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Title: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 12, 2006, 12:26:39 PM
The Christian's Greatest Enemy
By A.W. Tozer

      Excerpted from Rut, Rot or Revival
      East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying:
      The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore He would give to your fathers - to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - and to their descendants after them." (Dt. 1:5- 8)
      In the Old Testament, the enemy that threatened Israel the most was the dictatorship of the customary. Israel became accustomed to walking around in circles and was blissfully content to stay by the safety of the mountain for a while. To put it another way, it was the psychology of the usual. God finally broke into the rut they were in and said, "You have been here long enough. It is time for you to move on."

      To put Israel's experience into perspective for our benefit today, we must see that the mountain represents a spiritual experience for a spiritual state of affairs. Israel's problem was that they had given up hope of ever getting the land God had promised them. They had become satisfied with going in circles and camping in nice, comfortable places. They had come under the spell of the psychology of the routine. It kept them where they were and prevented them from getting the riches God had promised them.

      If their enemy, the Edomites, would have come after them, the Israelites would have fought down to the last man and probably would have beaten the Edomites - Israel would have made progress. Instead they were twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the customary to keep on being the customary.

      What is the worst enemy the church faces today? This is where a lot of unreality and unconscious hypocrisy enters. Many are ready to say, "The liberals are our worst enemy." But the simple fact is that the average evangelical church does not have too much trouble with liberalism. Nobody gets up in our churches and claims that the first five books of Moses are just myths. Nobody says that the story of creation is simply religious mythology. Nobody denies that Christ walked on the water or that He rose from the grave. Nobody gets up in our churches and claims that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God or that He isn't coming back again. Nobody denies the validity of the Scriptures. We just cannot hide behind liberalism and say that it is our worst enemy. We believe that evangelical Christians are trying to hold on to the truth given to us, the faith of our fathers, so the liberals are not our worst enemy.

      Neither do we have a problem with the government. People in our country can do just about whatever they please and the government pays no attention. We can hold prayer meetings all night if we want, and the government would never bother us or question us. There is no secret police breathing down our backs watching our every move. We live in a free land, and we ought to thank God every day for that privilege.

      Dictatorship of the Routine
      The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes "lord" in the life of the church. Programs are organized and the prevailing conditions are accepted as normal. Anyone can predict next Sunday's service and what will happen. This seems to be the most deadly threat in the church today. When we come to the place where everything can be predicted and nobody expects anything unusual from God, we are in a rut. The routine dictates, and we can tell not only what will happen next Sunday, but what will occur next month and, if things do not improve, what will take place next year. Then we have reached the place where what has been determines what is, and what is determines what will be.

      That would be perfectly all right and proper for a cemetery. Nobody expects a cemetery to do anything but conform. The greatest conformists in the world today are those who sleep out in the community cemetery. They do not bother anyone. They just lie there, and it is perfectly all right for them to do so. You can predict what everyone will do in the cemetery from the deceased right down to the people who attend a funeral there. Everyone and everything in a cemetery has accepted the routine. Nobody expects anything out of those buried in the cemetery. But the church is not a cemetery and we should expect much from it, because what has been should not be lord to tell us what is, and what is should not be ruler to tell us what will be. God's people are supposed to grow.

      As long as there is growth, there is an air of unpredictability. Certainly we cannot predict exactly, but in many churches you just about can. Everybody knows just what will happen, and this has become our deadliest enemy. We blame the devil, the "last days" and anything else we can think of, but the greatest enemy is not outside of us. It is within - it is an attitude of accepting things as they are. We believe that what was must always determine what will be, and as a result we are not growing in expectation.

      The Progressive Stages
      As soon as someone begins talking like this, the Lord's people respond by getting busy. What I'm talking about, however, is internal. It is a matter of the soul and mind that ultimately determines our conduct. Let me show you the progressive stages.

      I began with what I call the rote. This is repetition without feeling. If someday someone would read the Scripture and believe it and would believe what is sung in the great Christian hymns, there would be a blessed spiritual revolution underway in a short time. But too many are caught up in the rote, repeating without feeling, without meaning, without wonder and without any happy surprises or expectations. In our services God cannot get in because we have it all fixed up for Him. We say, "Lord, we are going to have it this way. Now kindly bless our plans." We repeat without feeling, we repeat without meaning, we sing without wonder, and we listen without surprise. That is my description of the rote.

      We go one step further and come to what I will call the rut, which is bondage to the rote. When we are unable to see and sense bondage to the rote, we are in rut. For example, a man may be sick and not even know it. The doctors may have confided in the man's wife instead, "We don't want to frighten your husband, but he could drop any minute. He is critically ill, so just expect it any moment." The man himself does not know he is seriously ill. He goes about his business as if nothing is wrong. He may play golf or tennis, maybe even go on a hunting trip. He is sick, and yet he does not know how sick he really is. This may in fact hasten his end. Not knowing is risky business and full of danger. Spiritually speaking, the rut is bondage to the rote, and the greatest danger lies in our inability to sense or feel this bondage.

      There is a third word, and I do not particularly like to use it, but the history of the church is filled with it. The word is rot. The church is afflicted by drive rot. This is best explained when the psychology of non-expectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.

      There are many who respond by arguing, "I know lots of evangelical churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get the crowds in. They want to grow and have contest to make their Sunday school larger." That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not given the chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways. Nobody is doing it - we just want more people. But more people for what? More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak notice how weak it is.

cont'd next post.


Title: The Christian's Greatest Enemy
Post by: Shammu on March 12, 2006, 12:27:56 PM
Part 2


      What Is the Church?
      For clarification, what is the church? When I say that a church gets into the rote and then onto the rut and finely 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. The 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.

      When our Lord said, "One of you will betray Me," thank God those disciples had enough spirituality that nobody said, "Lord, is it he?" Every one of those disciples said, "Lord, is it I?" If they would not have so responded there could not have been a Pentecost. But because they were humble enough to point the finger in their own direction the Holy Spirit fell upon them.

      Self-righteousness is terrible among God's people. If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are. This is the judgment of which we must be careful. To judge others by ourselves is to create havoc in the local assembly.

      Self-righteousness also leads to complacency. Complacency is a great sin and covers just about everything I have said about the rote and the rut. Some have the attitude, "Lord, I'm satisfied with my spiritual condition. I hope one of these days You'll come, I will be taken up to meet You in the air and I will rule over five cities." These people cannot rule over their own houses and families, but they expect to rule over five cities. They pray spottily and sparsely, rarely attending prayer meeting, but they read their Bibles and expect to go zooming off into the blue yonder and join the Lord in the triumph of the victorious saints.

      Is Simply Self-Deception
      I wonder if we are not fooling ourselves. I wonder if a lot of it is simply self-deception. I hear the voice of Jesus saying to us, "You have stayed long enough where you are. Break camp and advance into the hill country." This would be a new spiritual experience that God has for us. Everything Jesus Christ did for us we can have in this age. Victorious living, joyous living, holy living, fruitful living, wondrous, ravishing knowledge of the Triune God - all of this is ours. Power we never knew before, undreamed of answers to prayer - this is ours. "See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of [it]." The Lord gave it to you in a covenant. Go take it - it's yours. It was given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all their seed after. Jesus prayed, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message" (Jn. 17: 20). That embraces all those who belong to the church of Jesus Christ.

      If we call Him Lord, how dare we sit any longer in the rut! The Lord has called us to move on. But when people are in a rut, not even the angel Gabriel can help them if they will not come out of it. This is not an accusation but a suggestion. If you are not in a rut, don't get mad - somebody else is. But if you are in a rut you ought to get out of it.

      The difference between a wooden leg and a good leg is that if you prick a wooden leg the person would never notice. The difference between a church that has dry rot and a church that is alive is that if you prick the live church it will respond. If you prick the other kind, it is already dead. The tree that stands alive has lush, green leaves. Take a knife, scar the bark deeply and the tree will bleed. It is alive. The old dead tree just stands there, a watchtower for old sentinel crows. Take your knife and dig in as far as you want to, and nothing will happen because the tree is dead.

      So it is with my message. If you'll get neither mad nor glad nor sad under my preaching, I know nothing can be done. But there are some who are alive, and I believe it is the majority.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article132.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: nChrist on March 12, 2006, 03:10:40 PM
AMEN!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 12, 2006, 03:19:36 PM
Thank you brother, I know these are quite old, as A.W. Tozer died back in 63. But I still enjoy them .


Title: "Praying Till We PRAY"
Post by: Shammu on March 13, 2006, 12:36:30 AM
"Praying Till We PRAY"
By A.W. Tozer

      Dr. Moody Stuart, a great praying man of a past generation, once drew up a set of rules to guide him in his prayers. Among these rules is this one: "Pray till you pray." The difference between praying till you quit and praying till you pray is illustrated by the American evangelist John Wesley Lee. He often likened a eason of prayer to a church service, and insisted that many of us close the meeting before the service is over. He confessed that once he arose too soon from a prayer session and started down the street to take care of some pressing business. He had only gone a short distance when an inner voice reproached him. "Son," the voice seemed to say, "did you not pronounce the benediction before the meeting was ended?" He understood, and at once hurried back to the place of prayer where he tarried till the burden lifted and the blessing came down.

      The habit of breaking off our prayers before we have truly prayed is as common as it is unfortunate. Often the last ten minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper mood to pray effectively. We may need to struggle with our thoughts to draw them in from where they have been scattered through the multitude of distractions that result from the task of living in a disordered world.

      Here, as elsewhere in spiritual matters, we must be sure to distinguish the ideal from the real. Ideally we should be living moment-by-moment in a state of such perfect union with God that no special preparation is necessary. But actually there are few who can honestly say that this is their experience. Candor will compel most of us to admit that we often experience a struggle before we can escape from the emotional alienation and sense of unreality that sometimes settle over us as a sort of prevailing mood.

      Whatever a dreamy idealism may say, we are forced to deal with things down on the level of practical reality. If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way
      through. Some Christians smile at the thought of "praying through," but something of the same idea is found in the writings of practically every great praying saint from Daniel to the present day. We cannot afford to stop praying till we have actually prayed.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article3.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 13, 2006, 01:44:38 PM
In Word, Or In Power
By A.W. Tozer

      Excerpted from The Divine Conqest
      For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Ths. 1:5)
      If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17)
      You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Rev. 3:1)
      To one who is a student merely, these verses might be interesting, but to a serious man intent upon gaining eternal life they might well prove more than a little disturbing. For they evidently teach that the message of the gospel may be received in either of two ways: in word only, without power, or in word with power. Yet it is the same message whether it comes in word or in power. And these verses teach also that when the message is received in power it effects a change so radical as to be called a new creation. But the message may be received without power, and apparently some have so received it, for they have a name to live, and are dead. All this is present in these texts.

      By observing the ways of men at play I have been able to understand better the ways of men at prayer. Most men, indeed, play at religion as they play at games, religion itself being of all games the one most universally played. The various sports have their rules and their balls and their players; the game excites interest, gives pleasure, and consumes time, and when it is over, the competing teams laugh and leave the field. It is common to see a player leave one team and join another and a few days later play against his old mates with as great zest as he formerly displayed when playing for them. The whole thing is arbitrary. It consists in solving artificial problems and attacking difficulties that have been deliberately created for the sake of the game. It has no moral roots and is not supposed to have. No one is the better for his self- imposed toil. It is all but a pleasant activity that changes nothing and settles nothing at last.

      If the conditions we describe were confined to the ballpark, we might pass it over without further thought, but what are we to say when this same spirit enters the sanctuary and decides the attitude of men toward God and religion? For the Church has also its fields and its rules and its equipment for playing the game of pious words. It has its devotees, both laymen and professionals, who support the game with their money and encourage it with their presence, but who are no different in life or character from many who take in religion no interest at all.

      As an athlete uses a ball, so do many of us use words: words spoken and words sung, words written and words uttered in prayer. We throw them swiftly across the field; we learn to handle them with dexterity and grace; we build reputations upon our word skill and gain as our reward the applause of those who have enjoyed the game. But the emptiness of it is apparent from the fact that after the pleasant religious game no one is basically any different from what he had been before. The basis of life remains unchanged; the same old principles govern, the same old Adam rules.

      I have not said that religion without power makes no changes in a man's life, only that it makes no fundamental difference. Water may change from liquid to vapor, from vapor to snow, and back to liquid again, and still be fundamentally the same. So powerless religion may put a man through many surface changes and leave him exactly what he was before. Right there is where the snare lies. The changes are in form only; they are not in kind. Behind the activities of the nonreligious man and the man who has received the gospel without power lie the very same motives. An unblessed ego lies at the bottom of both lives, the difference being that the religious man has learned better to disguise his vice. His sins are refined and less offensive than before he took up religion, but the man himself is not a better man in the sight of God. He may indeed be a worse one, for always God hates artificiality and pretense. Selfishness still throbs like an engine at the center of the man's life. True he may learn to "redirect" his selfish impulses, but his woe is that self still lives unrebuked and even unsuspected deep within his heart. He is a victim of religion without power.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article131.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 15, 2006, 12:38:49 AM
The Saint Must Walk Alone
By A.W. Tozer

      Most of the world's great souls have been lonely. Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.

      In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange darkness that came soon after the dawn of man's creation), that pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

      Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by his people.

      Again, Abraham had Sarah and Lot, as well as many servants and herdsmen, but who can read his story and the apostolic comment upon it without sensing instantly that he was a man "whose soul was alike a star and dwelt apart"? As far as we know not one word did God ever speak to him in the company of men. Face down he communed with his God, and the innate dignity of the man forbade that he assume this posture in the presence of others. How sweet and solemn was the scene that night of the sacrifice when he saw the lamps of fire moving between the pieces of offering. There, alone with a horror of great darkness upon him, he heard the voice of God and knew that he was a man marked for divine favor.

      Moses also was a man apart. While yet attached to the court of Pharaoh he took long walks alone, and during one of these walks while far removed from the crowds he saw an Egyptian and a Hebrew fighting and came to the rescue of his countryman. After the resultant break with Egypt he dwelt in almost complete seclusion in the desert. There, while he watched his sheep alone, the wonder of the burning bush appeared to him, and later on the peak of Sinai he crouched alone to gaze in fascinated awe at the Presence, partly hidden, partly disclosed, within the cloud and fire.

      The prophets of pre-Christian times differed widely from each other, but one mark they bore in common was their enforced loneliness. They loved their people and gloried in the religion of the fathers, but their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their zeal for the welfare of the nation of Israel drove them away from the crowd and into long periods of heaviness. "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children," cried one and unwittingly spoke for all the rest.

      Most revealing of all is the sight of that One of whom Moses and all the prophets did write, treading His lonely way to the cross. His deep loneliness was unrelieved by the presence of the multitudes.

      'Tis midnight, and on Olive's brow

      The star is dimmed that lately shone;
      'Tis midnight; in the garden now,
      The suffering Savior prays alone.

      'Tis midnight, and from all removed
      The Savior wrestles lone with fears;
      E'en the disciple whom He loved
      Heeds not his Master's grief and tears.
      - William B. Tappan
      He died alone in the darkness hidden from the sight of mortal man and no one saw Him when He arose triumphant and walked out of the tomb, though many saw Him afterward and bore witness to what they saw. There are some things too sacred for any eye but God's to look upon. The curiosity, the clamor, the well-meant but blundering effort to help can only hinder the waiting soul and make unlikely if not impossible the communication of the secret message of God to the worshiping heart.

      Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal experience. Right now is such a time. A certain conventional loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for the first time to say brightly, "Oh, I am never lonely. Christ said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you,' and 'Lo, I am with you alway.' How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?"

      Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God without the support and encouragement afforded him by society. The sense of companionship which he mistakenly attributes to the presence of Christ may and probably does arise from the presence of friendly people. Always remember: you cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart. Society has turned against him; otherwise he would have no cross. No one is a friend to the man with a cross. "They all forsook Him, and fled."

      The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature. God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship is completely natural and right. The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share inner experiences, he is forced to walk alone. The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

      The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find. But he should not expect things to be otherwise. After all he is a stranger and a pilgrim, and the journey he takes is not on his feet but in his heart. He walks with God in the garden of his own soul - and who but God can walk there with him? He is of another spirit from the multitudes that tread the courts of the Lord's house. He has seen that of which they have only heard, and he walks among them somewhat as Zacharias walked after his return from the altar when the people whispered, "He has seen a vision."

      The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Savior glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and overserious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none, he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

      It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd - that Christ is All in All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life's summum bonum.

      Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

      The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the brokenhearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world, he is all the more able to help it. Meister Eckhart taught his followers that if they should find themselves in prayer and happen to remember that a poor widow needed food, they should break off the prayer instantly and go care for the widow. "God will not suffer you to lose anything by it," he told them. "You can take up again in prayer where you left off and the Lord will make it up to you." This is typical of the great mystics and masters of the interior life from Paul to the present day.

      The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful "adjustment" to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article133.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 17, 2006, 01:03:42 AM
The Powers That Shape Us
By A.W. Tozer

      Fortunately for all of us, human nature is not fixed but plastic. Every human being is in a state of becoming, of passing from what he was to what he is to be. And this is as true of the Christian as of every other person.

      The new birth does not produce the finished product. The new thing that is born of God is as far from completeness as the new baby born an hour ago. That new human being, the moment he is born, is placed in the hands of powerful molding forces that go far to determine whether he shall be an upright citizen or a criminal. The one hope for him is that he can later choose which forces shall shape him, and by the exercise of his own power of choice he can place himself in the right hands. In that sense he shapes himself and is responsible at last for the outcome.

      It is not otherwise with the Christian. He can fashion himself by placing himself in the hands first of the supreme Artist, God, and then by subjecting himself to such holy influences and such formative powers as shall make him into a man of God. Or he may foolishly trust himself to unworthy hands and become at last a misshapen and inartistic vessel, of little use to mankind and a poor example of the skill of the heavenly Potter.

      To any who might object that we cannot fashion ourselves, that God alone can fashion us, we offer this explanation: A young man decides he wants the benefits of a healthy tan. Now, does he tan himself or does the sun tan him? Of course the answer is that he tans himself by exposing himself to the sun. He has but to bring himself into contact with the sun's rays and the sun will take care of the rest.

      So we fashion ourselves by exposing our lives to the molding influences, good or bad, that lie around us. Let us pull this thought down from the theoretical to the practical and identify some of the powers that shape us.

      FRIENDS. We are all influenced powerfully by our companions. Even the strongest characters are shaped by the company they keep. They may flatter themselves that they, with their dominant personalities, are shaping others and are uninfluenced by the lives of their friends; but we cannot escape the power of friendships.

      LITERATURE. What we read with enjoyment does much to decide what we shall be finally. To lend the mind to the spell of a book is to become clay in the potter's hand. In our Protestant system no one can decide what we shall read, but what we read will shape us for good or evil.

      MUSIC. There is about music a subtle charm that no normal person can resist. It works to condition the mind and prepare it for the reception of ideas, moral and immoral, which in turn prepare the will to act either in righteousness or in sin. The notion that music and song are merely for amusement and that their effects can be laughed off is a deadly error. Actually they exercise a powerful creative influence over the plastic human soul. And their permanent effects will be apparent in our growth in grace or in evil.

      PLEASURE. The human constitution is so constructed that it requires a certain amount of pleasure; it is built for it as a harp is built for music, and remains incomplete and unfulfilled without it. Sin lies not in receiving pleasure but in deriving it from wrong objects. A mother tending her baby in a glow of delight or smiling in death when she hears that her late-born is normal and will live presents a tender picture of unselfish pleasure. A man at the card table fascinated by the thrills and perils of gambling is an example of degraded and demoralizing pleasure. The Christian should look well to his pleasures for they will ennoble or debase him, and this by a secret law of the soul from which there is no escape.

      AMBITIONS. The great saints of the world have all been ambitious. They were driven forward by an inward urge that finally became too much for them. Paul stated his ambition as being a desire to know Christ and to enter into the fullest meaning of His death and resurrection, and toward this goal he pressed with everything that lay in him. By this ambition he was propelled upward to the very peak of spiritual perfection. Carnal and selfish ambitions, however, have just the opposite effect. Each one should watch his ambitions, for they will shape him as an artist shapes the yielding clay.

      THOUGHTS. We Christians need to take into account the tremendous power that lies in plain, ordinary thinking. We have allowed ourselves to be cheated out of a precious treasure by the irresponsible babblings of weird occultists and quack religionists who make too much of the human mind or who misunderstand it altogether. From them we have turned away, and have turned so far that we forget that it is still true that a man will finally be what his active thoughts make him. It is hardly too much to say that no Christian every fell into sin who did not first allow himself to brood over it with increasing desire. And every godly soul knows how much spiritual meditations have meant to the total success of his inward life. "As (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he."

      There are of course many others, but these are among the major forces that shape our lives. To sum up, the wise Christian will take advantage of every proper means of grace and every ennobling and purifying influence that God in His providence places in his way. Conversely, he will avoid every degrading influence and flee from those forces that make for evil. He has but to cooperate with God in embracing the good. God Himself will do the rest.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article134.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 17, 2006, 05:03:42 PM
The Prayer of a Minor Prophet[1]
By A.W. Tozer

      The covenant and prayer of a preacher

      This is the prayer of a man called to be a witness to the nations. This is what he said to his Lord on the day of his ordination. After the elders and ministers had prayed and laid their hands on him he withdrew to meet his Savior in the secret place and in the silence, farther in than his well-meaning brethren could take him.

      And he said: O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

      My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, "I knew thee - I ordained thee - I sanctified thee," and Thou hast also said, "Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak." Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

      Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

      It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

      Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet - not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

      I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

      And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

      Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

      Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen. AMEN.

      [1] Written in 1950, this chapter has been reprinted many times and widely circulated.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article135.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2006, 08:54:25 PM
The Gift of Prophetic Insight
By A.W. Tozer

      Excerpted from Of God and Men
      A prophet is one who knows his times and what God is trying to say to the people of his times.

      What God says to His church at any given period depends altogether upon her moral and spiritual condition and upon the spiritual need of the hour. Religious leaders who continue mechanically to expound the Scriptures without regard to the current religious situation are no better than the scribes and lawyers of Jesus' day who faithfully parroted the Law without the remotest notion of what was going on around them spiritually. They fed the same diet to all and seemed wholly unaware that there was such a thing as meat in due season. The prophets never made that mistake nor wasted their efforts in that manner. They invariably spoke to the condition of the people of their times.

      Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits. It is not ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God's position, and to tell us what is actually going on.

      There has probably never been another time in the history of the world when so many people knew so much about religious happenings as they do today. The newspapers are eager to print religious news; the secular news magazines devote several pages of each issue to the doings of the church and the synagogue; a number of press associations gather church news and make it available to the religious journals at a small cost. Even the hiring of professional publicity men to plug one or another preacher or religious movement is no longer uncommon; the mails are stuffed with circulars and "releases," while radio and television join to tell the listening public what religious people are doing throughout the world.

