convicting nature of it. We hear that Jesus loves us, His grace is sufficient, and these are true. Somehow the Church has changed to softer words that might better keep people in church rather than having them scatter.
One of the truths that was preached stuck with me for three days, though I have known it for some time, was this from Paris Reidhead. It was the theme of the entire compilation: Humanism says "The end of all being is the happiness of man." Christianity says, "The end of all being is the glory of God."
Jesus did not come into this world just to make us happy, content, peaceful, nor just to bless us, though He does. These come with knowing, acknowledging, praising and obeying Him.
It's not about what God can give to us. It's about giving of ourselves. Not taking from Him. It starts out that way when He gives us the gift of salvation. For that we are to be truly thankful. (Ahhh, this was brought up in our sermon this morning!) We generally come to Christ in a time of need. When a child is born it needs its mother and her milk. It needs nourishment in order to grow and learn. As Christians we start out needy until we begin to understand who God is, what His Word says and what His will is.
I read yesterday, surprisingly enough, Oswald Chambers' words: At the beginning of our Christian life we are full of requests to God, then we find that God wants to get us into relationship with Himself, to get us in touch with His purposes. His purposes. We begin to know this God and realize the greatness of who He is. We begin to see His work in our lives.
This is where we need to begin to change. We need to know His purpose in our lives. That purpose? To glorify God. Who wouldn't want to share Him? What has He done for us? How has He changed us? How has He removed sin and bad habits? People, this is how we are to live our lives. Not to glory in the things we have but to glory in He who created these things; not to glory in the new person we are, but who created that new person. Only God does that. We can't claim turning over a new leaf. Our affections are now on Him and the things of heaven rather than the world.
When I say it's all about God, this is exactly what that means. Everything revolves around Him. What He has created, what He has done both in our lives and in the world. How He is using us, even when we don't realize it! All things happen in this world to turn people to Him to acknowledge Him.
When we have tasted and seen this God, it's hard to go back to that old life. Slipping away from Him creates emptiness and unsettledness. We might even begin to glorify ourselves again.
I have watched a friend who recently lost her husband. She has very little. She doesn't know where the money will come from. While she stresses some, which will happen under the circumstances of losing someone, she always goes back to the Lord will provide and she praises Him in all things. She is learning to lean not on her own understanding in this while she looks back at each day and sees His hand in something that only He could have done.
It's not about us. It's all about Him. Christianity says, "The end of all being is the glory of God." He created, He calls, He saves, He sanctifies. He is coming back soon for a remnant who has taken His Word to heart, lived for Him and continues to glorify His name. The road grows more narrow as even the Church softens their stance on this God. The Church in general does not operate by God's will anymore but by the plans of man. It is ever so subtle. Looks good, but did God plant the idea or did man think it was good? (Again, discussed in church this morning!) It's not about the entertainment and the coffee shops and bringing the world view into the church. Remember, in anger Jesus overturned the tables in the temple. How would Christ respond in some churches today if He suddenly showed up? Is He being glorified or would man be glorifying his own achievements in the form of ministries?
Lord, forgive me when I fail to give You glory for something. Help me to lean not on my own understanding but to trust in You above all things. You are to be glorified in and through us, not us. It's all about You. Any change necessary in me, reveal it and help me overcome it.
Psalm 96:4-7 - For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, give to the LORD glory and strength.