      Greater publicity for religion may be well and I have no fault to find with it. Surely religion should be the most newsworthy thing on earth, and there may be some small encouragement in the thought that vast numbers of persons want to read about it. What disturbs me is that amidst all the religious hubbub hardly a voice is raised to tell us what God thinks about the whole thing.

      Where is the man who can see through the ticker tape and confetti to discover which way the parade is headed, why it started in the first place and, particularly, who is riding up front in the seat of honor?

      Not the fact that the churches are unusually active these days, not what religious people are doing, should engage our attention, but why these things are so. The big question is Why? And no one seems to have an answer for it. Not only is there no answer, but scarcely is there anyone to ask the question. It just never occurs to us that such a question remains to be asked. Christian people continue to gossip religious shoptalk with scarcely as much as a puzzled look. The soundness of current Christianity is assumed by the religious masses as was the soundness of Judaism when Christ appeared. People know they are seeing certain activity, but just what it means they do not know, nor have they the faintest idea of where God is or what relation He has toward the whole thing.

      What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Learning will enable a man to pass judgment on our yesterdays, but it requires a gift of clear seeing to pass sentence on our own day. One hundred years from now historians will know what was taking place religiously in this year of our Lord; but that will be too late for us. We should know right now.

      If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.

      Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the one and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.

      We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the church, and it is my belief that the one gift we need most now is the gift of prophecy.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article136.shtml)


Title: We Must Have Better Christians
Post by: Shammu on March 20, 2006, 01:08:57 AM
I do believe that this speaks volumes, after today.

We Must Have Better Christians
By A.W. Tozer

      Excerpted from Of God and Men
      To talk of "better" Christians is to use language foreign to many persons. To them all Christians are alike; all have been justified and forgiven and are the children of God, so to make comparisons between them is to suggest division and bigotry and any number of horrible things.

      What is forgotten is that a Christian is a born-one, an embodiment of growing life, and as such may be retarded, stunted, undernourished or injured very much as any other organism. Favorable conditions will produce a stronger and healthier organism than will adverse conditions. Lack of proper instructions, for instance, will stunt Christian growth. A clear example of this is found in Acts 19, where an imperfect body of truth had produced a corresponding imperfect type of Christian. It took Paul, with a fuller degree of truth, to bring these stunted disciples into a better and healthier spiritual state.

      Unfortunately it is possible for a whole generation of Christians to be victims of poor teaching, low moral standards and unscriptural or extrascriptural doctrines, resulting in stunted growth and retarded development. It is little less than stark tragedy that an individual Christian may pass from youth to old age in a state of suspended growth and all his life be unaware of it. Those who would question the truth of this have only to read the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Book of Hebrews. And even a slight acquaintance with church history will add all the further proof that is needed. Today there exist in the world certain Christian bodies whose histories date far back. These have perpetuated themselves after their kind for hundreds of years, but they have managed to produce nothing but weak, stunted Christians, if Christians they can be called. Common charity forbids that we identify these by name, but any enlightened believer will understand.

      Evangelicalism as we know it today in its various manifestations does produce some real Christians. We have no wish to question this; we desire rather to assert it unequivocally. But the spiritual climate into which many modern Christians are born does not make for vigorous spiritual growth. Indeed, the whole evangelical world is to a large extent unfavorable to healthy Christianity. And I am not thinking of Modernism either. I mean rather the Bible-believing crowd that bears the name of orthodoxy.

      We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone. Large and influential sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian. They have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost. The glowworm has taken the place of the bush that burned and scintillating personalities now answer to the fire that fell at Pentecost.

      The fact is that we are not today producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is but a wretched parody on true sainthood. Yet we put millions of dollars behind movements to perpetuate this degenerate form of religion and attack the man who dares to challenge the wisdom of it.

      Clearly we must begin to produce better Christians. We must insist on New Testament sainthood for our converts, nothing less; and we must lead them into a state of heart purity, fiery love, separation from the world and poured-out devotion to the Person of Christ. Only in this way can the low level of spirituality be raised again to where it should be in the light of the Scriptures and of eternal values.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article137.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 21, 2006, 02:20:09 AM
In the Pursuit of God - Introduction
By A.W. Tozer

      Here is a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God, eager to grasp at least the outskirts of His ways, the abyss of His love for sinners, and the height of His unapproachable majesty--and it was written by a busy pastor in Chicago! Who could imagine David writing the twenty-third Psalm on South Halsted Street, or a medieval mystic finding inspiration in a small study on the second floor of a frame house on the vast, flat checkerboard of endless streets - Where cross the crowded ways of life - Where sound the cries of race and clan, In haunts of wretchedness and need, On shadowed threshold dark with fears, And paths where hide the lures of greed... But even as Dr. Frank Mason North, of New York, says in his immortal poem, so Mr. Tozer says in this book: 'Above the noise of selfish strife we hear Thy voice, O Son of Man.' My acquaintance with the author is limited to brief visits and loving fellowship in his church. There I discovered a self-made scholar, an omnivorous reader with a remarkable library of theological and devotional books, and one who seemed to burn the midnight oil in pursuit of God. His book is the result of long meditation and much prayer. It is not a collection of sermons. It does not deal with the pulpit and the pew but with the soul a thirst for God.
      The chapters could be summarized in Moses' prayer, 'Show me thy glory,' or Paul's exclamation, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!' It is theology not of the head but of the heart. There is deep insight, sobriety of style, and a catholicity of outlook that is refreshing. The author has few quotations but he knows the saints and mystics of the centuries--Augustine, Nicholas of Cusa, Thomas à Kempis, von Hagel, Finney, Wesley and many more. The ten chapters are heart searching and the prayers at the close of each are for the closet, not pulpit. I felt the nearness of God while reading them. Here is a book for every pastor, missionary, and devouted Christian. It deals with the deep things of God and the riches of His grace. Above all, it has the keynote of sincerity and humility.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article138.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 22, 2006, 03:01:22 AM
In the Pursuit of God - Preface
By A.W. Tozer

      In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct 'interpretations' of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water. This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man's hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day. But this hunger must be recognized by our religious leaders.

      Current evangelicalism has (to change the figure) laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel. [See 1 Kings 18 for the allusions.-ccp] But God be thanked that there are a few who care. They are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the 'piercing sweetness' of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.

      There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals oft he faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy. I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton's terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: 'The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.'

      It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God's children starving while actually seated at the Father's table. The truth of Wesley's words is established before our eyes: 'Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions,yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is proof of this.'

      Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold 'right opinions,' probably more than ever before in the history of the Church.Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the 'program.' This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.

      Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

      This book is a modest attempt to aid God's hungry children so to find Him. Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article139.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 23, 2006, 02:26:08 AM
In the Pursuit of God - Following Hard After God
By A.W. Tozer

      My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
      Ps. 63:8
      Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man. Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.
      We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. 'No man can come to me,' said our Lord, 'except the Father which hath sent me draw him,' and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for he act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: 'Thy right hand upholdeth me.' In this divine 'upholding' and human 'following' there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Hugel teaches, God is always previous.

      In practice, however, (that is, where God's previous working meets man's present response) man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine. In the warm language of personal feeling this is stated in the Forty-second Psalm: 'As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?' This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it.

      The doctrine of justification by faith--a Biblical truth, and a blessed relief from sterile legalism and unavailing self-effort--has in our time fallen into evil company and been interpreted by many in such manner as actually to bar men from the knowledge of God. The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be 'received' without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is 'saved,' but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact he is specifically taught to be satisfied and encouraged to be content with little.

      The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of His Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can. It is inherent in personality to be able to know other personalities, but full knowledge of one personality by another cannot be achieved in one encounter. It is only after long and loving mental intercourse that the full possibilities of both can be explored.

      All social intercourse between human beings is a response of personality to personality, grading upward from the most casual brush between man and man to the fullest, most intimate communion of which the human soul is capable. Religion, so far as it is genuine, is in essence the response of created personalities to the Creating Personality, God. 'This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.' (John 17:3)

      God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys feels, loves, desires and suffers as any other person may. In making Himself known to us He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.

      This intercourse between God and the soul is known to us in conscious personal awareness. It is personal: that is, it does not come through the body of believers, as such, but is known to the individual, and to the body through the individuals which compose it. And it is conscious: that is, it does not stay below the threshold of consciousness and work there unknown to the soul (as, for instance, infant baptism is thought by some to do), but comes within the field of awareness where the man can 'know' it as he knows any other fact of experience.

      You and I are in little (our sins excepted) what God is in large. Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him. In our sins we lack only the power. The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition. That is the heavenly birth without which we cannot see the Kingdom of God. It is, however, not an end but an inception, for now begins the glorious pursuit, the heart's happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead. That is where we begin, I say, but where we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious depths of the Triune God neither limit nor end.

      Shoreless Ocean, who can sound Thee?
      Thine own eternity is round Thee,
      Majesty divine!
      To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily- satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart. St. Bernard stated this holy paradox in a musical quatrain that will be instantly understood by every worshipping soul:
      We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
      And long to feast upon Thee still:
      We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
      And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
      come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking. Moses used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. 'Now, therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight'; and from there he rose to make the daring request, 'I beseech thee, show me thy glory.' God was frankly pleased by this display of ardour, and the next day called Moses into the mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.
      David's life was a torrent of spiritual desire, and his psalms ring with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout oft he finder. Paul confessed the mainspring of his life to be his burning desire after Christ. 'That I may know Him,' was the goal of his heart, and to this he sacrificed everything. 'Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ' (Phil 3:8).

cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 23, 2006, 02:26:54 AM
      Hymnody is sweet with the longing after God, the God whom, while the singer seeks, he knows he has already found. 'His track I see and I'll pursue,' sang our fathers only a short generation ago, but that song is heard no more in the great congregation. How tragic that we in this dark day have had our seeking done for us by our teachers. Everything is made to center upon the initial act of 'accepting' Christ (a term, incidentally, which is not found in the Bible) and we are not expected thereafter to crave any further revelation of God to our souls. We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him we need no more seek Him. This is set before us as the last word in orthodoxy, and it is taken for granted that no Bible-taught Christian ever believed otherwise. Thus the whole testimony of the worshipping, seeking, singing Church on that subject is crisply set aside. The experiential heart- theology of a grand army of fragrant saints is rejected in favor of a smug interpretation of Scripture which would certainly have sounded strange to an Augustine, a Rutherford or a Branierd.

      In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, 'O God, show me thy glory.' They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.

      I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

      Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and the servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

      If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity. Now as always God discovers Himself to 'babes' and hides Himself in thick darkness from the wise and the prudent. We must simplify our approach to Him. We must strip down to essentials (and they will be found to be blessedly few). We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.

      When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the 'and' lies our great woe. If we omit the 'and', we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

      We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One.

      The author of the quaint old English classic, The Cloud of Unknowing, teaches us how to do this. 'Lift up thine heart unto God with a meek stirring of love; and mean Himself, and none of His goods. And thereto, look thee loath to think on aught but God Himself. So that nought work in thy wit, nor in thy will, but only God Himself. This is the work of the soul that most pleaseth God.'

      Again, he recommends that in prayer we practice a further stripping down of everything, even of our theology. 'For it sufficeth enough, a naked intent direct unto God without any other cause than Himself.' Yet underneath all his thinking lay the broad foundation of New Testament truth, for he explains that by 'Himself' he means 'God that made thee, and bought thee, and that graciously called thee to thy degree.' And he is all for simplicity: If we would have religion 'lapped and folden in one word, for that thou shouldst have better hold thereupon, take thee but a little word of one syllable: for so it is better than of two, for even the shorter it is the better it accordeth with the work of the Spirit. And such a word is this word God or this word love.'

      When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel, Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, 'I am thy part and thine inheritance,' and by those words made him richer than all his brethren, richer than all the kings and rajas who have ever lived in the world. And there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God.

      The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.

      O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name, Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article140.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 24, 2006, 10:14:15 PM
In the Pursuit of God - The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing
By A.W. Tozer

      Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      Matt. 5:3
      Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him by creating a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of the creation these are called simply 'things.' They were made for man's uses, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.
      But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul.

      Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and 'things' were allowed to enter. Within the human heart 'things' have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.

      This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble. There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets 'things' with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns 'my' and 'mine' look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.

      Our Lord referred to this tyranny of things when He said to His disciples, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.' (Matt. 16:24-25).

      Breaking this truth into fragments for our better understanding, it would seem that there is within each of us an enemy which we tolerate at our peril. Jesus called it 'life' and 'self,' or as we would say, the self-life. Its chief characteristic is its possessiveness: the words 'gain' and 'profit' suggest this. To allow this enemy to live is in the end to lose everything. To repudiate it and give up all for Christ's sake is to lose nothing at last, but to preserve everything unto life eternal. And possibly also a hint is given here as to the only effective way to destroy this foe: it is by the Cross: 'Let him take up his cross and follow me.'

      The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. They are 'poor in spirit.' They have reached an inward state paralleling the outward circumstances of the common beggar in the streets of Jerusalem; that is what the word 'poor' as Christ used it actually means. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things. 'Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'

      Let me exhort you to take this seriously. It is not to be understood as mere Bible teaching to be stored away in the mind along with an inert mass of other doctrines. It is a marker on the road to greener pastures, a path chiseled against the steep sides of the mount of God. We dare not try to by-pass it if we would follow on in this holy pursuit. We must ascend a step at a time. If we refuse one step we bring our progress to an end.

      As is frequently true, this New Testament principle of spiritual life finds its best illustration in the Old Testament. In the story of Abraham and Isaac we have a dramatic picture of the surrendered life as well as an excellent commentary on the first Beatitude.

      Abraham was old when Isaac was born, old enough indeed to have been his grandfather, and the child became at once the delight and idol of his heart. From that moment when he first stooped to take the tiny form awkwardly in his arms he was an eager love slave of his son. God went out of His way to comment on the strength of this affection. And it is not hard to understand. The baby represented everything sacred to his father's heart: the promises of God, the covenants, the hopes of the years and the long messianic dream. As he watched him grow from babyhood to young manhood the heart of the old man was knit closer and closer with the life of his son, till at last the relationship bordered upon the perilous. It was then that God stepped in to save both father and son from the consequences of an uncleansed love.

      'Take now thy son,' said God to Abraham, 'thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.' (Gen 22:2) The sacred writer spares us a close-up of the agony that night on the slopes near Beersheba when the aged man had it out with his God, but respectful imagination may view in awe the bent form and convulsive wrestling alone under the stars. Possibly not again until a Greater than Abraham wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane did such mortal pain visit a human soul. If only the man himself might have been allowed to die. That would have been easier a thousand times, for he was old now, and to die would have been no great ordeal for one who had walked so long with God. Besides, it would have been a last sweet pleasure to let his dimming vision rest upon the figure of his stalwart son who would live to carry on the Abrahamic line and fulfill in himself the promises of God made long before in Ur of the Chaldees.

      How should he slay the lad! Even if he could get the consent of his wounded and protesting heart, how could he reconcile the act with the promise, 'In Isaac shall thy seed be called'? This was Abraham's trial by fire, and he did not fail in the crucible. While the stars still shone like sharp white points above the tent where the sleeping Isaac lay, and long before the gray dawn had begun to lighten the east, the old saint had made up his mind. He would offer his son as God had directed him to do, and then trust God to raise him from the dead. This, says the writer to the Hebrews, was the solution his aching heart found sometime in the dark night, and he rose 'early in the morning' to carry out the plan. It is beautiful to see that, while he erred as to God's method, he had correctly sensed the secret of His great heart. And the solution accords well with the New Testament Scripture, 'Whosoever will lose... for my sake shall find...'

      God let the suffering old man go through with it up to the point where He knew there would be no retreat, and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy. To the wondering patriarch He now says in effect, 'It's all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there. I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love. Now you may have the boy, sound and well. Take him and go back to your tent. Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.'

      Then heaven opened and a voice was heard saying to him, 'By myself I have sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.'

      The old man of God lifted his head to respond to the Voice, and stood there on the mount strong and pure and grand, a man marked out by the Lord for special treatment, a friend and favorite of the Most High. Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. He had concentrated his all in the person of his dear son, and God had taken it from him. God could have begun out on the margin of Abraham's life and worked inward to the center; He chose rather to cut quickly to the heart and have it over in one sharp act of separation. In dealing thus He practiced an economy of means and time. It hurt cruelly, but it was effective.

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 24, 2006, 10:15:11 PM
      I have said that Abraham possessed nothing. Yet was not this poor man rich? Everything he had owned before was still his to enjoy: sheep, camels, herds, and goods of every sort. He had also his wife and his friends, and best of all he had his son Isaac safe by his side. He had everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret. There is the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in the school of renunciation. The books on systematic theology overlook this, but the wise will understand.

      After that bitter and blessed experience I think the words 'my' and 'mine' never had again the same meaning for Abraham. The sense of possession which they connote was gone from his heart. things had been cast out forever.They had now become external to the man. His inner heart was free from them. The world said, 'Abraham is rich,' but the aged patriarch only smiled. He could not explain it to them, but he knew that he owned nothing, that his real treasures were inward and eternal.

      There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic. We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

      Our gifts and talents should also be turned over to Him. They should be recognized for what they are, God's loan to us, and should never be considered in any sense our own. We have no more right to claim credit for special abilities than for blue eyes or strong muscles. 'For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?'

      The Christian who is alive enough to know himself even slightly will recognize the symptoms of this possession malady, and will grieve to find them in his own heart. If the longing after God is strong enough within him he will want to do something about the matter. Now, what should he do?

      First of all he should put away all defense and make no attempt to excuse himself either in his own eyes or before the Lord. Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself. Let the inquiring Christian trample under foot every slippery trick of his deceitful heart and insist upon frank and open relations with the Lord.

      Then he should remember that this is holy business. No careless or casual dealings will suffice. Let him come to God in full determination to be heard. Let him insist that God accept his all, that He take things out of his heart and Himself reign there in power. It may be he will need to become specific, to name things and people by their names one by one. If he will become drastic enough he can shorten the time of his travail from years to minutes and enter the good land long before his slower brethren who coddle their feelings and insist upon caution in their dealings with God.

      Let us never forget that such a truth as this cannot be learned by rote as one would learn the facts of physical science. They must be experienced before we can really know them. We must in our hearts live through Abraham's harsh and bitter experiences if we would know the blessedness which follows them. The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.

      If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham's testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us; just one and an alternative, but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make.

      Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all Those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus' name, Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article141.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 25, 2006, 11:33:46 PM
In the Pursuit of God - Removing the Veil
By A.W. Tozer

      Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
      Heb. 10:19
      Among the famous sayings of the Church fathers none is better know than Augustine's 'Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.'
      The great saint states here in few words the origin and interior history of the human race. God made us for Himself: that is the only explanation that satisfies the heart of a thinking man, whatever his wild reason may say. Should faulty education and perverse reasoning lead a man to conclude otherwise, there is little that any Christian can do for him. For such a man I have no message. My appeal is addressed to those who have been previously taught in secret by the wisdom of God; I speak to thirsty hearts whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them,and such as they need no reasoned proof. Their restless hearts furnish all the proof they need.

      God formed us for Himself. The shorter catechism, 'Agreed upon by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminister,' as the old New-England Primer has it, asks the ancient questions what and why and answers them in one short sentence hardly matched in any uninspired work. 'Question: What is the chief End of Man? Answer: Man's chief End is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' With this agree the four and twenty elders who fall on their faces to worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, saying, 'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.' (Rev 4:11)

      God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile. But we have been guilty of that 'foul revolt' of which Milton speaks when describing the rebellion of Satan and his hosts. We have broken with God. We have ceased to obey Him or love Him and in guilt and fear have fled as far as possible from His Presence.

      Yet who can flee from His Presence when the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? when as the wisdom of Solomon testifies, 'the Spirit of the Lord filleth the world'? The omnipresence of the Lord is one thing, and is a solemn fact necessary to His perfection; the manifest Presence is another thing altogether, and from that Presence we have fled, like Adam, to hide among the trees of the garden, or like Peter to shrink away crying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' So the life of man upon the earth is a life away from the Presence, wrenched loose from that 'blissful center' which is our right and proper dwelling place, our first state which we kept not, the loss of which is the cause of our unceasing restlessness.

      The whole work of God in redemption is to undo the tragic effects of that foul revolt, and to bring us back again into right and eternal relationship with Himself.This required that our sins be disposed of satisfactorily, that a full reconciliation be effected and the way opened for us to return again into conscious communion with God and to live again in the Presence as before. Then by His prevenient working within us He moves us to return. This first comes to our notice when our restless hearts feel a yearning for the Presence of God and we say within ourselves, 'I will arise and go to my Father.' That is the first step, and as the Chinese sage Lao-tze has said, 'The journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.'

      The interior journey of the soul from the wilds of sin into the enjoyed Presence of God is beautifully illustrated in the Old Testament tabernacle. The returning sinner first entered the outer court where he offered a blood sacrifice on the brazen altar and washed himself in the laver that stood near it. Then through a veil he passed into the holy place where no natural light could come, but the golden candlestick which spoke of Jesus the Light of the World threw its soft glow over all. There also was the shew bread to tell of Jesus, the Bread of Life, and the altar of incense, a figure of unceasing prayer.

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 25, 2006, 11:36:47 PM
      Though the worshipper had enjoyed so much, still he had not yet entered the Presence of God. Another veil separated from the Holy of Holies where above the mercy seat dwelt the very God Himself in awful and glorious manifestation. While the tabernacle stood, only the high priest could enter there, and that but once a year, with blood which he offered for his sins and the sins of the people. It was this last veil which was rent when our Lord gave up the ghost on Calvary, and the sacred writer explains that this rending of the veil opened the way for every worshipper in the world to come by the new and living way straight into the divine Presence.

      Everything in the New Testament accords with this Old Testament picture. Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His Presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day. This Flame of the Presence was the beating heart of the Levitical order. Without it all the appointments of the tabernacle were characters of some unknown language; they had no meaning for Israel or for us. The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that Jehovah was there; a Presence was waiting within the veil. Similarly the Presence of God is the central fact of Christianity. At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His Presence. That type of Christianity which happens now to be the vogue knows this Presence only in theory. It fails to stress the Christian's privilege of present realization.

      According to its teachings we are in the Presence of God positionally, and nothing is said about the need to experience that Presence actually. The fiery urge that drove men like McCheyne is wholly missing. And the present generation of Christians measures itself by this imperfect rule. Ignoble contentment takes the place of burning zeal. We are satisfied to rest in our JUDICIAL possessions and for the most part we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience.

      Who is this within the veil who dwells in fiery manifestations? It is none other than God Himself, 'One God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible,' and 'One Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God; begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God; begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father,' and 'the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified.' Yet this holy Trinity is One God, for 'we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the glory equal and the majesty co- eternal.' So in part run the ancient creeds, and so the inspired Word declares. Behind the veil is God, that God after Whom the world, with strange inconsistency, has felt, 'if haply they might find Him.' He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation; now He waits to show Himself in ravishing fullness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart.

      The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives as the bugs and fungi were burned away by the fire that dwelt in the bush.

      What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is eternal, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change.

      He is immutable, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.

      He is omniscient, which means that He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all spirit, all relationships, all events. He has no past and He has no future. He is, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.

      love and mercy and rightousness are His, and holiness so ineffable that no comparisons or figures will avail to express it. Only fire can give even a remote conception of it. In fire He appeared at the burning bush; in the pillar of fire He dwelt through all the long wilderness journey. The fire that glowed between the wings of the cherubim int he holy place was called the 'shekinah,' the Presence, through the years of Israel's glory, and when the Old had given place to the New, He came at Pentecost as a fiery flame and rested upon each disciple.

      Spinoza wrote of the intellectual love of God, and he had a measure of truth there; but the highest love of God is not intellectual, it is spiritual. God is spirit and only the spirit of man can know Him really. In the deep spirit of a man the fire must glow or his love is not the true love of God. The great of the Kingdom have been those who loved God more than others did. We all know who they have been and gladly pay tribute to the depths and sincerity of their devotion. We have but to pause for a moment and their names come trooping past us smelling of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces.

      Fredrick Faber was one whose soul panted after God as the roe pants after the water brook, and the measure in which God revealed Himself to his seeking heart set the good man's whole life afire with a burning adoration rivaling that of the seraphim before the throne. His love for God extended to the three Persons of the Godhead equally, yet he seemed to feel for each One a special kind of love reserved for Him alone. Of God the Father he sings:

      Only to sit and think of God,
      Oh what a joy it is!
      To think the thought, to breathe the Name;
      Earth has no higher bliss.
      Father of Jesus, love's reward!
      What rapture will it be,
      Prostrate before Thy throne to lie,
      And gaze and gaze on Thee!

      His love for the Person of Christ was so intense that it threatened to consume him; it burned within him as a sweet and holy madness and flowed from his lips like molten gold. In one of his sermons he says, 'Wherever we turn in the church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle and end of everything to us. ...There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous which He is not to His servants. No one need be poor, because, if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession. No one need be downcast, for Jesus is the joy of heaven, and it is His joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more.'
      And addressing our Lord directly he says to Him:

      I love Thee so, I know not how
      My transports to control;
      Thy love is like a burning
      fire Within my very soul.

      Faber's blazing love extended also to the Holy Spirit. Not only in his theology did he acknowledge His deity and full equality with the Father and the Son, but he celebrated it constantly in his songs and in his prayers. He literally pressed his forehead to the ground in his eager fervid worship of the Third Person of the Godhead. In one of his great hymns to the Holy Spirit he sums up his burning devotion thus:

      O Spirit, beautiful and dread!
      My heart is fit to break
      With love of all Thy tenderness
      For us poor sinners' sake.
      I have risked the tedium of quotation that I might show by pointed example what I have set out to say, viz., that God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is. Such worship as Faber knew (and he is but one of a great company which no man can number) can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God.

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 25, 2006, 11:37:20 PM
      Hearts that are 'fit to break' with love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known or understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the Presence of God and they reported what they saw there. They were prophets, not scribes, for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells us what he has seen.

      The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God.

      With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus' flesh, with nothing on God's side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God? We hear the Bridegroom say, 'Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.' (Song of Sol 2:14) We sense that the call is for us, but still we fail to draw near, and the years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What doth hinder us?

      The answer usually given, simply that we are 'cold,' will not explain all the facts. There is something more serious than coldness of heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence. What is it? What but the presence of a veil in out hearts? a veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It is the close- woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross. It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify. We have but to look in our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress.

      This veil is not a beautiful thing and it is not a thing about which we commonly care to talk, but I am addressing the thirsting souls who are determined to follow God, and I know they will not turn back because the way leads temporarily through the blackened hills. The urge of God within them will assure their continuing the pursuit. They will face the facts however unpleasant and endure the cross for the joy set before them. So I am bold to mane the threads out of which this inner veil is woven. It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power.

      To be specific, the self-sins are these: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser manifestations of these sins, egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion, are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually, form any people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the Church visible. Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.

      One should suppose that proper instruction in the doctrines of man's depravity and the necessity for justification through the righteousness of Christ alone would deliver us from the power of the self-sins; but it does not work out that way. Self can live unrebuked at the very altar. It can watch the bleeding Victim die and not be in the least affected by what it sees. It can fight for the faith of the Reformers and preach eloquently the creed of salvation by grace, and gain strength by its efforts. To tell all the truth, it seems actually to feed upon orthodoxy and is more at home in a Bible Conference than in a tavern. Our very state of longing after God may afford it an excellent condition under which to thrive and grow.

      Self is the opaque veil that hides the Face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. As well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Saviour passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate.

      Let us remember: when we talk of the rending of the veil we are speaking in a figure, and the thought of it is poetical, almost pleasant; but in actuality there is nothing pleasant about it. In human experience that veil is made of living spiritual tissue; it is composed of the sentient, quivering stuff of which our whole beings consist, and to touch it is to touch us where we feel pain. To tear it away is to injure us, to hurt us and make us bleed. To say otherwise is to make the cross no cross and death no death at all. It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free.

      Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life in hope ourselves to rend the veil. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified. But we must be careful to distinguish lazy 'acceptance' from the real work of God. We must insist upon the work being done. We dare not rest content with a neat doctrine of self-crucifixion. That is to imitate Saul and spare the best of the sheep and the oxen.

      Insist that the work be done in very truth and it will be done. The cross is rough, and it is deadly, but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies. After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered in actual spiritual experience the Presence of the living God. Lord, how excellent are Thy ways, and how devious and dark are the ways of man. Show us how to die, that we may rise again to newness of life. Rend the veil of our self-life from the top down as Thou didst rend the veil of the Temple. We would draw near in full assurance of faith. We would dwell with Thee in daily experience here on this earth so that we may be accustomed to the glory when we enter Thy heaven to dwell with Thee there. In Jesus' name, Amen

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article142.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 28, 2006, 09:27:47 AM
In the Pursuit of God - Apprehending God
By A.W. Tozer

      O taste and see.
      Ps. 34:8
      It was Canon Holmes, of India, who more than twenty-five years ago called attention to the inferential character of the average man's faith in God. To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. 'He must be,' they say, 'therefore we believe He is.' Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed. To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence. These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people.
      Christians, to be sure, go further than this, at least in theory. Their creed requires them to believe in the personality of God, and they have been taught to pray, 'Our Father, which art in heaven.' Now personality and fatherhood carry with them the idea of the possibility of personal acquaintance. This is admitted, I say, in theory, but for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.

      Over against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.

      The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things. 'O taste and see that the Lord is good.' (Ps 34:8) 'All thy garments smellof myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces.' (Ps 45:8) 'My sheep hear my voice.' (Jn 10:27) 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' (Mt 5:8) These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God. And more important than any proof text is the fact that the whole import of the Scripture is toward this belief.

      What can all this mean except that we have in our hearts organs by means of which we can know God as certainly as we know material things through our familiar five senses? We apprehend the physical world by exercising the faculties given us for the purpose, and we possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world if we will obey the Spirit's urge and begin to use them. That a saving work must first be done in the heart is taken for granted here. The spiritual faculties of the unregenerate man lie asleep in his nature, unused and for every purpose dead; that is the stroke which has fallen upon us by sin. They may be quickened to active life again by the operation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration; that is one of the immeasurable benefits which come to us through Christ's atoning work on the cross.

      But the very ransomed children of God themselves: why do they know so little of that habitual conscious communion with God which the Scriptures seem to offer? The answer is our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things. This is the condition of vast numbers of Christians today. No proof is necessary to support that statement. We have but to converse with the first Christian we meet or enter the first church we find open to acquire all the proof we need.

      A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.

      I have just now used two words which demand definition; or if definition is impossible, I must at least make clear what I mean when I use them. They are 'reckon' and 'reality.' What do I mean by reality? I mean that which has existence apart from any idea any mind may have of it, and which would exist if there were no mine anywhere to entertain a thought of it. That which is real has being in itself. It does not depend upon the observer for its validity.

      I am aware that there are those who love to poke fun at the plain man's idea of reality. They are the idealists who spin endless proofs that nothing is real outside of the mind. They are the relativists who like to show that there are no fixed points in the universe from which we can measure anything. They smile down upon us from their lofty intellectual peaks and settle us to their own satisfaction by fastening upon us the reproachful term 'absolutist.' The Christian is not put out of countenance by this show of contempt. He can smile right back at them, for he knows that there is only One who is Absolute, that is God. But he knows also that the Absolute One has made this world for man's uses, and, while there is nothing fixed or real in the last meaning of the words (the meaning as applied to God) for every purpose of human life we are permitted to act as if there were. And every man does act thus except the mentally sick. These unfortunates also have trouble with reality, but they are consistent; they insist upon living in accordance with their ideas of things. They are honest, and it is their very honesty that constitutes them a social problem.

      The idealists and relativists are not mentally sick. They prove their soundness by living their lives according to the very notions of reality which they in theory repudiate and by counting upon the very fixed points which they prove are not there. They could earn a lot more respect for their notions if they were willing to live by them; but this they are careful not to do. Their ideas are brain-deep, not life- deep. Wherever life touches them they repudiate their theories and live like other men.

      The Christian is too sincere to play with ideas for their own sake. He takes no pleasure in the mere spinning of gossamer webs for display. All his beliefs are practical. They are geared into his life. By them he lives or dies, stands or falls for this world and for all time to come. From the insincere man he turns away.

      The sincere plain man knows that the world is real. He finds it here when he wakes to consciousness, and he knows that he did not think it into being. It was here waiting for him when he came, and he knows that when he prepares to leave this earthly scene it will be here still to bid him good-bye as he departs. By the deep wisdom of life he is wiser than a thousand men who doubt. He stands upon the earth and feels the wind and rain in his face and he knows that they are real. He sees the sun by day and the stars by night.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 28, 2006, 09:29:28 AM
      He sees the hot lightning play out of the dark thundercloud. He hears the sounds of nature and the cries of human joy and pain. These he knows are real. He lies down on the cool earth at night and has no fear that it will prove illusory or fail him while he sleeps. In the morning the firm ground will be under him, the blue sky above him and the rocks and trees around him as when he closed his eyes the night before. So he lives and rejoices in a world of reality. With his five senses he engages this real world. All things necessary to his physical existence he apprehends by the faculties with which he has been equipped by the God who created him and placed him in such a world as this.

      Now by our definition also God is real. He is real in the absolute and final sense that nothing else is. All other reality is contingent upon His. The great Reality is God who is the Author of that lower and dependent reality which makes up the sum of created things, including ourselves. God has objective existence independent of and apart from any notions which we may have concerning Him.The worshipping heart does not create its Object. It finds Him here when it wakes from its moral slumber in the morning of its regeneration.

      Another word that must be cleared up is the word reckon. This does not mean to visualize or imagine. Imagination is not faith. The two are not only different from, but stand in sharp opposition to, each other. Imagination projects unreal images out of the mind and seeks to attach reality to them. Faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there. God and the spiritual world are real. We can reckon upon them with as much assurance as we reckon upon the familiar world around us. Spiritual things are there (or rather we should say here) inviting our attention and challenging our trust.

      Our trouble is that we have established bad thought habits. We habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the reality of any other. We do not deny the existence of the spiritual world but we doubt that it is real in the accepted meaning of the word. The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent and self- demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam's tragic race.

      At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian's faith is unseen reality. Our uncorrected thinking, influenced by the blindness of our natural hearts and the intrusive ubiquity of visible things, tends to draw a contrast between the spiritual and the real; but actually no such contrast exists. The antithesis lies elsewhere: between the real and the imaginary, between the spiritual and the material, between the temporal and the eternal; but between the spiritual and the real.

      The spiritual is real. If we would rise into that region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth we must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen. For the great unseen Reality is God. 'He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' (Hebr 11:6) This is basic in the life of faith. From there we can rise to unlimited heights. 'Ye believe in God,' said our Lord Jesus Christ, 'believe also in me.' (John 14:1) Without the first there can be no second.

      If we truly want to follow God we must seek to be other-worldly. This I say knowing well that that word has been used with scorn by the sons of this world and applied to the Christian as a badge of reproach. So be it. Everyman must choose his world. If we who follow Christ, with all the facts before us and knowing what we are about, deliberately choose the Kingdom of God as our sphere of interest I see no reason why anyone should object. If we lose by it, the loss is our own; if we gain we rob no one by so doing.

      The 'other world,' which is the object of this world's disdain and the subject of the drunkard's mocking song, is our carefully chosen goal and the object of our holiest longing. But we must avoid the common fault of pushing the 'other world' into the future. It is not future, but present. It parallels our familiar physical world, and the doors between the two worlds are open. 'Ye are come,' says the writer to the Hebrews (and the tense is plainly present), 'unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel' (Hebr 12:22-24) All these things are contrasted with 'the mount that might be touched' and 'the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words' that might be heard. May we not safely conclude that, as the realities of Mount Sinai were apprehended by the senses, so the realities of Mount Zion are to be grasped by the soul? And this not by any trick of the imagination, but in downright actuality. The soul has eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear. Feeble they may be from long disuse, but by the life-giving touch of Christ alive now and capable of sharpest sight and most sensitive hearing.

      As we begin to focus upon God the things of the spirit will take shape before our inner eyes. Obedience to the word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14:21-23). It will give acute perception enabling us to see God even as is promised to the pure in heart. A new God-consciousness will seize upon us and we shall begin to taste and hear and inwardly feel the God who is our life and our all. There will be seen the constant shining of the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9) More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great All, and His Presence the glory and wonder of our lives. O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things. Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good. Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been. Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article143.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 29, 2006, 02:06:43 PM
In the Pursuit of God - The Universal Presence
By A.W. Tozer

      Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
      Ps. 139:7
      In all Christian teaching certain basic truths are found, hidden at times, and rather assumed than asserted, but necessary to all truth as the primary colors are found inane necessary to the finished painting. Such a truth is the divine immanence.
      God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works. This is boldly taught by prophet and apostle and is accepted by Christian theology generally. That is, it appears in the books, but for some reason it has not sunk into the average Christian's heart so as to become a part of his believing self. Christian teachers shy away from its full implications, and, if they mention it at all, mute it down till it has little meaning. I would guess the reason for this to be the fear of being charged with pantheism; but the doctrine of the divine Presence is definitely not pantheism. Pantheism's error is too palpable to deceive anyone. It is that God is the sum of all created things. Nature and God are one, so that whoever touches a leaf or a stone touches God. That is of course to degrade the glory of the incorruptible Deity and, in an effort to make all things divine, banish all divinity from the world entirely. The truth is that while God dwells in His world He is separated from it by a gulf forever impassable. However closely He may be identified with the work of His hands They are and must eternally be other than He, and He is and must be antecedent to and independent of them. He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them.

      What now does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here. No point is nearer to God than any other point. It is exactly as near to God from any place as it is from any other place. No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person is.

      These are truths believed by every instructed Christian. It remains for us to think on them and pray over them until they begin to glow within us. 'In the beginning God.' (Gen 1:1) Not matter, for matter is not self-causing. It requires an antecedent cause, and God is that Cause. Not law, for law is but a name for the course which all creation follows. That course had to be planned,and the Planner is God. Not mind, for mind also is a created thing and must have a Creator back of it. In the beginning God, the uncaused Cause of matter, mind and law. There we must begin.

      Adam sinned and, in his panic, frantically tried to do the impossible: he tried to hide from the Presence of God. David also must have had wild thoughts of trying to escape from the Presence, for he wrote, 'Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?' (Ps 139:7) Then he proceeded through one of his most beautiful psalms to celebrate the glory of the divine immanence. 'If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.' (Ps 139:8-10) And he knew that God's being and God's seeing are the same, that the seeing Presence had been with him even before he was born, watching the mystery of unfolding life. Solomon exclaimed, 'But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house which I have builded.' (1 Kings 8:27) Paul assured the Athenians that 'God is not far from any one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being.' (Acts 17:27-28)

      If God is present at every point in space, if we cannot go where He is not, cannot even conceive of a place where He is not, why then has not that Presence become the one universally celebrated fact of the world? The patriarch Jacob, 'in the waste howling wilderness,' gave the answer to that question. He saw a vision of God and cried out in wonder, 'Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.' (Gen 28:16) Jacob had never been for one small division of a moment outside the circle of that all-pervading Presence. But he knew it not. That was his trouble, and it is ours. Men do not know that God is here. What a difference it would make if they knew.

      The Presence and the manifestation of the Presence are not the same. There can be the one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His Presence. On our part there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work it is to show us the Father and the Son. If we co-operate with Him in loving obedience God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.

      Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover [uncover] Himself. To each one he would reveal not only that He is, but what He is as well. He did not have to be persuaded to discover Himself to Moses. 'And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.' He not only made a verbal proclamation of His nature but He revealed His very Self to Moses so that the skin of Moses' face shone with the supernatural light. It will be a great moment for some of us when we begin to believe that God's promise of self-revelation is literally true: that He promised much, but promised no more than He intends to fulfill.

      Our pursuit of God is successful just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us. the revelation of God to any man is not God coming from a distance upon a time to pay a brief and momentous visit to the man's soul. Thus to think of it is to misunderstand it all. The approach of God to the soul or of the soul to God is not to be thought of in spatial terms at all. There is no idea of physical distance involved in the concept. It is not a matter of miles but of experience.

      To speak of being near to or far from God is to use language in a sense always understood when applied to our ordinary human relationships. A man may say, 'I feel that my son is coming nearer to me as he gets older,' and yet that son has lived by his father's side since he was born and has never been away from home more than a day or so in his entire life. What then can the father mean? Obviously he is speaking of experiece. He means that the boy is coming to know him more intimately and with deeper understanding, that the barriers of thought and feeling between the two are disappearing, that father and son are becoming more closely united in mind and heart.

      So when we sing, 'Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,' we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.

      Why do some persons 'find' God in a way that others do not? Why does God manifest His Presence to some and let multitudes of others struggle along in the half-light of imperfect Christian experience? Of course the will of God is the same for all. He has no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not with God but with us.

cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 29, 2006, 02:08:10 PM
      Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well known Christians of post-Biblical times. You will be struck instantly with the fact that the saints were not alike. Sometimes the unlikenesses were so great as to be positively glaring. How different for example was Moses from Isaiah; how different was Elijah from David; how unlike each other were John and Paul, St. Francis and Luther, Finney and Thomas à Kempis. The differences are as wide as human life itself: differences of race, nationality, education, temperament, habit and personal qualities. Yet they all walked, each in his day, upon a high road of spiritual living far above the common way. Their differences must have been incidental and in the eyes of God of no significance. In some vital quality they must have been alike. What was it?

      I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spirital receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision. As David put it neatly, 'When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' (Ps 27:8)

      As with everything good in human life, back of this receptivity is God. The sovereignty of God is here, and is felt even by those who have not placed particular stress upon it theologically. The pious Michael Angelo confessed this in a sonnet:

      My unassisted heart is barren clay,
      That of its native self can nothing feed:
      Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
      That quickens only where Thou sayest it may:
      Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way
      No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead.
      These words will repay study as the deep and serious testimony of a great Christian. Important as it is that we recognize God working in us, I would yet warn against a too-great preoccupation with the thought. It is a sure road to sterile passivity. God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, 'O Lord, Thou knowest.' Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God's omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints.
      Receptivity is not a single thing; it is a compound rather, a blending of several elements within the soul. It is an affinity for, a bent toward, a sympathetic response to, a desire to have. From this it may be gathered that it can be present in degrees, that we may have little or more or less, depending upon the individual. It may be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect. It is not a sovereign and irresistible force which comes upon us as a seizure from above. It is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be recognized and cultivated as any other gift if it is to realize the purpose for which it was given. Failure to see this is the cause of a very serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action.

      A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

      The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.

      For this great sickness that is upon us no one person is responsible, and no Christian is wholly free from blame.We have all contributed, directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We have been too blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-satisfied to desire anything better than the poor average diet with which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have accepted one another's notions, copied one another's lives and made one another's experiences the model for our own. And for a generation the trend has been downward. Now we have reached a low place of sand and burnt wire grass and, worst of all, we have made the Word of Truth conform to our experience and accepted this low plane as the very pasture of the blessed.

      It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to Biblical ways. But it can be done. Every now and then in the past Christians have had to do it. History has recorded several large- scale returns led by such men as St. Francis, Martin Luther and George Fox. Unfortunately there seems to be no Luther or Fox on the horizon at present. Whether or not another such return maybe expected before the coming of Christ is a question upon which Christians are not fully agreed, but that is not of too great importance to us now.

      What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know: but what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days. Any man who by repentance and a sincere return to God will break himself out of the mold in which he has been held, and will go to the Bible itself for his spiritual standards, will be delighted with what he finds there.

      Let us say it again: The Universal Presence is a fact. God is here. The whole universe is alive with His life. And He is no strange or foreign God, but the familiar Father of our Lord Jesus Christ whose love has for these thousands of years enfolded the sinful race of men. And always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us. We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures. (And this we call pursuing God!) We will know Him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice. O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy Presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ's sake. Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article144.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 31, 2006, 12:59:16 PM
In the Pursuit of God - The Speaking Voice
By A.W. Tozer

      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      John 1:1
      An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right. A word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice.
      One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: 'He spake and it was done.' The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken.

      The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. 'The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.' The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all- powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.

      We take a low and primitive view of things when we conceive of God at the creation coming into physical contact with things, shaping and fitting and building like a carpenter. The Bible teaches otherwise: 'By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. ...For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.' (Ps 33:6,9) 'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.' (Heb 11:3) Again we must remember that God is referring ere not to His written Word, but to His speaking Voice. His world-filling Voice is meant, that Voice which antedates the Bible by uncounted centuries, that Voice which has not been silent since the dawn of creation, but is sounding still throughout the full far reaches of the universe.

      The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order, darkness heard it and became light. 'And God said - - and it was so.' (Gen 1:9) These twin phrases, as cause and effect, occur throughout the Genesis story of the creation. The said accounts for the so. The so is the said put into the continuous present. That God is here and that He is speaking--these truths are back of all other Bible truths; without them there could be no revelation at all. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years. God breathed on clay and it became a man; He breathes on men and they become clay. 'Return ye children of men,' (Ps 90:3) was the word spoken at the Fall by which God decreed the death of every man, and no added word has He needed to speak. The sad procession of mankind across the face of the earth from birth to the grave is proof that His original Word was enough.

      We have not given sufficient attention to that deep utterance in the Book of John, 'That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' (John 1:9) Shift the punctuation around as we will and the truth is still there: the Word of God affects the hearts of all men as light in the soul. In the hearts of all men the light shines, the Word sounds, and there is no escaping them. Something like this would of necessity be so if God is alive and in His world. And John says that it is so. Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible have still been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts forever. 'Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while either accusing or else excusing one another.' (Rom 2:15) 'For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.' (Rom 1:20)

      This universal Voice of God was by the ancient Hebrews often called Wisdom, and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the sons of men. The eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs begins, 'Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?' The writer then pictures wisdom as a beautiful woman standing 'in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of the paths.' She sounds her voice from every quarter so that no one may miss hearing it. 'Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men.' Then she pleads for the simple and the foolish to give ear to her words. It is spiritual response for which this Wisdom of God is pleading, a response which she has always sought and is but rarely able to secure. The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 31, 2006, 01:00:14 PM
      This universal Voice has ever sounded, and it has often troubled men even when they did not understand the source of their fears. Could it be that this Voice distilling like a living mist upon the hearts of men has been the undiscovered cause of the troubled conscience and the longing for immortality confessed by millions since the dawn of recorded history? We need not fear to face up to this. The speaking Voice is a fact. How men have reacted to it is for any observer to note.

      When God spoke out of heaven to our Lord, self-centered men who heard it explained it by natural causes: they said, 'It thundered.' This habit of explaining the Voice by appeals to natural law is at the very root of modern science. In the living breathing cosmos there is a mysterious Something, too wonderful, too awful [i.e. 'awesome'] for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, 'God.' The man of earth kneels also, but not to worship. He kneels to examine, to search, to find the cause and the how of things. Just now we happen to be living in a secular age. Our thought habits are those of the scientist, not those of the worshipper. We are more likely to explain than to adore. 'It thundered,' we exclaim, and go our earthly way. But still the Voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend upon that Voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.

      Everyone of us has had experiences which we have not been able to explain: a sudden sense of loneliness, or a feeling of wonder or awe in the face of the universal vastness. Or we have had a fleeting visitation of light like an illumination from some other sun, giving us in a quick flash an assurance that we are from another world, that our origins are divine. What we saw there, or felt, or heard, may have been contrary to all that we had been taught in the schools and at wide variance with all our former beliefs and opinions. We were forced to suspend our acquired doubts while, for a moment, the clouds were rolled back and we saw and heard for ourselves. Explain such things as we will, I think we have not been fair to the facts until we allow at least the possibility that such experiences may arise from the Presence of God in the world and His persistent effort to communicate with mankind. Let us not dismiss such an hypothesis too flippantly.

      It is my own belief (and here I shall not feel bad if no one follows me) that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth. The moral philosophers who dreamed their high dreams of virtue, the religious thinkers who speculated about God and immortality, the poets and artists who created out of common stuff pure and lasting beauty: how can we explain them? It is not enough to say simply, 'It was genius.' What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands? That the great man may have missed God in his labors, that he may even have spoken or written against God does not destroy the idea I am advancing. God's redemptive revelation in the Holy Scriptures is necessary to saving faith and peace with God. Faith in a risen Saviour is necessary if the vague stirrings toward immortality are to bring us to restful and satisfying communion with God. To me this is a plausible explanation of all that is best outside of Christ. But you can be a good Christian and not accept my thesis.

      The Voice of God is a friendly Voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless he has already made up his mind to resist it. The blood of Jesus has covered not only the human race but all creation as well. 'And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.' (Col 1:20) We may safely preach a friendly Heaven. The heavens as well as the earth are filled with the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush (Ex. 3). The perfect blood of atonement secures this forever.

      Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. This is definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. We are at the opposite end of the pole from there. Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, 'Be still, and know that I am God,' (Ps 46:10) and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.

      It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear. Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which had been only a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend. Then will come life and light, and best of all, ability to see and rest in and embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and All.

      The Bible will never be a living Book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe. To jump from a dead, impersonal world to a dogmatic Bible is too much for most people. They may admit that they should accept the Bible as the Word of God, and they may try to think of it as such, but they find it impossible to believe that the words there on the page are actually for them. Aman may say, 'These words are addressed to me,' and yet in his heart not feel and know that they are. He is the victim of a divided psychology. He tries to think of God as mute everywhere else and vocal only in a book.

      I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God's continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.

      I think a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking. The prophets habitually said, 'Thus saith the Lord.' They meant their hearers to understand that God's speaking is in the continuous present. We may use the past tense properly to indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken, but a word of God once spoken continues to be spoken, as a child once born continues to be alive, or a world once created continues to exist. And those are but imperfect illustrations, for children die and worlds burn out, but the Word of our God endureth forever.

      If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience. It is more than a thing, it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God. Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, 'Speak, for thy servant heareth.' Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy Voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking Voice. Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article145.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 02, 2006, 03:44:41 PM
In the Pursuit of God - The Gaze of the Soul
By A.W. Tozer

      Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
      Heb.12:2
      Let us think of our intelligent plain man mentioned in chapter six coming for the first time to the reading of the Scriptures. He approaches the Bible without any previous knowledge of what it contains. He is wholly without prejudice; he has nothing to prove and nothing to defend.
      Such a man will not have read long until his mind begins to observe certain truths standing out from the page. They are the spiritual principles behind the record of God's dealings with men, and woven into the writings of holy men as they 'were moved by the Holy Ghost.' As he reads on he might want to number these truths as they become clear to him and make a brief summary under each number. These summaries will be the tenets of his Biblical creed. Further reading will not affect these points except to enlarge and strengthen them. Our man is finding out what the Bible actually teaches. High up on the list of things which the Bible teaches will be the doctrine of faith.

      The place of weighty importance which the Bible gives to faith will be too plain for him to miss. He will very likely conclude: Faith is all- important in the life of the soul. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Faith will get me anything, take me anywhere in the Kingdom of God, but without faith there can be no approach to God, no forgiveness, no deliverance, no salvation, no communion, no spiritual life at all.

      By the time our friend has reached the eleventh chapter of Hebrews the eloquent encomium which is there pronounced upon faith will not seem strange to him. He will have read Paul's powerful defense of faith in his Roman and Galatian epistles. Later if he goes on to study church history he will understand the amazing power in the teachings of the Reformers as they showed the central place of faith in the Christian religion.

      Now if faith is so vitally important, if it is an indispensable must in our pursuit of God, it is perfectly natural that we should be deeply concerned over whether or not we possess this most precious gift. And our minds being what they are, it is inevitable that sooner or later we should get around to inquiring after the nature of faith. What is faith? would lie close to the question, Do I have faith? and would demand an answer if it were anywhere to be found. Almost all who preach or write on the subject of faith have much the same things to say concerning it. They tell us that it is believing a promise, that it is taking God at His word, that it is reckoning the Bible to be true and stepping out upon it. The rest of the book or sermon is usually taken up with stories of persons who have had their prayers answered as a result of their faith. These answers are mostly direct gifts of a practical and temporal nature such as health, money, physical protection or success in business. Or if the teacher is of a philosophic turn of mind he may take another course and lose us in a welter of metaphysics or snow us under with psychological jargon as he defines and re-defines, paring the slender hair of faith thinner and thinner till it disappears in gossamer shavings at last. When he is finished we get up disappointed and go out 'by that same door where in we went.' Surely there must be something better than this.

      In the Scriptures there is practically no effort made to define faith. Outside of a brief fourteen-word definition in Hebrews 11:1, I know of no Biblical definition, and even there faith is defined functionally, not philosophically; that is, it is a statement of what faith is in operation, not what it is in essence. It assumes the presence of faith and shows what it results in, rather than what it is. We will be wise to go just that far and attempt to go no further. We are told from whence it comes and by what means: 'Faith is a gift of God,' (Eph 2:8) and 'Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' (Rom 10:17) This much is clear, and, to paraphrase Thomas à Kempis, 'I had rather exercise faith than know the definition thereof.'

      From here on, when the words 'faith is' or their equivalent occur in this chapter I ask that they be understood to refer to what faith is in operation as exercised by a believing man. Right here we drop the notion of definition and think about faith as it may be experienced in action. The complexion of our thoughts will be practical, not theoretical.

      In a dramatic story in the Book of Numbers faith is seen in action. Israel became discouraged and spoke against God, and the Lord sent fiery serpents among them. 'And they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.' Then Moses sought the Lord for them and He heard and gave them a remedy against the bite of the serpents. He commanded Moses to make a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole in sight of all the people, 'and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.' Moses obeyed, 'and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived' (Num.21:4-9)

      In the New Testament this important bit of history is interpreted for us by no less an authority than our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is explaining to His hearers how they may be saved. He tells them that it is by believing. Then to make it clear He refers to this incident in the Book of Numbers. 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life' (John 3:14-15).

      Our plain man in reading this would make an important discovery. He would notice that 'look' and 'believe' were synonymous terms. 'Looking' on the Old Testament serpent is identical with 'believing' on the New Testament Christ. That is, the looking and the believing are the same thing. And he would understand that while Israel looked with their external eyes, believing is done with the heart. I think he would conclude that faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.

      When he had seen this he would remember passages he had read before, and their meaning would come flooding over him. 'They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed' (Ps.34:5). 'Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us' (Ps.123:1-2). Here the man seeking mercy looks straight at the God of mercy and never takes his eyes away from Him till mercy is granted. And our Lord Himself looked always at God. 'Looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the bread to his disciples' (Matt.14:19).Indeed Jesus taught that He wrought His works by always keeping His inward eyes upon His Father. His power lay in His continuous look at God (John 5:19-21).

      In full accord with the few texts we have quoted is the whole tenor of the inspired Word. It is summed up for us in the Hebrew epistle when we are instructed to run life's race 'looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.' (Hebr 12:2) From all this we learn that faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God.

      Believing, then, is directing the heart's attention to Jesus. It is lifting the mind to 'behold the Lamb of God,' and never ceasing that beholding for the rest of our lives. At first this may be difficult, but it becomes easier as we look steadily at His wondrous Person, quietly and without strain. Distractions may hinder, but once the heart is committed to Him, after each brief excursion away from Him the attention will return again and rest upon Him like a wandering bird coming back to its window.

      I would emphasize this one committal, this one great volitional act which establishes the heart's intention to gaze forever upon Jesus. God takes this intention for our choice and makes what allowances He must for the thousand distractions which beset us in this evil world. He knows that we have set the direction of our hearts toward Jesus, and we can know it too, and comfort ourselves with the knowledge that a habit of soul is forming which will become after a while a sort of spiritual reflex requiring no more conscious effort on our part.

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 02, 2006, 03:46:38 PM
      Faith is the least self-regarding of the virtues. It is by its very nature scarcely conscious of its own existence. Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves--blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.

      Faith is not in itself a meritorious act; the merit is in the One toward Whom it is directed. Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus. Sin has twisted our vision inward and made it self-regarding. Unbelief has put self where God should be, and is perilously close to the sin of Lucifer who said, 'I will set my throne above the throne of God.' Faith looks out instead of in and the whole life falls into line.

      All this may seem too simple. But we have no apology to make. To those who would seek to climb into heaven after help or descend into hell God says, 'The word is nigh thee, even in the word of faith.' The word induces us to lift up our eyes unto the Lord and the blessed work of faith begins.

      When we lift our inward eyes to gaze upon God we are sure to meet friendly eyes gazing back at us, for it is written that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout all the earth. The sweet language of experience is 'Thou God seest me.' When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on this earth.

      'When all my endeavour is turned toward Thee because all Thy endeavour is turned toward me; when I look unto Thee alone with all my attention, nor ever turn aside the eyes of my mind, because Thou dost enfold me with Thy constant regard; when I direct my love toward Thee alone because Thou, who are Love's self hast turned Thee toward me alone. And what, Lord, is my life, save that embrace wherein Thy delightsome sweetness doth so lovingly enfold me?' (So wrote Nicholas of Cusa four hundred years ago. Nicholas of Cusa, The Vision of God, E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., New York, 1928. - This and the following quotations used by kind permission of the publishers.) I should like to say more about this old man of God. He is not much known today anywhere among Christian believers, and among current Fundamentalists he is known not at all. I feel that we could gain much from a little acquaintance with men of his spiritual flavor and the school of Christian thought which they represent. Christian literature, to be accepted and approved by the evangelical leaders of our times, must follow very closely the same train of thought, a kind of 'party line' from which it is scarcely safe to depart. A half-century of this in America has made us smug and content. We imitate each other with slavish devotion and our most strenuous efforts are put forth to try to say the same thing that everyone around us is saying--and yet to find an excuse for saying it, some little safe variation on the approved theme or, if no more,at least a new illustration.

      Nicholas was a true follower of Christ, a lover of the Lord, radiant and shining in his devotion to the Person of Jesus. His theology was orthodox, but fragrant and sweet as everything about Jesus might properly be expected to be. His conception of eternal life, for instance, is beautiful in itself and, if I mistake not, is nearer in spirit to John17:3 than that which is current among us today. Life eternal, says Nicholas, is 'nought other than that blessed regard wherewith Thou never ceasest to behold me, yea, even the secret places of my soul. With Thee, to behold is to give life; 'tis unceasingly to impart sweetest love of Thee; 'tis to inflame me to love of Thee by love's imparting, and to feed me by inflaming, and by feeding to kindle my yearning, and by kindling to make me drink of the dew of gladness, and by drinking to infuse in me a fountain of life, and by infusing to make it increase and endure.' (The Vision of God)

      Now, if faith is the gaze of the heart at God, and if this gaze is but the raising of the inward eyes to meet the all-seeing eyes of God, then it follows that it is one of the easiest things possible to do. It would be like God to make the most vital thing easy and place it within the range of possibility for the weakest and poorest of us. Several conclusions may fairly be drawn from all this. The simplicity of it, for instance. Since believing is looking, it can be done without special equipment or religious paraphernalia. God has seen to it that the one life-and-death essential can never be subject to the caprice of accident.

      Equipment can break down or get lost, water can leak away, records can be destroyed by fire, the minister can be delayed or the church burn down. All these are external to the soul and subject to accident or mechanical failure: but looking is of the heart and can be done successfully by any man standing up or kneeling down or lying in his last agony a thousand miles from any church.

      Since believing is looking it can be done any time. No season is superior to another season for this sweetest of all acts. God never made salvation depend upon new moons nor holy days or sabbaths. A man is not nearer to Christ on Easter Sunday than he is, say, on Saturday, August 3, or Monday, October 4. As long as Christ sits on the mediatorial throne every day is a good day and all days are days of salvation.

      Neither does place matter in this blessed work of believing God. Lift your heart and let it rest upon Jesus and you are instantly in a sanctuary though it be a Pullman berth or a factory or a kitchen. You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.

      Now, someone may ask, 'Is not this of which you speak for special persons such as monks or ministers who have by the nature of their calling more time to devote to quiet meditation? I am a busy worker and have little time to spend alone.' I am happy to say that the life I describe is for everyone of God's children regardless of calling. It is, in fact, happily practiced every day by many hardworking persons and is beyond the reach of none.

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Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 02, 2006, 03:47:17 PM
     Many have found the secret of which I speak and, without giving much thought to what is going on within them, constantly practice this habit of inwardly gazing upon God. They know that something inside their hearts sees God. Even when they are compelled to withdraw their conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs, there is within them a secret communion always going on. Let their attention but be released for a moment from necessary business and it flies at once to God again. This has been the testimony of many Christians, so many that even as I state it thus I have a feeling that I am quoting, though from whom or from how many I cannot possibly know.

      I do not want to leave the impression that the ordinary means of grace have no value. They most assuredly have. Private prayer should be practiced by every Christian. Long periods of Bible meditation will purify our gaze and direct it; church attendance will enlarge our outlook and increase our love for others. Service and work and activity; all are good and should be engaged in by every Christian. But at the bottom of all these things, giving meaning to them, will be the inward habit of beholding God. A new set of eyes (so to speak) will develop within us enabling us to be looking at God while our outward eyes are seeing the scenes of this passing world.

      Someone may fear that we are magnifying private religion out of all proportion, that the 'us' of the New Testament is being displaced by a selfish 'I.' Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? they are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole Church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and higher life.

      All the foregoing presupposes true repentance and a full committal of the life to God. It is hardly necessary to mention this, for only persons who have made such a committal will have read this far. When the habit of inwardly gazing Godward becomes fixed within us we shall be ushered onto a new level of spiritual life more in keeping with the promises of God and the mood of the New Testament. The Triune God will be our dwelling place even while our feet walk the low road of simple duty here among men. We will have found life's summun bonum indeed. 'There is the source of all delights that can be desired; not only can nought better be thought out by men and angels, but nought better can exist in any mode of being! For it is the absolute maximum of every rational desire, than which a greater cannot be.' (The Vision of God) O Lord, I have heard a good word inviting me to look away to Thee and be satisfied. My heart longs to respond, but sin has clouded my vision till I see Thee but dimly. Be pleased to cleanse me in Thine own precious blood, and make me inwardly pure, so that I may with unveiled eyes gaze upon Thee all the days of my earthly pilgrimage. Then shall I be prepared to behold Thee in full splendor in the day whey Thou shalt appear to be glorified in Thy saints and admired in all them that believe. Amen

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article146.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: nChrist on April 02, 2006, 11:42:29 PM
Amen Dreamweaver!

"That your joy might be more full" is a part of many beautiful portions of Scripture, and it applies to many other Scriptures that instruct Christians how to live and how to be filled with the riches and spiritual blessings of the LORD. Any Christian who ever experiences the joys of yielding to the will of God for our lives wants more. The beautiful part of this is that GOD will keep filling us with all spiritual blessings in CHRIST JESUS as long as we yield and ask HIM to feed us.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Revelation 3:20 NASB  'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 03, 2006, 02:30:31 PM
Amen Dreamweaver!

"That your joy might be more full" is a part of many beautiful portions of Scripture, and it applies to many other Scriptures that instruct Christians how to live and how to be filled with the riches and spiritual blessings of the LORD. Any Christian who ever experiences the joys of yielding to the will of God for our lives wants more. The beautiful part of this is that GOD will keep filling us with all spiritual blessings in CHRIST JESUS as long as we yield and ask HIM to feed us.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Revelation 3:20 NASB  'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
AMEN and AMEN brother!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 03, 2006, 02:34:46 PM
In the Pursuit of God - Restoring the Creator-Creature Relation
By A.W. Tozer

      Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
      Ps. 57:5
      It is a truism to say that order in nature depends upon right relationships; to achieve harmony each thing must be in its proper position relative to each other thing. In human life it is not otherwise.
      I have hinted before in these chapters that the cause of all our human miseries is a radical moral dislocation, an upset in our relation to God and to each other. For whatever else the Fall may have been, it was most certainly a sharp change in man's relation to his Creator. He adopted toward God an altered attitude, and by so doing destroyed the proper Creator-creature relation in which, unknown to him, his true happiness lay. Essentially salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relation.

      A satisfactory spiritual life will begin with a complete change in relation between God and the sinner; not a judicial change merely, but a conscious and experienced change affecting the sinner's whole nature. The atonement in Jesus' blood makes such a change judicially possible and the working of the Holy Spirit makes it emotionally satisfying.

      The story of the prodigal son perfectly illustrates this latter phase. He had brought a world of trouble upon himself by forsaking the position which he had properly held as son of his father. At bottom his restoration was nothing more than a re-establishing of the father- son relation which had existed from his birth and had been altered temporarily by his act of sinful rebellion. This story overlooks the legal aspects of redemption, but it makes beautifully clear the experiential aspects of salvation.

      In determining relationships we must begin somewhere. There must be somewhere a fixed center against which everything else is measured, where the law of relativity does not enter and we can say 'is' and make no allowances. Such a center is God. When God would make His Name known to mankind He could find no better word than 'I am'. When He speaks in the first person He says, 'I am'; when we speak of Him we say 'He is'; when we speak to Him we say, 'Thou art.' Everyone and everything else measures from that fixed point. 'I am that I am,' says God, 'I change not.'

      As the sailor locates his position on the sea by 'shooting' the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God. We must begin with God. We are right when and only when we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.

      Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image. The flesh whimpers against the rigor of God's inexorable sentence and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use. We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we shall find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in Him will be too painful to endure.

      So let us begin with God. Back of all, above all, before all is God; first in sequential order, above in rank and station, exalted in dignity and honor. As the self-existent One He gave being to all things, and all things exist out of and for Him. 'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.' (Rev 4:11)

      Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure. God being Who and What He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that it is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.

      The pursuit of God will embrace the labor of bringing our total personality into conformity to His. And this not judicially, but actually. I do not here refer to the act of justification by faith in Christ. I speak of a voluntary exalting of God to His proper station over us and a willing surrender of our whole being to the place of worshipful submission which the Creator-creature circumstance makes proper.

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 03, 2006, 02:35:50 PM
      The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all we step out of the world's parade. We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of the world, and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by it supsurgings and its outgoings.

      Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His Name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.

      'Be thou exalted' is the language of victorious spiritual experience. It is a little key to unlock the door to great treasures of grace. It is central in the life of God in the soul. Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually 'Be thou exalted,' and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once. His Christian life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and becomes the very essence of simplicity. By the exercise of his will he has set his course, and on that course he will stay as if guided by an automatic pilot. If blown off course for a moment by some adverse wind he will surely return again as by a secret bent of the soul. The hidden motions of the Spirit are working in his favor, and 'the stars in their courses' fight for him. He has met his life problem at its center, and everything else must follow along.

      Let no one imagine that he will lose anything of human dignity by this voluntary sell-out of his all to his God. He does not by this degrade himself as a man; rather he finds his right place of high honor as one made in the image of his Creator. His deep disgrace lay in his moral derangement, his unnatural usurpation of the place of God. His honor will be proved by restoring again that stolen throne. In exalting God over all he finds his own highest honor upheld.

      Anyone who might feel reluctant to surrender his will to the will of another should remember Jesus' words, 'Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.' We must of necessity be servant to someone, either to God or to sin. The sinner prides himself on his independence, completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule his members. The man who surrenders to Christ exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.

      Made as we were in the image of God we scarcely find it strange to take again our God as our All. God was our original habitat and our hearts cannot but feel at home when they enter again that ancient and beautiful abode. I hope it is clear that there is a logic behind God's claim to pre-eminence. That place is His by every right in earth or heaven. While we take to ourselves the place that is His the whole course of our lives is out of joint. Nothing will or can restore order till our hearts make the great decision: God shall be exalted above.

      'Them that honour me I will honour,' said God once to a priest of Israel, and that ancient law of the Kingdom stands today unchanged by the passing of time or the changes of dispensation. The whole Bible and every page of history proclaim the perpetuation of that law. 'If any man serve me, him will my Father honour,' said our Lord Jesus, tying in the old with the new and revealing the essential unity of His ways with men. Sometimes the best way to see a thing is to look at its opposite. Eli and his sons are placed in the priesthood with the stipulation that they honor God in their lives and ministrations. This they fail to do, and God sends Samuel to announce the consequences. Unknown to Eli this law of reciprocal honor has been all the while secretly working, and now the time has come for judgment to fall. Hophni and Phineas, the degenerate priests, fall in battle, the wife of Hophni dies in childbirth, Israel flees before her enemies, the ark of God is captured by the Philistines and the old man Eli falls backward and dies of a broken neck. Thus stark tragedy followed upon Eli's failure to honor God.

      Now set over against this almost any Bible character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk. See how God winked at weaknesses and overlooked failures as He poured upon His servants grace and blessing untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest the seed. The man of God set his heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made the difference.

      In our Lord Jesus Christ this law was seen in simple perfection. In His lowly manhood He humbled Himself and gladly gave all glory to His Father in heaven. He sought not His own honor, but the honor of God who sent Him. 'If I honour myself,' He said on one occasion, 'my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honoureth me.' (John 8:54) So far had the proud Pharisees departed from this law that they could not understand one who honored God at his own expense. 'I honour my Father,' said Jesus to them, 'and ye do dishonour me.'

      Another saying of Jesus, and a most disturbing one, was put in the form of a question, 'How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God alone?' (John 5:44) If I understand this correctly Christ taught here the alarming doctrine that the desire for honor among men made belief impossible. Is this sin at the root of religious unbelief? Could it be that those 'intellectual difficulties' which men blame for their inability to believe are but smoke screens to conceal the real cause that lies behind them? Was it this greedy desire for honor from man that made men into Pharisees and Pharisees into Deicides? Is this the secret back of religious self-righteousness and empty worship? I believe it may be. Who will make the once-for-all decision to exalt Him over all? Such are these precious to God above all treasures of earth or sea. In them God finds a theater where He can display His exceeding kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. With them God can walk unhindered, toward them He can act like the God He is.

      In speaking thus I have one fear; it is that I may convince the mind before God can win the heart. For this God-above-all position is one not easy to take. The mind may approve it while not having the consent of the will to put it into effect. While the imagination races ahead to honor God, the will may lag behind and the man never guess how divided his heart is. The whole man must make the decision before the heart can know any real satisfaction. God wants us all, and He will not rest till He gets us all. No part of the man will do.

      Let us pray over this in detail, throwing ourselves at God's feet and meaning everything we say. No one who prays thus in sincerity need wait long for tokens of divine acceptance. God will unveil His glory before His servant's eyes, and He will place all His treasures at the disposal of such a one, for He knows that His honor is safe in such consecrated hands. O God, be thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee. Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, 'Hosanna in the highest.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article147.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 04, 2006, 08:01:50 PM
In the Pursuit of God - Meekness and Rest
By A.W. Tozer

      Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
      Matt.5:5A
      A fairly accurate description of the human race might be furnished one unacquainted with it by taking the Beatitudes, turning them wrong side out and saying, 'Here is your human race.' For the exact opposite of the virtues in the Beatitudes are the very qualities which distinguish human life and conduct.
      In the world of men we find nothing approaching the virtues of which Jesus spoke in the opening words of the famous Sermon on the Mount. Instead of poverty of spirit we find the rankest kind of pride; instead of mourners we find pleasure seekers; instead of meekness, arrogance; instead of hunger after righteousness we hear men saying, 'I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing'; instead of mercy we find cruelty; instead of purity of heart, corrupt imaginings; instead of peacemakers we find men quarrelsome and resentful; instead of rejoicing in mistreatment we find them fighting back with every weapon at their command. Of this kind of moral stuff civilized society is composed.

      The atmosphere is charged with it; we breathe it with every breath and drink it with our mother's milk. Culture and education refine these things slightly but leave them basically untouched. A whole world of literature has been created to justify this kind of life as the only norm alone. And this is the more to be wondered at seeing that these are the evils which make life the bitter struggle it is for all of us. All our heartaches and a great many of our physical ills spring directly out of our sins. Pride, arrogance, resentfulness, evil imaginings, malice, greed: these are the sources of more human pain than all the diseases that ever afflicted mortal flesh.

      Into a world like this the sound of Jesus' words comes wonderful and strange, a visitation from above. It is well that He spoke, for no one else could have done it as well; and it is good that we listen. His words are the essence of truth. He is not offering an opinion; Jesus never uttered opinions. He never guessed; He knew, and He knows. His words are not as Solomon's were, the sum of sound wisdom or the results of keen observation. He spoke out of the fulness of His Godhead, and His words are very Truth itself. He is the only one who could say 'blessed' with complete authority, for He is the Blessed One come from the world above to confer blessedness upon mankind. And His words were supported by deeds mightier than any performed on this earth by any other man. It is wisdom for us to listen.

      As was often so with Jesus, He used this word 'meek' in a brief crisp sentence, and not till some time later did He go on to explain it. In the same book of Matthew He tells us more about it and applies it to our lives. 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' (Mat 11:28-30) Here we have two things standing in contrast to each other, a burden and a rest. The burden is not a local one, peculiar to those first hearers, but one which is borne by the whole human race. It consists not of political oppression or poverty or hard work. It is far deeper than that. It is felt by the rich as well as the poor for it is something from which wealth and idleness can never deliver us.

      The burden borne by mankind is a heavy and a crushing thing. The word Jesus used means a load carried or toil borne to the point of exhaustion. Rest is simply release from that burden. It is not something we do, it is what comes to us when we cease to do. His own meekness, that is the rest.

      Let us examine our burden. It is altogether an interior one. It attacks the heart and the mind and reaches the body only from within. First, there is the burden of pride. The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed. Think for yourself whether much of your sorrow has not arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have inward peace? The heart's fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let the mind have rest. Continue this fight through the years and the burden will become intolerable.

      Yet the sons of earth are carrying this burden continually, challenging every word spoken against them, cringing under every criticism, smarting under each fancied slight, tossing sleepless if another is preferred before them. Such a burden as this is not necessary to bear. Jesus calls us to His rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort. He develops toward himself a kindly sense of humor and learns to say, 'Oh, so you have been overlooked? They have placed someone else before you? They have whispered that you are pretty small stuff after all? And now you feel hurt because the world is saying about you the very things you have been saying about yourself? Only yesterday you were telling God that you were nothing, a mere worm of the dust. Where is your consistency? Come on, humble yourself, and cease to care what men think.'

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 04, 2006, 08:02:49 PM
      The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values. He will be patient to wait for the day when everything will get its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. Then the righteous shall shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. He is willing to wait for that day.

      In the meantime he will have attained a place of soul rest. As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings.

      Then also he will get deliverance from the burden of pretense. By this I mean not hypocrisy, but the common human desire to put the best foot forward and hide from the world our real inward poverty. For sin has played many evil tricks upon us, and one has been the infusing into us a false sense of shame. There is hardly a man or woman who dares to be just what he or she is without doctoring up the impression. The fear of being found out gnaws like rodents within their hearts. The man of culture is haunted by the fear that he will some day come upon a man more cultured than himself. The learned man fears to meet a man more learned than he. The rich man sweats under the fear that his clothes or his car or his house will sometime be made to look cheap by comparison with those of another rich man. So-called 'society' runs by a motivation not higher than this, and the poorer classes on their level are little better.

      Let no one smile this off. These burdens are real, and little by little they kill the victims of this evil and unnatural way of life. And the psychology created by years of this kind of thing makes true meekness seem as unreal as a dream, as aloof as a star. To all the victims of the gnawing disease Jesus says, 'Ye must become as little children.' For little children do not compare; they receive direct enjoyment from what they have without relating it to something else or someone else. Only as they get older and sin begins to stir within their hearts do jealousy and envy appear. Then they are unable to enjoy what they have if someone else has something larger or better. At that early age does the galling burden come down upon their tender souls, and it never leaves them till Jesus sets them free.

      Another source of burden is artificialy. I am sure that most people live in secret fear that some day they will be careless and by chance an enemy or friend will be allowed to peep into their poor empty souls. So they are never relaxed. Bright people are tense and alert in fear that they may be trapped into saying something common or stupid. Traveled people are afraid that they may meet some Marco Polo who is able to describe some remote place where they have never been.

      This unnatural condition is part of our sad heritage of sin, but in our day it is aggravated by our whole way of life. Advertising is largely based upon this habit of pretense. 'Courses' are offered in this or that field of human learning frankly appealing to the victim's desire to shine at a party. Books are sold, clothes and cosmetics are peddled, by playing continually upon this desire to appear what we are not. Artificiality is one curse that will drop away the moment we kneel at Jesus' feet and surrender ourselves to His meekness. Then we will not care what people think of us so long as God is pleased. Then what we are will be everything; what we appear will take its place far down the scale of interest for us. Apart from sin we have nothing of which to be ashamed. Only an evil desire to shine makes us want to appear other than we are.

      The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense. There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ. Good keen reasoning may help slightly, but so strong is this vice that if we push it down one place it will come up somewhere else. To men and women everywhere Jesus says, 'Come unto me, and I will give you rest.' The rest He offers is the rest of meekness, the blessed relief which comes when we accept ourselves for what we are and cease to pretend. It will take some courage at first, but the needed grace will come as we learn that we are sharing this new and easy yoke with the strong Son of God Himself. He calls it 'my yoke,' and He walks at one end while we walk at the other. Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to compete with another for place or prestige or position. I would be simple and artless as a little child. Deliver me from pose and pretense. Forgive me for thinking of myself. Help me to forget myself and find my true peace in beholding Thee. That Thou mayest answer this prayer I humble myself before Thee. Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-forgetfulness that through it I may find rest. Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article148.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 06, 2006, 12:26:05 AM
In the Pursuit of God - The Sacrament of Living
By A.W. Tozer

      Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
      I Cor. 10:31
      One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As the seas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided instead of a unified life.
      Our trouble springs from the fact that we who follow Christ inhabit at once two worlds, the spiritual and the natural. As children of Adam we live our lives on earth subject to the limitations of the flesh and the weaknesses and ills to which human nature is heir. Merely to live among men requires of us years of hard toil and much care and attention to the things of this world. In sharp contrast to this is our life in the Spirit. There we enjoy another and higher kind of life; we are children of God; we possess heavenly status and enjoy intimate fellowship with Christ.

      This tends to divide our total life into two departments. We come unconsciously to recognize two sets of actions. The first are performed with a feeling of satisfaction and a firm assurance that they are pleasing to God. These are the sacred acts and they are usually thought to be prayer, Bible reading, hymn singing, church attendance and such other acts as spring directly from faith. They maybe known by the fact that they have no direct relation to this world, and would have no meaning whatever except as faith shows us another world, 'an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.' (2 Cor 5:1)

      Over against these sacred acts are the secular ones.They include all of the ordinary activities of life which we share with the sons and daughters of Adam: eating, sleeping, working, looking after the needs of the body and performing our dull and prosaic duties here on earth. These we often do reluctantly and with many misgivings, often apologizing to God for what we consider a waste of time and strength. The upshot of this is that we are uneasy most of the time. We go about our common tasks with a feeling of deep frustration, telling ourselves pensively that there's a better day coming when we shall slough off this earthly shell and be bothered no more with the affairs of this world.

      This is the old sacred-secular antithesis. Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tight rope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.

      I believe this state of affairs to be wholly unnecessary. We have gotten ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, true enough, but the dilemma is not real. It is a creature of misunderstanding. The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament. Without doubt a more perfect understanding of Christian truth will deliver us from it.

      The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example, and He knew no divided life. In the Presence of His Father He lived on earth without strain from babyhood to His death on the cross. God accepted the offering of His total life, and made no distinction between act and act. 'I do always the things that please him,' was His brief summary of His own life as it related to the Father. (John 8:29) As He moved among men He was poised and restful. What pressure and suffering He endured grew out of His position as the world's sin- bearer; they were never the result of moral uncertainty or spiritual maladjustment.

      Paul's exhortation to 'do all to the glory of God' is more than pious idealism. It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot.

      That monkish hatred of the body which figures so prominently in the works of certain early devotional writers is wholly without support in the Word of God. Common modesty is found in the Sacred Scriptures, it is true, but never prudery or a false sense of shame. The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation our Lord took upon Him a real human body, and no effort is made to steer around the downright implications of such a fact. He lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act. His presence in human flesh sweeps away forever the evil notion that there is about the human body something innately offensive to the Deity. God created our bodies, and we do not offend Him by placing the responsibility where it belongs. He is not ashamed of the work of His own hands. Perversion, misuse and abuse of our human powers should give us cause enough to be ashamed. Bodily acts done in sin and contrary to nature can never honor God. Wherever the human will introduces moral evil we have no longer our innocent and harmless powers as God made them; we have instead an abused and twisted thing which can never bring glory to its Creator.

      Let us, however, assume that perversion and abuse are not present. Let us think of a Christian believer in whose life the twin wonders of repentance and the new birth have been wrought. He is now living according to the will of God as he understands it from the written Word. Of such a one it may be said that every act of his life is or can be as truly sacred as prayer or baptism or the Lord's Supper. To say this is not to bring all acts down to one dead level; it is rather to lift every act up into a living kingdom and turn the whole life into a sacrament.

      If a sacrament is an external expression of an inward grace, then we need not hesitate to accept the above thesis. By one act of consecration of our total selves to God, we can make every subsequent act express that consecration. We need no more be ashamed of our body-- the fleshly servant that carries us through life-- than Jesus was of the humble beast upon which He rode into Jerusalem. 'The Lord hath heed of him' may well apply to our mortal bodies. If Christ dwells in us we may bear about the Lord of glory as the little beast did of old and give occasion to the multitudes to cry, 'Hosanna in the highest.'

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 06, 2006, 12:27:02 AM
      That we see this truth is not enough. If we would escape from the toils of the sacred-secular dilemma the truth must 'run in our blood' and condition the complexion of our thoughts. We must practice living to the glory of God, actually and determinedly. By meditation upon this truth, by talking it over with God often in our prayers, by recalling it to our minds frequently as we move about among men, a sense of its wondrous meaning will begin to take hold of us. The old painful duality will go down before a restful unity of life. The knowledge that we are all God's, that He has received all and rejected nothing, will unify our inner lives and make everything sacred to us.

      This is not quite all. Long-held habits do not die easily. It will take intelligent thought and a great deal of reverent prayer to escape completely from the sacred-secular psychology. For instance it may be difficult for the average Christian to get hold of the idea that his daily labors can be performed as acts of worship acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. The old antithesis will crop up in the back of his head sometimes to disturb his peace of mind. Nor will that old serpent the devil take all this lying down. He will be there in the cab or at the desk or in the field to remind the Christian that he is giving the better part of his day to the things of this world and allotting to his religious duties only a trifling portion of his time.And unless great care is taken this will create confusion and bring discouragement and heaviness of heart.

      We can meet this successfully only by the exercise of an aggressive faith. We must offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. Then hold firmly to that position and keep insisting that every act of every hour of the day and night be included in the transaction. Keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory; then supplement those times by a thousand thought-prayers as we go about the job of living. Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration. Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.

      A concomitant of the error which we have been discussing is the sacred-secular antithesis as applied to places. It is little short of astonishing that we can read the New Testament and still believe in the inherent sacredness of places as distinguished from other places.This error is so widespread that one feels all alone when he tries to combat it. It has acted as a kind of dye to color the thinking of religious persons and has colored the eyes as well so that it is all but impossible to detect its fallacy. In the face of every New Testament teaching to the contrary, it has been said and sung throughout the centuries and accepted as part of the Christian message, the which it most surely is not. Only the Quakers, so far as my knowledge goes, have had the perception to see the error and the courage to expose it.

      Here are the facts as I see them. For four hundred years Israel had dwelt in Egypt, surrounded by the crassest idolatry. By the hand of Moses they were brought out at last and started toward the land of promise. The very idea of holiness had been lost to them. To correct this, God began at the bottom. He localized Himself in the cloud and fire and later when the tabernacle had been built He dwelt between holy and unholy. There were holy days, holy vessels, holy garments. There were washings, sacrifices, offerings of many kinds. By these means Israel learned that God is holy. It was this that He was teaching them. Not the holiness of things or places, but the holiness of Jehovah was the lesson they must learn.

      Then came the great day when Christ appeared. Immediately He began to say, 'Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time...,but I say unto you...' (Mat 5:21-22) The Old Testament schooling was over. When Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. The Holy of Holies was opened to everyone who would enter in faith. Christ's words were remembered, 'The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. ... But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.' (John 4:21-23)

      Shortly after, Paul took up the cry of liberty and declared all meats clean, every day holy, all places sacred and every act acceptable to God. The sacredness of times and places, a half-light necessary to the education of the race, passed away before the full sun of spiritual worship.

      The essential spirituality of worship remained the possession of the Church until it was slowly lost with the passing of the years. Then the natural legality of the fallen hearts of men began to introduce the old distinctions. The Church came to observe again days and seasons and times. Certain places were chosen and marked out as holy in a special sense. Differences were observed between one and another day or place or person. 'The sacraments' were first two, then three, then four, until with the triumph of Romanism they were fixed at seven.

      In all charity, and with no desire to reflect unkindly upon any Christian, however misled, I would point out that the Roman Catholic church represents today the sacred-secular heresy carried to its logical conclusion. Its deadliest effect is the complete cleavage it introduces between religion and life. Its teachers attempt to avoid this snare by many footnotes and multitudinous explanations, but the mind's instinct for logic is too strong. In practical living the cleavage is a fact.

      From this bondage reformers and puritans and mystics have labored to free us. Today the trend in conservative circles is back toward that bondage again. It is said that a horse after it has been led out of a burning building will sometimes by a strange obstinacy break loose from its rescuer and dash back into the building again to perish in the flame. By some such stubborn tendency toward error, Fundamentalism in our day is moving back toward spiritual slavery. The observation of days and times is becoming more and more prominent among us. 'Lent' and 'holy week' and 'good' Friday are words heard more and more frequently upon the lips of gospel Christians. We do not know when we are well off.

      In order that I may be understood and not be misunderstood I would throw into relief the practical implications of the teaching for which I have been arguing, i.e., the sacramental quality of every-day living. Over against its positive meanings I should like to point out a few things it does not mean.

      It does not mean, for instance, that everything we do is of equal importance with everything else we do or may do. One act of a good man's life may differ widely from another in importance. Paul's sewing of tents was not equal to his writing an Epistle to the Romans, but both were accepted of God and both were true acts of worship. Certainly it is more important to lead a soul to Christ than to plant a garden, but the planting of the garden can be as holy an act as the winning of a soul.

      Again, it does not mean that every man is as useful as every other man. Gifts differ in the body of Christ. A Billy Bray is not to be compared with a Luther or a Wesley for sheer usefulness to the Church and to the world; but the service of the less gifted brother is as pure as that of the more gifted, and God accepts both with equal pleasure.

      The 'layman' need never think of his humbler task as being inferior to that of his minister. Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For such a man, living itself will be sacramental and the whole world a sanctuary. His entire life will be a priestly ministration. As he performs his never so simple task he will hear the voice of the seraphim saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.' Lord, I would trust Thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all. I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee. I want constantly to be aware of Thine overshadowing Presence and to hear Thy speaking Voice. I long to live in restful sincerity of heart. I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thought may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship. Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, 'I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.' And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article149.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 06, 2006, 02:16:21 PM
A.W. Tozer - Short Biography
By A.W. Tozer

      Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April 21, 1897, on a small farm among the spiny ridges of Western Pennsylvania. Within a few short years, Tozer, as he preferred to be called, would earn the reputation and title of a "20th-century prophet."
       Able to express his thoughts in a simple but forceful manner, Tozer combined the power of God and the power of words to nourish hungry souls, pierce human hearts, and draw earthbound minds toward God.
       When he was 15 years old, Tozer's family moved to Akron, Ohio. One afternoon as he walked home from his job at Goodyear, he overheard a street preacher say, "If you don't know how to be saved . . . just call on God." When he got home, he climbed the narrow stairs to the attic where, heeding the preacher's advice, Tozer was launched into a lifelong pursuit of God.
       In 1919, without formal education, Tozer was called to pastor a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. That humble beginning thrust him and his new wife Ada Cecelia Pfautz, into a 44-year ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
       Thirty-one of those years were spent at Chicago's Southside Alliance Church. The congregation, captivated by Tozer's preaching, grew from 80 to 800.
       In 1950 Tozer was elected editor of the Alliance Weekly now called Alliance Life. The circulation doubled almost immediately. In the first editorial dated June 3, 1950, he set the tone: "It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that."

       Tozer's forte was his prayer life which often found him walking the aisles of a sanctuary or lying face down on the floor. He noted, "As a man prays, so is he." To him the worship of God was paramount in his life and ministry. "His preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life," comments Tozer biographer James L. Snyder. An earlier biographer noted, "He spent more time on his knees than at his desk."
       Tozer's love for words also pervaded his family life. He quizzed his children on what they read and made up bedtime stories for them. "The thing I remember most about my father," reflects his daughter Rebecca, "was those marvelous stories he would tell."
       Son Wendell, one of six boys born before the arrival of Rebecca, remembers that, "We all would rather be treated to the lilac switch by our mother than to have a talking-to by our dad."
       Tozer's final years of ministry were spent at Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Canada. On May 12, 1963, his earthly pursuit of God ended when he died of a heart attack at age 66. In a small cemetery in Akron, Ohio, his tombstone bears this simple epitaph: "A Man of God."
       Some wonder why Tozer's writings are as fresh today as when he was alive. It is because, as one friend commented, "He left the superficial, the obvious and the trivial for others to toss around. . . . [His] books reach deep into the heart."
       His humor, written and spoken, has been compared to that of Will Rogers--honest and homespun. Congregations could one moment be swept by gales of laughter and the next sit in a holy hush.
       For almost 50 years, Tozer walked with God. Even though he is gone, he continues to speak, ministering to those who are eager to experience God. As someone put it, "This man makes you want to know and feel God."

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article150.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 06, 2006, 02:17:37 PM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - Dwelling Place of God
By A.W. Tozer

      DEEP INSIDE EVERY MAN there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. This far-in reality is that in the man which is what it is of itself without reference to any other part of the man's complex nature. It is the man's "I Am," a gift from the I AM who created him.

      The I AM which is God is underived and selfexistent; the "I Am" which is man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative fiat for its continued existence. One is the Creator, high over all, ancient of days, dwelling in light unapproachable. The other is a creature and, though privileged beyond all others, is still but a creature, a pensioner on God's bounty and a suppliant before His throne.

      The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures the spirit of man. "For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:11) . As God's self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man's selfknowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man.

      The importance of all this cannot be overestimated as we think and study and pray. It reveals the essential spirituality of mankind. It denies that man is a creature having a spirit and declares that he is a spirit having a body. That which makes him a human being is not his body but his spirit, in which the image of God originally lay.

      One of the most liberating declarations in the New Testament is this: "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23, 24) . Here the nature of worship is shown to be wholly spiritual. True religion is removed from diet and days, from garments and ceremonies, and placed where it belongs-in the union of the spirit of man with the Spirit of God.

      From man's standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man's being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ; and He will enter only by the invitation of faith. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).

      By the mysterious operation of the Spirit in the new birth, that which is called by Peter "the divine nature" enters the deep-in core of the believer's heart and establishes residence there. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his," for "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:9, 16). Such a one is a true Christian, and only such. Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership-these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place. Religious externals may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for any others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security.

      "Keep thy heart with all diligence" is more than a wise saying; it is a solemn charge laid upon us by the One who cares most about us. To it we should give the most careful heed lest at any time we should let it slip.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article152.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 07, 2006, 11:25:15 PM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - Dwelling Place of God
By A.W. Tozer

      DEEP INSIDE EVERY MAN there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. This far-in reality is that in the man which is what it is of itself without reference to any other part of the man's complex nature. It is the man's "I Am," a gift from the I AM who created him.

      The I AM which is God is underived and selfexistent; the "I Am" which is man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative fiat for its continued existence. One is the Creator, high over all, ancient of days, dwelling in light unapproachable. The other is a creature and, though privileged beyond all others, is still but a creature, a pensioner on God's bounty and a suppliant before His throne.

      The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures the spirit of man. "For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:11) . As God's self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man's selfknowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man.

      The importance of all this cannot be overestimated as we think and study and pray. It reveals the essential spirituality of mankind. It denies that man is a creature having a spirit and declares that he is a spirit having a body. That which makes him a human being is not his body but his spirit, in which the image of God originally lay.

      One of the most liberating declarations in the New Testament is this: "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23, 24) . Here the nature of worship is shown to be wholly spiritual. True religion is removed from diet and days, from garments and ceremonies, and placed where it belongs-in the union of the spirit of man with the Spirit of God.

      From man's standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man's being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ; and He will enter only by the invitation of faith. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).

      By the mysterious operation of the Spirit in the new birth, that which is called by Peter "the divine nature" enters the deep-in core of the believer's heart and establishes residence there. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his," for "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:9, 16). Such a one is a true Christian, and only such. Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership-these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place. Religious externals may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for any others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security.

      "Keep thy heart with all diligence" is more than a wise saying; it is a solemn charge laid upon us by the One who cares most about us. To it we should give the most careful heed lest at any time we should let it slip.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article152.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 09, 2006, 02:45:06 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - The Call of Christ
By A.W. Tozer

      TO BE CALLED TO FOLLOW CHRIST is a high honor; higher indeed than any honor men can bestow upon each other.

      Were all the nations of the earth to unite in one great federation and call a man to head that federation, that man would be honored above any other man that ever lived. Yet the humblest man who heeds the call to follow Christ has an honor far above such a man; for the nations of the earth can bestow only such honor as they possess, while the honor of Christ is supreme over all. God has given Him a name that is above every name.

      This being true and being known to the heavenly intelligences, the methods we use to persuade men to follow Christ must seem to them extremely illogical if not downright wrong.

      Evangelical Christians commonly offer Christ to mankind as a nostrum to cure their ills, a way out of their troubles, a quick and easy means to the achievement of personal ends. They use the right words, but their emphasis is awry. The message is so presented as to leave the hearer with the impression that he is being asked to give up much to gain more. And that is not good, however well intentioned it may be.

      What we do is precisely what a good salesman does when he presents the excellence of his product as compared with that of his closest competitor. The customer chooses the better of the two, as who would not? But the weakness of the whole salesmanship technique is apparent: the idea of selfish gain is present in the whole transaction.

      Jesus Christ is a Man come to save men. In Him the divine nature is married to our human nature, and wherever human nature exists there is the raw material out of which He makes followers and saints. Our Lord recognizes no classes, high or low, rich or poor, old or young, man or woman: all are human and all are alike to Him. His invitation is to all mankind.

      In New Testament times persons from many and varied social levels heard His call and responded: Peter the fisherman; Levi the publican; Luke the physician; Paul the scholar; Mary the demon possessed; Lydia the businesswoman; Paulus the statesman. A few great and many common persons came. They all came and our Lord received them all in the same way and on the same terms.

      From any and every profession or occupation men and women may come if they will. The simple rule is that if the occupation is good, continue in it if you so desire; if it is bad, abandon it at once and seek another. If the call includes detachment from all common pursuits to give full time to the work of the gospel, then no profession or occupation, no matter how good or how noble, must keep us from obeying the call.

      The activities in which men engage may be divided into two categories: the morally bad and the morally neutral. The activities of the burglar, the gambler, the dictator, the procurer, the dope addict, the gangster and all who prey upon society are bad; nothing can make them better. The call of Christ is away from all such. This is not to be questioned or debated, but accepted without delay and acted upon at once.

      But the majority of our human activities are not evil in themselves; they are neutral. The laborer, the statesman, the housewife, the doctor, the teacher, the engineer-such as these engage in activities that are neither good nor bad. Their moral qualities are imparted by the one who engages in them. So the call of Christ is not away from such things, for they may be sanctified by the prayer and faith of the individual, and thus turned into a positive good.

      One thing is certain: the call of Christ is always a promotion. Were Christ to call a king from his throne to preach the gospel to some tribe of aborigines, that king would be elevated above anything he had known before. Any movement toward Christ is ascent, and any direction away from Him is down.

      Yet though we recognize the honor bestowed upon us, there is no place for pride, for the follower of Christ must shoulder his cross and a cross is an object of shame and a symbol of rejection.

      Before God and the angels it is a great honor to follow Christ, but before men it is not so. The Christ the world pretends now to honor was once rejected and crucified by that same world. The great saint is honored only after he is dead. Rarely is he known as a saint while he lives. The plaudits of the world come too late, when he can no longer hear them; and perhaps it is better that way. Not many are selfless enough to endure honor without injury to their souls.

      In those early Galilean days Christ's followers heard His call, forsook the old life, attached themselves to Him, began to obey His teachings and joined themselves to His band of disciples. This total commitment was their confirmation of faith. Nothing less would do.

      And it is not different today. He calls us to leave the old life and to begin the new. There must never be any vacuum, never any place of neutrality where the world cannot identify us. Peter warming himself at the world's fire and trying to seem unconcerned is an example of the kind of halfway discipleship too many are satisfied with. The martyr leaping up in the arena, demanding to be thrown to the lions along with his suffering brethren, is an example of the only kind of dedication that God approves.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article153.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 09, 2006, 02:47:31 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - What We Think of Ourselves Is Important
By A.W. Tozer

      THE MAN WHO IS SERIOUSLY CONVINCED that he deserves to go to hell is not likely to go there, while the man who believes that he is worthy of heaven will certainly never enter that blessed place.

      I use the word "seriously" to accent true conviction and to distinguish it from mere nominal belief.

      It is possible to go through life believing that we believe, while actually having no conviction more vital than a conventional creed inherited from our ancestors or picked up from the general religious notions current in our social circle. If this creed requires that we admit our own depravity we do so and feel proud of our fidelity to the Christian faith. But from the way we love, praise and pamper ourselves it is plain enough that we do not consider ourselves worthy of damnation.

      A revealing proof of this is seen in the squeamish way religious writers use words. An amusing example is found in a cautious editorial change made in the song "The Comforter Has Come." One stanza reads:

      "O boundless love divine!

      How shall this tongue of mine,

      To wondering mortals tell

      The matchless grace divine -

      That I, a child of hell,

      Should in His image shine!"

      That is how Dr. Bottome felt it and that is how he wrote it; and the man who has seen the holiness of God and the pollution of his own heart will sing it as it was written, for his whole inner life will respond to the experience. Even if he cannot find chapter and verse to brand hint a child of hell, Ins heart indicts him and he eagerly accuses himself before God as fit only for perdition. This is to experience something profounder than theology, more painfully intimate than creed, and while bitter and harsh it is true to the man's Spirit illuminated view of himself. In so confessing, the enlightened heart is being faithful to the terrible fact while it is singing its own condemnation. This I believe is greatly pleasing to God.

      It is, I repeat, amusing if somewhat distressing to come upon an editorial change in this song, which was made obviously in the interest of correct theology, but is once removed from reality and twice removed from true moral feeling. In one hymnal it is made to read,

      "That I a child of SIN

      Should in His image shine!"

      The fastidious song cobbler who made that alteration simply could not think of himself as ever having been a "child of hell." A finicky choice of words sometimes tells us more about a man than the man knows about himself.

      This one instance, if isolated in Christian literature, ought not be too significant, but when this kind of thing occurs everywhere as thick as dandelions in a meadow it becomes highly significant indeed. The mincing religious prudery heard in the average pulpit is all a part of this same thing-- art unwillingness to admit the depths of our inner depravity. We do not actually assent to God's judgement of us except as we hold it as a superficial creed. When the pressure is on we back out. A child of sin? Maybe. A child of hell? No.

      Our Lord -told of two men who appeared before God in prayer, a Pharisee who recited his virtues and a publican who beat on his breast and pleaded for mercy. The first was rejected, the other justified.

      We manage to live with that story in some degree of comfort only by keeping it at full arm's length and never permitting it to catch hold of our conscience. These two men are long ago dead and their story has become it little religious classic. We are different, and how can anything so remote apply to us? So we reason on a level only slightly above our unconscious, and draw what comfort we can from the vagueness and remoteness of it all.

      But why should we not face up to it? The truth is that this happened not a long while ago, but yesterday, this morning; not far-away, but here where some of us last knelt to pray. These two men are not dead, but alive, and are found in the local church, at the missionary convention and the deeper life conference here, now, today.

      Every man lives at last by his secret philosophy as an airplane flies on its electric beam. It is the profound conviction that we are wholly unworthy of future blessedness, that, we are indeed by nature fitted only for destruction, that leads to true repentance. The man who inwardly believes that lie is too good to perish will certainly perish unless he experiences a radical change of heart about himself.

      The poor quality of Christian that grows out of our modern evangelistic meeting may be accounted for by the absence of real repentance accompanying the initial spiritual experience of the converts. And the absence of repentance is the result of an inadequate view of sin and sinfulness held by those who present themselves in the inquiry room.

      "No fears, no grace," said Bunyan. "Though there is not always grace where there is fear of hell, yet, to be sure, there is no grace where there is no fear of God." And again, "I care not at all for that profession which begins not in heaviness of mind .... For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and they that lack the beginning have neither middle nor end."

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article154.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 09, 2006, 02:48:49 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - The Once-born and the Twice-born
By A.W. Tozer

      CLASSIFICATION IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT of all tasks. Even in the realm of religion there are enough lights and shades to make it injudicious to draw too fine a line between men and men. If the religious world were composed of squares of solid black and solid white classification would be easy; but unfortunately it is not.

      It is a grave error for us evangelicals to assume that the children of God are all in our communion and that all who are not associated with us are ipso facto enemies of the Lord. The Pharisees made that mistake and crucified Christ as a consequence.

      With all this in mind, and leaning over backwards to be fair and charitable, there is yet one distinction which we dare make, which indeed we must make if we are to think the thoughts of God after Him and bring our beliefs into harmony with the Holy Scriptures. That distinction is the one which exists between two classes of human beings, the once-born and the twice-born.

      That such a distinction does in fact exist was taught by our Lord with great plainness of speech, in contexts which preclude the possibility that He was merely speaking figuratively. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," He said, and the whole chapter where these words are found confirms that He was speaking precisely, setting forth meanings as blunt and downright as it is possible for language to convey.

      "Ye must be born again," said Christ. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." This clear line of demarcation runs through the entire New Testament, quite literally dividing one human being from another and making a distinction as sharp as that which exists between different genera of the animal kingdom.

      Just who belongs to one class and who to the other it is not always possible to judge, though the two kinds of life ordinarily separate from each other. Those who are twice-born crystallize around the Person of Christ and cluster together in companies, while the once-born are held together only by the ties of nature, aided by the ties of race or by common political and social interests.

      Our Lord warned His disciples that they would be persecuted. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," He said, and "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

      These are only two of many passages of the New Testament warning of persecution or recording the fact of harassment and attack suffered by the followers of the Lord. This same idea runs through the entire Bible from the once-born Cain who slew the twice-born Abel to the Book of the Revelation where the end of human history comes in a burst of blood and fire.

      That hostility exists between the once-born and the twice-born is known to every student of the Bible; the reason for it was stated by Christ when He said, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." The rule was laid down by the apostle Paul when he wrote, "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now."

      Difference of moral standards between the onceborn and the twice-born, and their opposite ways of life, may be contributing causes of this hostility; but the real cause lies deeper. There are two spirits abroad in the earth: the spirit that works in the children of disobedience and the Spirit of God. These two can never be reconciled in time or in eternity. The spirit that dwells in the once-born is forever opposed to the Spirit that inhabits the heart of the twice-born. This hostility began somewhere in the remote past before the creation of man and continues to this day. The modern effort to bring peace between these two spirits is not only futile but contrary to the moral laws of the universe.

      To teach that the spirit of the once-born is at enmity with the Spirit of the twice-born is to bring down upon one's head every kind of violent abuse. No language is too bitter to hurl against the conceited bigot who would dare to draw such a line of distinction between men. Such malignant ideas are at odds with the brotherhood of man, says the once-born, and are held only by the apostles of disunity and hate. This mighty rage against the twice-born only serves to confirm the truth they teach. But this no one seems to notice.

      What we need to restore power to the Christian testimony is not soft talk about brotherhood but an honest recognition that two human races occupy the earth simultaneously: a fallen race that sprang from the loins of Adam and a regenerate race that is born of the Spirit through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

      To accept this truth requires a tough-mindedness and a spiritual maturity that modern Christians simply do not possess. To face up to it hardly contributes to that "peace of mind" after which our religious weaklings bleat so plaintively.

      For myself, I long ago decided that I would rather know the truth than be happy in ignorance. If I cannot have both truth and happiness, give me truth. We'll have a long time to be happy in heaven.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article155.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 09, 2006, 05:27:25 PM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - On the Origin and Nature of Things
By A.W. Tozer

      THE CELEBRATED PRAYER of the great German astronomer, Kepler, has been a benediction to many: "O God, I thank Thee that Thou hast permitted me to think Thy thoughts after Thee."

      This prayer is theologically sound because it acknowledges the priority of God in the universe. "In the beginning God" is undoubtedly the most important sentence in the Bible. It is in God that all things begin, and all thoughts as well. In the words of Augustine, "But Thou, O Lord, who ever livest, and in whom nothing dies, since before the world was, and, indeed, before all that can be called 'before,' Thou existest, and art the God and Lord of all creatures; and with Thee fixedly abide the causes of all unstable things and the changing sources of all things changeable, and the eternal reasons of all things reasoning and temporal."

      Whatever new thing anyone discovers is already old, for it is 1-tt the present expression of a previous thought of God. The idea of the thing precedes the thing itself; and when things raise thoughts in the thinker's mind these are the ancient thoughts of God, however imperfectly understood.

      When a true thought enters any man's mind, be he saint or sinner, it must of necessity be God's thought, for God is the origin of all true thoughts and things. That is why many real truths are spoken and written by persons other than Christians. Should an atheist, for instance, state that two times two equals four, he would be stating a truth and thinking God's thought after Him, even though he might deny that God exists at all.

      In their search for facts men have confused truths with truth. The words of Christ, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," have been wrenched from their context and used to stir people to the pursuit of knowledge of many kinds with the expectation of being made "free" by knowledge. Certainly this is not what Christ had in mind when He uttered the words.

      Such truths as men discover in the earth beneath and in the astronomic heavens above are properly not truths but facts. We call them truths, as I do here, but they are no more than parts of the jigsaw puzzle of the universe, and when correctly fitted together they provide at least a hint of what the vaster picture is like. But I repeat, they are not truth, and more important, they are not the truth. Were every missing piece discovered and laid in place we would still not have the truth, for the truth is not a composite of thoughts and things. The truth should be spelled with a capital T, for it is nothing less than the Son of God, the Second Person of the blessed Godhead.

      The human mind requires an answer to the question concerning the origin and nature of things. The world as we find it must be accounted for in some way. Philosophers and scientists have sought to account for it, the one by speculation, the other by observation, and in their labors they have come upon many useful and inspiring facts. But they have not found the final Truth. That comes by revelation and illumination.

      They who believe the Christian revelation know that the universe is a creation. It is not eternal, since it had a beginning, and it is not the result of a succession of happy coincidences whereby an all but infinite number of matching parts accidentally found each other, fell into place and began to hum. So to believe would require a degree of credulity few persons possess. "I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoram," said Bacon, "than that this universal frame is without a mind. And therefore God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because His ordinary works convince it."

      Those who have faith are not thrown back upon speculation for the secret of the universe. Faith is an organ of knowledge. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." The voice of Eternal Wisdom declares, "In the beginning God created" and "In the beginning was the Word .... All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

      All things came out of the Word, which in the New Testament means the thought and will of God in active expression and is identified with our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Son who is the Truth that makes men free.

      Not facts, not scientific knowledge, but eternal Truth delivers men, and that eternal Truth became flesh to dwell among us. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

      Not only the origin of things is revealed, but the nature of things as well. Because the origin of all things is spirit, all things are at bottom spiritual also. This is a moral universe; it is governed by moral laws and will be judged by moral laws at last. Man above all creatures possesses moral perception and is answerable to the spiritual laws that pervade and sustain the world. Pure materialism-that is, the doctrine that matter is the primordial constituent of the universe is not natural to the human mind. It requires a chronic violation of our basic instincts to accept it as an explanation of the nature of things. And Paul tells us in the first two chapters of his Epistle to the Romans how men get into a state of mind to accept such falsehood.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article156.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 09, 2006, 05:28:51 PM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - On the Origin and Nature of Things
By A.W. Tozer

      THE CELEBRATED PRAYER of the great German astronomer, Kepler, has been a benediction to many: "O God, I thank Thee that Thou hast permitted me to think Thy thoughts after Thee."

      This prayer is theologically sound because it acknowledges the priority of God in the universe. "In the beginning God" is undoubtedly the most important sentence in the Bible. It is in God that all things begin, and all thoughts as well. In the words of Augustine, "But Thou, O Lord, who ever livest, and in whom nothing dies, since before the world was, and, indeed, before all that can be called 'before,' Thou existest, and art the God and Lord of all creatures; and with Thee fixedly abide the causes of all unstable things and the changing sources of all things changeable, and the eternal reasons of all things reasoning and temporal."

      Whatever new thing anyone discovers is already old, for it is 1-tt the present expression of a previous thought of God. The idea of the thing precedes the thing itself; and when things raise thoughts in the thinker's mind these are the ancient thoughts of God, however imperfectly understood.

      When a true thought enters any man's mind, be he saint or sinner, it must of necessity be God's thought, for God is the origin of all true thoughts and things. That is why many real truths are spoken and written by persons other than Christians. Should an atheist, for instance, state that two times two equals four, he would be stating a truth and thinking God's thought after Him, even though he might deny that God exists at all.

      In their search for facts men have confused truths with truth. The words of Christ, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," have been wrenched from their context and used to stir people to the pursuit of knowledge of many kinds with the expectation of being made "free" by knowledge. Certainly this is not what Christ had in mind when He uttered the words.

      Such truths as men discover in the earth beneath and in the astronomic heavens above are properly not truths but facts. We call them truths, as I do here, but they are no more than parts of the jigsaw puzzle of the universe, and when correctly fitted together they provide at least a hint of what the vaster picture is like. But I repeat, they are not truth, and more important, they are not the truth. Were every missing piece discovered and laid in place we would still not have the truth, for the truth is not a composite of thoughts and things. The truth should be spelled with a capital T, for it is nothing less than the Son of God, the Second Person of the blessed Godhead.

      The human mind requires an answer to the question concerning the origin and nature of things. The world as we find it must be accounted for in some way. Philosophers and scientists have sought to account for it, the one by speculation, the other by observation, and in their labors they have come upon many useful and inspiring facts. But they have not found the final Truth. That comes by revelation and illumination.

      They who believe the Christian revelation know that the universe is a creation. It is not eternal, since it had a beginning, and it is not the result of a succession of happy coincidences whereby an all but infinite number of matching parts accidentally found each other, fell into place and began to hum. So to believe would require a degree of credulity few persons possess. "I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoram," said Bacon, "than that this universal frame is without a mind. And therefore God never wrought miracles to convince atheism, because His ordinary works convince it."

      Those who have faith are not thrown back upon speculation for the secret of the universe. Faith is an organ of knowledge. "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." The voice of Eternal Wisdom declares, "In the beginning God created" and "In the beginning was the Word .... All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

      All things came out of the Word, which in the New Testament means the thought and will of God in active expression and is identified with our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Son who is the Truth that makes men free.

      Not facts, not scientific knowledge, but eternal Truth delivers men, and that eternal Truth became flesh to dwell among us. "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

      Not only the origin of things is revealed, but the nature of things as well. Because the origin of all things is spirit, all things are at bottom spiritual also. This is a moral universe; it is governed by moral laws and will be judged by moral laws at last. Man above all creatures possesses moral perception and is answerable to the spiritual laws that pervade and sustain the world. Pure materialism-that is, the doctrine that matter is the primordial constituent of the universe is not natural to the human mind. It requires a chronic violation of our basic instincts to accept it as an explanation of the nature of things. And Paul tells us in the first two chapters of his Epistle to the Romans how men get into a state of mind to accept such falsehood.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article156.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 11, 2006, 01:38:33 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - Faith: The Misunderstood Doctrine
By A.W. Tozer

      IN THE DIVINE SCHEME OF SALVATION the doctrine of faith is central. God addresses His words to faith, and where no faith is, no true revelation is possible. "Without faith it is impossible to please him."

      Every benefit flowing from the atonement of Christ comes to the individual through the gateway of faith. Forgiveness, cleansing, regeneration, the Holy Spirit, all answers to prayer, are given to faith and received by faith. There is no other way. This is common evangelical doctrine and is accepted wherever the cross of Christ is understood.

      Because faith is so vital to all our hopes, so necessary to the fulfillment of every aspiration of our hearts, we dare take nothing for granted concerning it. Anything that carries with it so much of weal or woe, which indeed decides our heaven or our hell, is too important to neglect. We simply must not allow ourselves to be uninformed or misinformed. We must know.

      For a number of years my heart has been troubled over the doctrine of faith as it is received and taught among evangelical Christians everywhere. Great emphasis is laid upon faith in orthodox circles, and that is good; but still I am troubled. Specifically, my fear is that the modern conception of faith is not the Biblical one; that when the teachers of our day use the word they do not mean what Bible writers meant when they used it.

      The causes of my uneasiness are these:

      1. The lack of spiritual fruit in the lives of so many who claim to have faith.

      2. The rarity of a radical change in the conduct and general outlook of persons professing their new faith in Christ as their personal Saviour.

      3. The failure of our teachers to define or even describe the thing to which the word faith is supposed to refer.

      4. The heartbreaking failure of multitudes of seekers, be they ever so earnest, to make anything out of the doctrine or to receive any satisfying experience through it.

      5. The real danger that a doctrine that is parroted so widely and received so uncritically by so many is false as understood by them.

      6. I have seen faith put forward as a substitute for obedience, an escape from reality, a refuge from the necessity of hard thinking, a hiding place for weak character. I have known people to miscall by the name of faith high animal spirits, natural optimism, emotional thrills and nervous tics.

      7. Plain horse sense ought to tell us that anything that makes no change in the man who professes it makes no difference to God either, and it is an easily observable fact that for countless numbers of persons the change from no-faith to faith makes no actual difference in the life.

      Perhaps it will help us to know what faith is if we first notice what it is not. It is not the 'believing' of a statement we know to be true. The human mind is so constructed that it must of necessity believe when the evidence presented to it is convincing. It cannot help itself. When the evidence fails to convince, no faith is possible. No threats, no punishment, can compel the mind to believe against clear evidence.

      Faith based upon reason is faith of a kind, it is true; but it is not of the character of Bible faith, for it follows the evidence infallibly and has nothing of a moral or spiritual nature in it. Neither can the absence of faith based upon reason be held against anyone, for the evidence, not the individual, decides the verdict. To send a man to hell whose only crime was to follow evidence straight to its proper conclusion would be palpable injustice; to justify a sinner on the grounds that he had made up his mind according to the plain facts would be to make salvation the result of the workings of a common law of the mind as applicable to Judas as to Paul. It would take salvation out of the realm of the volitional and place it in the mental, where, according to the Scriptures, it surely does not belong.

      True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God said it, and if the statement should contradict every one of the five senses and all the conclusions of logic as well, still the believer continues to believe. "Let God be true, but every man a liar," is the language of true faith. Heaven approves such faith because it rises above mere proofs and rests in the bosom of God.

      In recent years among certain evangelicals there has arisen a movement designed to prove the truths of Scriptures by appeal to science. Evidence is sought in the natural world to support supernatural revelation. Snowflakes, blood, stones, strange marine creatures, birds and many other natural objects are brought forward as proof that the Bible is true. This is touted as being a great support to faith, the idea being that if a Bible doctrine can be proved to be true, faith will spring up and flourish as a consequence.

      What these brethren do not see is that the very fact that they feel a necessity to seek proof for the truths of the Scriptures proves something else altogether, namely, their own basic unbelief. When God speaks unbelief asks, "How shall I know that this is true?" I AM THAT I AM is the only grounds for faith. To dig among the rocks or search under the sea for evidence to support the Scriptures is to insult the One who wrote them. Certainly I do not believe that this is done intentionally; but I cannot see how we can escape the conclusion that it is done, nevertheless.

      Faith as the Bible knows it is confidence in God and His Son Jesus Christ; it is the response of the soul to the divine character as revealed in the Scriptures; and even this response is impossible apart from the prior inworking of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift of God to a penitent soul and has nothing whatsoever to do with the senses or the data they afford. Faith is a miracle; it is the ability God gives to trust His Son, and anything that does not result in action in accord with the will of God is not faith but something else short of it.

      Faith and morals are two sides of the same coin. Indeed the very essence of faith is moral. Any professed faith in Christ as personal Saviour that does not bring the life under plenary obedience to Christ as Lord is inadequate and must betray its victim at the last.

      The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is not true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only. Where real repentance is, there is obedience; for repentance is not only sorrow for past failures and sins, it is a determination to begin now to do the will of God as He reveals it to us.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article158.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 11, 2006, 01:39:37 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - Why People Find the Bible Difficult
By A.W. Tozer

      THAT MANY PERSONS FIND THE BIBLE HARD to understand will not be denied by those acquainted with the facts. Testimony to the difficulties encountered in Bible reading is too full and too widespread to be dismissed lightly.

      In human experience there is usually a complex of causes rather than but one cause for everything, and so it is with the difficulty we run into with the Bible. To the question, Why is the Bible hard to understand? no snap answer can be given; the pert answer is sure to be the wrong one. The problem is multiple instead of singular, and for this reason the effort to find a single solution to it will be disappointing.

      In spite of this I venture to give a short answer to the question, and while it is not the whole answer it is a major one and probably contains within itself most of the answers to what must be an involved and highly complex question. 1 believe that we find the Bible difficult because we try to read it as we would read any other book, and it is not the same as any other book.

      The Bible is not addressed to just anybody. Its message is directed to a chosen few. Whether these few are chosen by God in a sovereign act of election or are chosen because they meet certain qualifying conditions I leave to each one to decide as he may, knowing full well that his decision will be determined by his basic beliefs about such matters as predestination, free will, the eternal decrees and other related doctrines. But whatever may have taken place in eternity, it is obvious what happens in time: Some believe and some do not; some are morally receptive and some are not; some have spiritual capacity and some have not. It is to those who do and are and have that the Bible is addressed. Those who do not and are not and have not will read it in vain.

      Right here I expect some readers to enter strenuous objections, and for reasons not hard to find. Chrisianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show.

      The notion that the Bible is addressed to everybody has wrought confusion within and without the church. The effort to apply the teaching of the Sermon

      on the Mount to the unregenerate nations of the world is one example of this. Courts of law and the military powers of the earth are urged to follow the teachings of Christ, an obviously impossible thing for them to do. To quote the words of Christ as guides for policemen, judges and generals is to misunderstand those words completely and to reveal a total lack of understanding of the purposes of divine revelation. The gracious words of Christ are for the sons and daughters of grace, not for the Gentile nations whose chosen symbols are the lion, the eagle, the dragon and the bear.

      Not only does God address His words of truth to those who are able to receive them, He actually conceals their meaning from those who are not. The preacher uses stories to make truth clear; our Lord often used them to obscure it. The parables of Christ were the exact opposite of the modern "illustration," which is meant to give light; the parables were "dark sayings" and Christ asserted that He sometimes used them so that His disciples could understand and His enemies could not. (See Matthew 13:10-17.) As the pillar of fire gave light to Israel but was cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, so our Lord's words shine in the hearts of His people but leave the self-confident unbeliever in the obscurity of moral night.

      The saving power of the Word is reserved for those for whom it is intended. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. The impenitent heart will find the Bible but a skeleton of facts without flesh or life or breath. Shakespeare may be enjoyed without penitence; we may understand Plato without believing a word he says; but penitence and humility along with faith and obedience are necessary to a right understanding of the Scriptures.

      In natural matters faith follows evidence and is impossible without it, but in the realm of the spirit faith precedes understanding; it does not follow it. The natural man must know in order to believe; the spiritual man must believe in order to know. The faith that saves is not a conclusion drawn from evidence; it is a moral thing, a thing of the spirit, a supernatural infusion of confidence in Jesus Christ, a very gift of God.

      The faith that saves reposes in the Person of Christ; it leads at once to a committal of the total being to Christ, an act impossible to the natural man. To believe rightly is as much a miracle as was the coming forth of dead Lazarus at the command of Christ.

      The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article157.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 12, 2006, 12:54:50 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - Faith: The Misunderstood Doctrine
By A.W. Tozer

      IN THE DIVINE SCHEME OF SALVATION the doctrine of faith is central. God addresses His words to faith, and where no faith is, no true revelation is possible. "Without faith it is impossible to please him."

      Every benefit flowing from the atonement of Christ comes to the individual through the gateway of faith. Forgiveness, cleansing, regeneration, the Holy Spirit, all answers to prayer, are given to faith and received by faith. There is no other way. This is common evangelical doctrine and is accepted wherever the cross of Christ is understood.

      Because faith is so vital to all our hopes, so necessary to the fulfillment of every aspiration of our hearts, we dare take nothing for granted concerning it. Anything that carries with it so much of weal or woe, which indeed decides our heaven or our hell, is too important to neglect. We simply must not allow ourselves to be uninformed or misinformed. We must know.

      For a number of years my heart has been troubled over the doctrine of faith as it is received and taught among evangelical Christians everywhere. Great emphasis is laid upon faith in orthodox circles, and that is good; but still I am troubled. Specifically, my fear is that the modern conception of faith is not the Biblical one; that when the teachers of our day use the word they do not mean what Bible writers meant when they used it.

      The causes of my uneasiness are these:

      1. The lack of spiritual fruit in the lives of so many who claim to have faith.

      2. The rarity of a radical change in the conduct and general outlook of persons professing their new faith in Christ as their personal Saviour.

      3. The failure of our teachers to define or even describe the thing to which the word faith is supposed to refer.

      4. The heartbreaking failure of multitudes of seekers, be they ever so earnest, to make anything out of the doctrine or to receive any satisfying experience through it.

      5. The real danger that a doctrine that is parroted so widely and received so uncritically by so many is false as understood by them.

      6. I have seen faith put forward as a substitute for obedience, an escape from reality, a refuge from the necessity of hard thinking, a hiding place for weak character. I have known people to miscall by the name of faith high animal spirits, natural optimism, emotional thrills and nervous tics.

      7. Plain horse sense ought to tell us that anything that makes no change in the man who professes it makes no difference to God either, and it is an easily observable fact that for countless numbers of persons the change from no-faith to faith makes no actual difference in the life.

      Perhaps it will help us to know what faith is if we first notice what it is not. It is not the 'believing' of a statement we know to be true. The human mind is so constructed that it must of necessity believe when the evidence presented to it is convincing. It cannot help itself. When the evidence fails to convince, no faith is possible. No threats, no punishment, can compel the mind to believe against clear evidence.

      Faith based upon reason is faith of a kind, it is true; but it is not of the character of Bible faith, for it follows the evidence infallibly and has nothing of a moral or spiritual nature in it. Neither can the absence of faith based upon reason be held against anyone, for the evidence, not the individual, decides the verdict. To send a man to hell whose only crime was to follow evidence straight to its proper conclusion would be palpable injustice; to justify a sinner on the grounds that he had made up his mind according to the plain facts would be to make salvation the result of the workings of a common law of the mind as applicable to Judas as to Paul. It would take salvation out of the realm of the volitional and place it in the mental, where, according to the Scriptures, it surely does not belong.

      True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God said it, and if the statement should contradict every one of the five senses and all the conclusions of logic as well, still the believer continues to believe. "Let God be true, but every man a liar," is the language of true faith. Heaven approves such faith because it rises above mere proofs and rests in the bosom of God.

      In recent years among certain evangelicals there has arisen a movement designed to prove the truths of Scriptures by appeal to science. Evidence is sought in the natural world to support supernatural revelation. Snowflakes, blood, stones, strange marine creatures, birds and many other natural objects are brought forward as proof that the Bible is true. This is touted as being a great support to faith, the idea being that if a Bible doctrine can be proved to be true, faith will spring up and flourish as a consequence.

      What these brethren do not see is that the very fact that they feel a necessity to seek proof for the truths of the Scriptures proves something else altogether, namely, their own basic unbelief. When God speaks unbelief asks, "How shall I know that this is true?" I AM THAT I AM is the only grounds for faith. To dig among the rocks or search under the sea for evidence to support the Scriptures is to insult the One who wrote them. Certainly I do not believe that this is done intentionally; but I cannot see how we can escape the conclusion that it is done, nevertheless.

      Faith as the Bible knows it is confidence in God and His Son Jesus Christ; it is the response of the soul to the divine character as revealed in the Scriptures; and even this response is impossible apart from the prior inworking of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift of God to a penitent soul and has nothing whatsoever to do with the senses or the data they afford. Faith is a miracle; it is the ability God gives to trust His Son, and anything that does not result in action in accord with the will of God is not faith but something else short of it.

      Faith and morals are two sides of the same coin. Indeed the very essence of faith is moral. Any professed faith in Christ as personal Saviour that does not bring the life under plenary obedience to Christ as Lord is inadequate and must betray its victim at the last.

      The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is not true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only. Where real repentance is, there is obedience; for repentance is not only sorrow for past failures and sins, it is a determination to begin now to do the will of God as He reveals it to us.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article158.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 12, 2006, 11:27:30 PM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - True Religion Is Not Feeling but Willing
By A.W. Tozer

      ONE OF THE PUZZLING QUESTIONS likely to turn up sooner or later to vex the seeking Christian is how he can fulfill the scriptural command to love God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself.

      The earnest Christian, as he meditates on his sacred obligation to love God and mankind, may experience a sense of frustration gendered by the knowledge that he just cannot seem to work up any emotional thrill over his Lord or his brothers. He wants to, but he cannot. The delightful wells of feeling simply will not flow.

      Many honest persons have become discouraged by the absence of religious emotion and concluded that they are not really Christian after all. They conclude that they must have missed the way somewhere back there and their religion is little more than an empty profession. So for a while they belabor themselves for their coldness and finally settle into a state of dull discouragement, hardly knowing what to think. They do believe in God; they do indeed trust Christ as their Saviour, but the love they hoped to feel consistently eludes them. What is the trouble?

      The problem is not a light one. A real difficulty is involved, one which may be stated in the form of a question: How can I love by commandment? Of all the emotions of which the soul is capable, love is by far the freest, the most unreasoning, the one least likely to spring up at the call of duty or obligation, and surely the one that will not come at the command of another. No law has ever been passed that can compel one moral being to love another, for by the very nature of it love must be voluntary. No one can be coerced or frightened into loving anyone. Love just does not come that way. So what are we to do with our Lord's command to love God and our neighbor?

      To find our way out of the shadows and into the cheerful sunlight we need only to know that there are two kinds of love: the love of feeling and the love of willing. The one lies in the emotions, the other in the will. Over the one we may have little control. It comes and goes, rises and falls, flares up and disappears as it chooses, and changes from hot to warm to cool and back to warm again very much as does the weather. Such love was not in the mind of Christ when He told His people to love God and each other. As well command a butterfly to light on our shoulder as to attempt to command this whimsical kind of affection to visit our hearts.

      The love the Bible enjoins is not the love of feeling; it is the love of willing, the willed tendency of the heart. (For these two happy phrases I am indebted to another, a master of the inner life whose pen was only a short time ago stilled by death.)

      God never intended that such a being as man should be the plaything of his feelings. The emotional life is a proper and noble part of the total personality, but it is, by its very nature, of secondary importance. Religion lies in the will, and so does righteousness. The only good that God recognizes is a willed good; the only valid holiness is a willed holiness.

      It should be a cheering thought that before God every man is what he wills to be. The first requirement in conversion is a rectified will. "If any man will," says our Lord, and leaves it there. To meet the requirements of love toward God the soul need but will to love and the miracle begins to blossom like the budding of Aaron's rod.

      The will is the automatic pilot that keeps the soul on course. "Flying is easy," said a friend who flies his own plane. "Just take her up, point her in the direction you want her to go and set the pilot. After that she'll fly herself." While we must not press the figure too far, it is yet blessedly true that the will, not the feelings, determines moral direction.

      The root of all evil in human nature is the corruption of the will. The thoughts and intents of the heart are wrong and as a consequence the whole life is wrong. Repentance is primarily a change of moral purpose, a sudden and often violent reversal of the soul's direction. The prodigal son took his first step upward from the pigsty when he said, "I will arise and go to my father." As he had once willed to leave his father's house, now he willed to return. His subsequent action proved his expressed purpose to be sincere. He did return.

      Someone may infer from the above that we are ruling out the joy of the Lord as a valid part of the Christian life. While no one who reads these columns regularly would be likely to draw such an erroneous conclusion, a chance reader might be led astray; a further word of explanation is therefore indicated:

      To love God with all our heart we must first of all will to do so. We should repent our lack of love and determine from this moment on to make God the object of our devotion. We should set our affections on things above and aim our hearts toward Christ and heavenly things. We should read the Scriptures devotionally every day and prayerfully obey them, always firmly willing to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourself.

      If we do these things we may be sure that we shall experience a wonderful change in our whole inward life. We shall soon find to our great delight that our feelings are becoming less erratic and are beginning to move in the direction of the "willed tendency of the heart." Our emotions will become disciplined and directed. We shall begin to taste the "piercing sweetness" of the love of Christ. Our religious affection will begin to mount evenly on steady wings instead of flitting about idly without purpose or intelligent direction. The whole life, like a delicate instrument, will be tuned to sing the praises of Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.

      But first of all we must will, for the will is master of the heart.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article159.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 14, 2006, 02:29:29 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - How to Make Spiritual Progress
By A.W. Tozer

      THE COMPLACENCY of CHRISTIANS is the scandal of Christianity.

      Time is short, and eternity is long. The end of all things is at hand. Man has proved himself morally unfit to manage the world in which he has been placed by the kindness of the Almighty. He has jockeyed himself to the edge of the crater and cannot go back, and in terrible fear he is holding his breath against the awful moment when he will be plunged into the inferno.

      In the meantime, a company of people exist on the earth who claim to have the answer to all life's major questions. They claim to have found the way back to God, release from their sins, life everlasting and a sure guarantee of heaven in the world to come.

      These are the Christians. They declare that Jesus Christ is very God of very God, made flesh to dwell among us. Thy insist that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. They testify that He is to them Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption, and they steadfastly assert that He will be to them the Resurrection and the Life for eternity to come.

      These Christians know, and when pressed will admit, that their finite hearts have explored but a pitifully small part of the infinite riches that are theirs in Christ Jesus. They read the lives of the great saints whose fervent desire after God carried them far up the mountain toward spiritual perfection; and for a brief moment they may yearn to be like these fiery souls whose light and fragrance still linger in the world where they once lived and labored. But the longing soon passes. The world is too much with them and the claims of their earthly lives are too insistent; so they settle back to live their ordinary lives, and accept the customary as normal. After a while they manage to achieve some kind of inner content and that is the last we hear of them.

      This contentment with inadequate and imperfect progress in the life of holiness is, I repeat, a scandal in the Church of the Firstborn. The whole weight of Scripture is against such a thing. The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to arouse the complacent. "Let us go on" is the word of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul embodies this in his noble testimony as found in his Philippian epistle: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . . . that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection . . . but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

      If we accept this as the sincere expression of a normal Christian I do not see how we can justify our own indifference toward spiritual things. But should someone feel a desire to make definite progress in the life of Christ, what can he do to get on with it? Here are a few suggestions:

      1. Strive to get beyond mere pensive longing. Set your face like a flint and begin to put your life in order. Every man is as holy as he really wants to be. But the want must be all-compelling.

      Tie up the loose ends of your life. Begin to tithe; institute family prayer; pay up your debts as far as possible and make some kind of frank arrangement with every creditor you cannot pay immediately; make restitution as far as you can; set aside time to pray and search the Scriptures; surrender wholly to the will of God. You will be surprised and delighted with the results.

      2. Put away every un-Christian habit from you. If other Christians practice it without compunction, God may be calling you to come nearer to Him than these other Christians care to come. Remember the words, "Others may, you cannot." Do not condemn or criticize, but seek a better way. God will honor you.

      3. Get Christ Himself in the focus of your heart and keep Him there continually. Only in Christ will you find complete fulfillment. In Him you may be united to the Godhead in conscious, vital awareness. Remember that all of God is accessible to you through Christ. Cultivate His knowledge above everything else on earth.

      4. Throw your heart open to the Holy Spirit and invite Him to fill you. He will do it. Let no one interpret the Scriptures for you in such a way as to rule out the Father's gift of the Spirit. Every man is as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. Make your heart a vacuum and the Spirit will rush in to fill it.

      Nowhere in the Scriptures nor in Christian biography was anyone ever filled with the Spirit who did not know that he had been, and nowhere was anyone filled who did not know when. And no one was ever filled gradually.

      5. Be hard on yourself and easy on others. Carry your own cross but never lay one on the back of another. Begin to practice the presence of God. Cultivate the fellowship of the Triune God by prayer, humility, obedience and self-abnegation.

      Let any Christian do these things and he will make rapid spiritual progress. There is every reason why we should all go forward in our Christian lives and no reason why we should not. Let us go on.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article160.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 14, 2006, 02:30:20 AM
Man - The Dwelling Place of God - The Old Cross and the New
By A.W. Tozer

      ALL UNANNOUNCED AND MOSTLY UNDETECTED there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

      From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique-a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

      The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

      The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

      The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner anal jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, "Come and assert yourself for Christ." To the egotist it says, "Come and do your boasting in the Lord." To the thrillseeker it says, "Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship." The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

      The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

      The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

      The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

      That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

      We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

      God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God's just sentence against him.

      What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

      Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

      To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul's day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God's approval.

      Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article161.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 15, 2006, 07:10:20 PM
There Is No Wisdom in Sin
By A.W. Tozer

      THE WORLD HAS DIVIDED MEN into two classes, the stupid good people and the clever wicked ones.

      This false classification runs through much of the literature of the last centuries from the classics to the comic strip, from Shakespeare's Polomus, who furnished his son with a set of good but dull moral platitudes, to Capp's Li'l Abner, who would never knowingly do a wrong act but who would rather fall on his head than on his feet because there is more feeling in his feet than in his head.

      In the Holy Scriptures things are quite the opposite. There righteousness is always associated with wisdom and evil with folly. Whatever other factors may be present in an act of wrongdoing, folly is one that is never absent. To do a wrong act a man must for the moment think wrong; he must exercise bad judgment.

      If this is true then the devil is creation's prime fool, for when he gambled on his ability to unseat the Almighty he was guilty of an act of judgment so bad as to be imbecilic, He is said to have had a great amount of wisdom, but his wisdom must have deserted him at the time of his first sin, for surely he grossly underestimated the power of God and as grossly overestimated his own. The devil is not now pictured in the Scriptures as wise, only as shrewd. We are warned not against his wisdom but against his wiles, something very different.

      Sin, I repeat, in addition to anything else it may be, is always an act of wrong judgment. To commit a sin a man must for the moment believe that things are different from what they really are; he must confound values; he must see the moral universe out of focus; he must accept a lie as truth and see truth as a lie; he must ignore the signs on the highway and drive with his eyes shut; he must act as if he had no soul and was not accountable for his moral choices.

      Sin is never a thing to be proud of. No act is wise that ignores remote consequences, and sin always does. Sin sees only today, or at most tomorrow; never the day after tomorrow, next month or next year. Death and judgment are pushed aside as if they did not exist and the sinner becomes for the time a practical atheist who by his act denies not only the existence of God but the concept of life after death.

      History is replete with examples of men whose intellectual powers were great but whose practical judgment was almost nil: Einstein, for instance, who was a mathematical genius but who could not look after his own bank account and who absentmindedly ran his little motorboat aground with the excuse that he "must have been thinking about something else." We can smile at this, but there is nothing humorous about that other class of men who had brilliant minds but whose moral judgment was sadly awry. To this class belong such men as Lucretius, Voltaire, Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman and thousands of others whose names are less widely known.

      The notion that the careless sinner is the smart fellow and the serious-minded Christian, though well-intentioned, is a stupid dolt altogether out of touch with life will not stand up under scrutiny. Sin is basically an act of moral folly, and the greater the folly the greater the fool.

      It is time the young people of this generation learned that there is nothing smart about wrongdoing and nothing stupid about righteousness. We must stop negotiating with evil. We Christians must stop apologizing for our moral position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin for the enemy of the human race which it surely is, and setting forth righteousness and true holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings.

      The idea that sin is modern is false. There has not been a new sin invented since the beginning of recorded history. That new vice breaks out to horrify decent citizens and worry the police is not really new. Flip open that book written centuries ago and you will find it described there. The reckless sinner trying to think of some new way to express his love of iniquity can do no more than imitate others like himself, now long dead. He is not the bright rebel he fancies himself to be but a weak and stupid fellow who must follow along in the long parade of death toward the point of no return.

      If the hoary head is a crown of glory when it is found in the way of righteousness, it is a fool's cap when it is found in the way of sin. An old sinner is an awesome and frightening spectacle. One feels about him much as one feels about the condemned man on his way to the gallows. A sense of numb terror and shock fills the heart. The knowledge that the condemned man was once a redcheeked boy only heightens the feeling, and the knowledge that the aged rebel now beyond reclamation once went up to the house of God on a Sunday morning to the sweet sound of church bells makes even the trusting Christian humble and a little bit scared. There but for the grace of God goes he.

      I am among those who believe that our Western civilization is on its way to perishing. It has many commendable qualities, most of which it has borrowed from the Christian ethic, but it lacks the element of moral wisdom that would give it permanence. Future historians will record that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/articles.cgi?article=162)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 17, 2006, 08:02:19 PM
Three Degrees of Religious Knowledge
By A.W. Tozer

      IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF DIVINE THINGS three degrees may be distinguished: the knowledge furnished by reason, by faith and by spiritual experience respectively.

      These three degrees of knowledge correspond to the departments of the tabernacle in the ancient Levitical order: the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies.

      Far in, beyond the "second veil," was the holiest of all, having as its lone piece of furniture the Ark of the Covenant with the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat. There between the outstretched wings dwelt in awesome splendor the fire of God's presence, the Shekmah. No light of nature reached that sacred place, only the pure radiance of Him who is light and in whom there is no darkness at all. To that solemn Presence no one could approach except the high priest once each year with blood of atonement.

      Farther out, and separated by a heavy veil, was the holy place, a sacred place indeed but removed from the Presence and always accessible to the priests of Israel. Here also the light of sun and moon was excluded; light was furnished by the shining of the seven golden candlesticks.

      The court of the priests was out farther still, a large enclosure in which were the brazen altar and the lavar. This was open to the sky and received the normal light of nature.

      All was of God and all was divine, but the quality of the worshipper's knowledge became surer and more sublime as he moved in from the outer court toward the mercy seat and the Presence, where at last he was permitted to gaze upon the cherubim of glory and the deep burning Fire that glowed between their outstretched wings.

      All this illustrates if it does not typify the three degrees of knowledge possible to a Christian. It is not proper that we should press every detail in an effort to find in the beautiful Old Testament picture more than is actually there; but the most cautious expositor could hardly object to our using the earthly and external to throw into relief the internal and the heavenly.

      Nature is a great teacher and at her feet we may learn much that is good and ennobling. The Bible itself teaches this: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." "Behold the fowls of the air." "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." Reason working on data furnished by observation of natural objects tells us a lot about God and spiritual things. This is too obvious to require proof. Everyone knows it.

      But there is knowledge beyond and above that furnished by observation; it is knowledge received by faith. "In religion faith plays the part by experience in the things of the world." Divine revelation through the inspired Scriptures offers data which lie altogether outside of and above the power of the mind to discover. The mind can make its deductions after it has received these data by faith, but it cannot find them by itself. No technique is known to man by which he can learn, for instance, that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth or that there are three Persons in the Godhead; that God is love or that Christ died for sinners, or that He now sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. If we ever come to know these things it must be by receiving as true a body of doctrine which we have no way of verifying. This is the knowledge of faith.

      There is yet a purer knowledge than this; it is knowledge by direct spiritual experience. About it there is an immediacy that places it beyond doubt. Since it was not acquired by reason operating on intellectual data, the possibility of error is eliminated. Through the indwelling Spirit the human spirit is brought into immediate contact with higher spiritual reality. It looks upon, tastes, feels and sees the powers of the world to come and has a conscious encounter with God invisible.

      Let it be understood that such knowledge is experienced rather than acquired. It does not consist of findings about something; it is the thing itself. It is not a compound of religious truths. It is an element which cannot be separated into parts. One who enjoys this kind of knowledge is able to understand the exhortation in the Book of Job: "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." To such a man God is not a conclusion drawn from evidence nor is He the sum of what the Bible teaches about Him. He knows God in the last irreducible meaning of the word know. It may almost be said that God happened to him.

      Maybe Christ said all this more simply in John 14:21: "I . . . will manifest myself to him." For what have we been laboring here but the sublimely simple New Testament teaching that the Triune God wills to dwell in the redeemed man's heart, constantly making His presence known? What on earth or in heaven above can be a greater beatitude?

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/articles.cgi?article=163)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 19, 2006, 02:11:53 AM
The Sanctification of the Secular
By A.W. Tozer

      THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES that all things are pure to the pure, and I think we may assume that to the evil man all things are evil. The thing itself is not good or bad; goodness or badness belongs to human personality.

      Everything depends upon the state of our interior lives and our heart's relation to God. The man that walks with God will see and know that for him there is no strict line separating the sacred from the secular. He will acknowledge that there lies around him a world of created things that are innocent in themselves; and he will know, too, that there are a thousand human acts that are neither good nor bad except as they may be done by good or bad men. The busy world around us is filled with work, travel, marrying, rearing our young, burying our dead, buying, selling, sleeping, eating and mixing in common social intercourse with our fellowmen.

      These activities and all else that goes to fill up our days are usually separated in our minds from prayer, church attendance and such specific religious acts as are performed by ministers most of the week and by laymen briefly once or twice weekly.

      Because the vast majority of men engage in the complicated business of living while trusting wholly in themselves, without reference to God or redemption, we Christians have come to call these common activities "secular" and to attribute to them at least a degree of evil, an evil which is not inherent in them and which they do not necessarily possess.

      The Apostle Paul teaches that every simple act of our lives may be sacramental. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." And again, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

      Some of the great saints, who were great because they took such admonitions seriously and sought to practice them, managed to achieve the sanctification of the secular, or perhaps I should say the abolition of the secular. Their attitude toward life's common things raised those above the common and imparted to them an aura of divinity. These pure souls broke down the high walls that separated the various areas of their lives from each other and saw all as one; and that one they offered to God as a holy oblation acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

      Nicholas Herman (Brother Lawrence) made his most common act one of devotion: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer," he said, "and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

      Francis of Assisi accepted the whole creation as his house of worship and called upon everything great and small to join him in adoration of the Godhead. Mother earth, the burning sun, the silver moon, the stars of evening, wind, water, flowers, fruits-all were invited to praise with him their God and King. Hardly a spot was left that could be called secular. The whole world glowed like Moses' bush with the light of God, and before it the saint kneeled and removed his shoes.

      Thomas Traherne, the seventeenth century Christian writer, declared that the children of the King can never enjoy the world aright till every morning they wake up in heaven, see themselves in the Father's palace, and look upon the skies, the earth and the air as celestial joys, having such a reverent esteem for all as if they were among the angels.

      All this is not to ignore the fall of man nor to deny the presence of sin in the world. No believing man can deny the Fall, as no observing man can deny the reality of sin; and as far as I know no responsible thinker has ever held that sin could ever be made other than sinful, whether by prayer or faith or spiritual ministrations. Neither the inspired writers of Holy Scripture nor those illuminated souls who have based their teachings upon those Scriptures have tried to make sin other than exceedingly sinful. It is possible to recognize the sacredness of all things even while admitting that for the time the mystery of sin worketh in the children of disobedience and the whole creation groaneth and travaileth, waiting for the manifestation of the children of God.

      Traherne saw the apparent contradiction and explained it: "To contemn the world and to enjoy the world are things contrary to each other. How can we contemn the world, which we are born to enjoy? Truly there are two worlds. One was made by God, and the other by men. That made by God was great and beautiful. Before the Fall it was Adam's joy and the temple of his glory. That made by men is a Babel of confusions: invented riches, pomps and vanities, brought in by sin. Give all (saith Thomas a Kempis) for all. Leave the one that you may enjoy the other."

      Such souls as these achieved the sanctification of the secular. The church today is suffering from the secularization of the sacred. By accepting the world's values, thinking its thoughts and adopting its ways we have dimmed the glory that shines overhead. We have not been able to bring earth to the judgment of heaven so we have brought heaven to the judgment of the earth. Pity us, Lord, for we know not what we do!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article164.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 20, 2006, 02:48:17 AM
 God Must Be Loved for Himself
By A.W. Tozer

      GOD BEING WHO HE is must always be sought for Himself, never as a means toward something else.

      Whoever seeks other objects and not God is on his own; he may obtain those objects if he is able, but he will never have God. God is never found accidentally. "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13) .

      Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. The mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all or He will be nothing. God will not be used. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in their selfish striving after personal gain. He will not help men to attain ends which, when attained, usurp the place He by every right should hold in their interest and affection.

      Yet popular Christianity has as one of its most effective talking points the idea that God exists to help people to get ahead in this world. The God of the poor has become the God of an affluent society. Christ no longer refuses to be a judge or a divider between money hungry brothers. He can now be persuaded to assist the brother that has accepted Him to get the better of the brother who has not.

      A crass example of the modern effort to use God for selfish purposes is the well-known comedian who, after repeated failures, promised someone he called God that if He would help him to make good in the entertainment world he would repay Him by giving generously to the care of sick children. Shortly afterward he hit the big time in the night clubs and on television. He has kept his word and is raising large sums of money to build children's hospitals. These contributions to charity, he feels, are a small price to pay for a success in one of the sleaziest fields of human endeavor.

      One might excuse the act of this entertainer as something to be expected of a twentieth century pagan; but that multitudes of evangelicals in North America should actually believe that God had anything to do with the whole business is not so easily overlooked. This low and false view of Deity is one major reason for the immense popularity God enjoys these days among well-fed Westerners.

      The teaching of the Bible is that God is Himself the end for which man was created. "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" cried the psalmist, "and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Psa. 73: 25) . The first and greatest commandment is to love God with every power of our entire being. Where love like that exists there can be no place for a second object. If we love God as much as we should surely we cannot dream of a loved object beyond Him which He might help us to obtain.

      Bernard of Clairvaux begins his radiant little treatise on the love of God with a question and an answer. The question, Why should we love God? The answer, Because He is God. He develops the idea further, but for the enlightened heart little more need be said. We should love God because He is God. Beyond this the angels cannot think.

      Being who He is, God is to be loved for His own sake. He is the reason for our loving Him, just as He is the reason for His loving us and for every other act He has performed, is performing and will perform world without end. God's primary reason for everything is His own good pleasure. The search for secondary reasons is gratuitous and mostly futile. It affords occupation for theologians and adds pages to books on doctrine, but that it ever turns up any true explanations is doubtful.

      But it is the nature of God to share. His mighty acts of creation and redemption were done for His good pleasure, but His pleasure extends to all created things. One has but to look at a healthy child at play or listen to the song of a bird at sundown and he will know that God meant His universe to be a joyful one.

      Those who have been spiritually enabled to love God for Himself will find a thousand fountains springing up from the rainbowcircled throne and bringing countless treasures which are to be received with reverent thanksgiving as being the overflow of God's love for His children. Each gift is a bonus of grace which because it was not sought for itself may be enjoyed without injury to the soul. These include the simple blessings of life, such as health, a home, a family, congenial friends, food, shelter, the pure joys of nature or the more artificial pleasures of music and art.

      The effort to find these treasures by direct search apart from God has been the major activity of mankind through the centuries; and this has been man's burden and man's woe. The effort to gain them as the ulterior motive back of accepting Christ may be something new under the sun; but new or old it is an evil that can only bring judgment at last.

      God wills that we should love Him for Himself alone with no hidden reasons, trusting Him to be to us all our natures require. Our Lord said all this much better: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33) .

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article165.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 20, 2006, 02:49:10 AM
True Faith Is Active. Not Passive
By A.W. Tozer

      A CHRISTIAN IS ONE WHO BELIEVES on Jesus Christ as Lord. With this statement every evangelical agrees. Indeed there would appear to be nothing else to do, since the New Testament is crystal clear about the matter.

      This first acknowledgment of Christ as Lord and Saviour is usually followed by baptism and membership in a Protestant church, the one because it satisfies a craving for fellowship with others of like mind. A few Christians shy away from organized religion, but the vast majority, while they recognize the imperfections of the churches, nevertheless feel that they can serve their Lord better in the church than out of it.

      There is, however, one serious flaw in all this: it is that manywould I overstate the case if I said the majority?-of those who confess their faith in Christ and enter into association with the community of believers have little joy in their hearts, no peace in their minds, and from all external appearances are no better morally than the ordinary educated citizen who takes no interest whatever in religion and, of course, makes no profession of Christianity. Why is this?

      I believe it is the result of an inadequate concept of Christianity and an imperfect understanding of the revolutionary character of Christian discipleship.

      Certainly there is nothing new in my conclusion. The evangelists are loud in their lamentation over the bodies of dead church members, as well they might be, and many thoughtful articles and books appear from time to time dealing with the serious hiatus between faith and practice among Christians.

      Why then add another feeble voice to the many? Because many who lament the condition do not seem to know what to do about it, and because I believe that the way is plain, if hard, and that there is no excuse for going on at this poor dying rate when we can enjoy abundant life in Christ Jesus. True faith brings a spiritual and moral transformation and an inward witness that cannot be mistaken. These come when we stop believing in belief and start believing in the Lord Jesus Christ indeed.

      True faith is not passive but active. It requires that we meet certain conditions, that we allow the teachings of Christ to dominate our total lives from the moment we believe. The man of saving faith must be willing to be different from others. The effort to enjoy the benefits of redemption while enmeshed in the world is futile. We must choose one or the other; and faith quickly makes its choice, one from which there is no retreat.

      The change experienced by a truly converted man is equal to that of a man moving to another country. The regenerated soul feels no more at home in the world than Abraham felt when he left Ur of the Chaldees and set out for the land of promise. Apart from his own small company he was a stranger to everyone around him. He was called "Abraham the Hebrew," and if he spoke the language of the people among whom he took up his dwelling place, he spoke it with an accent. They all knew that he was not one of them.

      This journey from Ur to Bethel is taken by every soul that sets out to follow Christ. It is. however, not a journey for the feet but for the heart. The newborn Christian is a migrant; he has come into the kingdom of God from his old home in the kingdom of man and he must get set for the violent changes that will inevitably follow.

      One of the first changes will be a shift of interest from earth to heaven, from men to God, from time to eternity, from earthly gain to Christ and His eternal kingdom. Suddenly, or slowly but surely, he will develop a new pattern of life. Old things will pass away and behold, all things will become new, first inwardly and then outwardly; for the change within him will soon begin to express itself by corresponding changes in his manner of living.

      The transformation will show itself in many ways and his former friends will begin to worry about him. At first they will tease him and then chide him; and if he persists in his determination to follow Christ they may begin to oppose and persecute. The onceborn never understand the twice-born, and still after thousands of years Cain hates Abel and Esau threatens Jacob. It is as true today as it was in Bible times that the man who hates his sins too much will get into trouble with those who do not hate sin enough. People resent having their friends turn away from them and by implication condemn their way of life.

      The change will reveal itself further in what the new Christian reads, in the places he goes and the friends he cultivates, what he does with his time and how he spends his money. Indeed faith leaves no area of the new believer's life unaffected.

      The genuinely renewed man will have a new life center. He will experience a new orientation affecting his whole personality. He will become aware of a different philosophic outlook. Things he once held to be of value may suddenly lose all their attraction for him and he may even hate some things he formerly loved.

      The man who recoils from this revolutionary kind of Christianity is retreating before the cross. But thousands do so retreat, and they try to make things right by seeking baptism and church membership. No wonder they are so dissatisfied.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article166.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 21, 2006, 03:14:40 AM
On Taking Too Much for Granted
By A.W. Tozer

      ONCE MARY AND JOSEPH, with a number of friends and relatives, were traveling back home from Jerusalem and, supposing the young Jesus to be in the company, went a whole day's journey before discovering that He had been left behind.

      Their fault was that they assumed that what they wanted to believe was so in fact. They took too much for granted. A simple check at the start of the journey would have saved them a harrowing experience of fear and uncertainty and two days' unnecessary travel.

      Theirs was a pardonable fault and one that we ourselves are in great danger of committing. The whole company of evangelicals is traveling home supposing things, some of which may not be true. We had better check before we go any further. Our failure to do so could have more serious consequences than those suffered by Mary and Joseph. It could lead straight to tragedy.

      There is danger that we take Christ for granted. We "suppose" that because we hold New Testament beliefs we are therefore New Testament Christians; but it does not follow. The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.

      We may, for instance, assume that salvation is possible without repentance. Pardon without penitence is a delusion which simple honesty requires that we expose for what it is. To be forgiven, a sin must be forsaken. This accords with the Scriptures, with common logic and with the experience of the saints of all ages.

      We are also in danger of assuming the value of religion without righteousness. Through the various media of public communication we are being pressured into believing that religion 'is little more than a beautiful thing capable of bringing courage and peace of mind to a troubled world. Let us resist this effort at brainwashing. The purpose of Christ's redeeming work was to make it possible for bad men to become gooddeeply, radically and finally. God translates men out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love. To believe that such translated men must still dwell in darkness is a reflection on the blood of Christ and the wisdom of God.

      In spite of all that James said to the contrary, we are still likely to take for granted that faith without works does somehow have a mystic value after all. But "faith worketh by love," said Paul, and where the works of love are absent we can only conclude that faith is absent also. Faith in faith has displaced faith in God in too many places.

      A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to "accept" Christ without forsaking the world. But what saith the Holy Ghost? "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4), and "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (I John 2:15) . This requires no comment, only obedience.

      We may also erroneously assume that we can experience justification without transformation. Justification and regeneration are not the same; they may be thought apart in theology but they can never be experienced apart in fact. When God declares a man righteous He instantly sets about to make him righteous. Our error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man, and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians. A revival is among other things a return to the belief that real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of life.

      Again, we may go astray by assuming that we can do spiritual work without spiritual power. I have heard the notion seriously advanced that whereas once to win men to Christ it was necessary to have a gift from the Holy Spirit, now religious movies make it possible for anyone to win souls, without such spiritual anointing! "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." Surely such a notion is madness, but until now I have not heard it challenged among the evangelicals.

      David Brainerd once compared a man without the power of the Spirit trying to do spiritual work to a workman without fingers attempting to do manual labor. The figure is striking but it does not overstate the facts. The Holy Spirit is not a luxury meant to make deluxe Christians, as an illuminated frontispiece and a leather binding make a deluxe book. The Spirit is an imperative necessity. Only the Eternal Spirit can do eternal deeds.

      Without exhausting the list of things wrongly taken for granted I would mention one more: Millions take for granted that it is possible to live for Christ without first having died with Christ. This is a serious error and we dare not leave it unchallenged.

      The victorious Christian has known two lives. The first was his life in Adam which was motivated by the carnal mind and can never please God in any way. It can never be converted; it can only die (Rom. 8:5-8).

      The second life of the Christian is his new life in Christ (Rom. 6:114). To live a Christian life with the life of Adam is wholly impossible. Yet multitudes take for granted that it can be done and go on year after year in defeat. And worst of all they accept this half-dead condition as normal.

      For our own soul's sake, let's not take too much for granted.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article167.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 21, 2006, 03:15:25 AM
The Cure for a Fretful Spirit
By A.W. Tozer

      THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PSALM 37 admonishes us to beware of irritation in our religious lives:

      "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity."

      The word "fret" comes to us from the Anglo-Saxon and carries with it such a variety of meanings as bring a rather pained smile to our faces. Notice how they expose us and locate us behind our disguises. The primary meaning of the word is to eat, and from there it has been extended with rare honesty to cover most of the manifestations of an irritable disposition. "To eat away; to gnaw; to chafe; to gall; to vex; to worry; to agitate; to wear away"; so says Webster, and all who have felt the exhausting, corrosive effects of fretfulness know how accurately the description fits the facts.

      Now, the grace of God in the human heart works to calm the agitation that normally accompanies life in such a world as ours. The Holy Spirit acts as a lubricant to reduce the friction to a minimum and to stop the fretting and chafing in their grosser phases. But for most of us the problem is not as simple as that.

      Fretfulness may be trimmed down to the ground and its roots remain alive deep within the soul, there growing and extending themselves all unsuspected, sending up their old poisonous shoots under other names and other appearances.

      It was not to the unregenerate that the words "Fret not" were spoken, but to God-fearing persons capable of understanding spiritual things. We Christians need to watch and pray lest we fall into this temptation and spoil our Christian testimony by an irritable spirit under the stress and strain of life.

      It requires great care and a true knowledge of ourselves to distinguish a spiritual burden from religious irritation. We cannot close our minds to everything that is happening around us. We dare not rest at ease in Zion when the church is so desperately in need of spiritually sensitive men and women who can see her faults and try to call her back to the path of righteousness. The prophets and apostles of Bible times carried in their hearts such crushing burdens for God's wayward people that they could say, "Tears have been my meat day and night," and "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain. of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain daughter of my people!" These men were heavy with a true burden. What they felt was not vexation but acute concern for the honor of God and the souls of men.

      By nature some persons fret easily. They have difficulty separating their personal antipathies from the burden of the Spirit. When they are grieved they can hardly say whether it is a pure and charitable thing or merely irritation set up by other Christians having opinions different from their own.

      Of one thing we may be sure, we can never escape the external stimuli that cause vexation. The world is full of them and though we were to retreat to a cave and live the remainder of our days alone we still could not lose them. The rough floor of our cave would chafe us, the weather would irritate us and the very silence would cause us to fret.

      Deliverance from a fretting spirit may be by blood and fire, by humility, self-abnegation and a patient carrying of the cross. There will always be "evildoers" and "workers of iniquity," and for the most part they will appear to succeed while the forces of righteousness will seem to fail. The wicked will always have the money and the talent and the publicity and the numbers, while the righteous will be few and poor and unknown. The prayerless Christian will surely misread the signs and fret against the circumstances. That is what the Spirit warns us against.

      Let us look out calmly upon the world; or better yet, let us look down upon it from above where Christ is seated and we are seated in Him. Though the wicked spread himself like "a green bay tree" it is only for a moment. Soon he passes away and is not. "But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble." This knowledge should cure the fretting spirit.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article168.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 21, 2006, 03:16:37 AM
Boasting or Belittling
By A.W. Tozer

      WE ALL know how painful it is to be forced to listen to a confirmed boaster sound off on his favorite topic - himself. To be the captive of such a man even for a short time tries our patience to the utmost and puts a heavy strain upon our Christian charity.

      Boasting is particularly offensive when it is heard among the children of God, the one place above all others where it should never be found. Yet it is quite common among Christians, though disguised somewhat by the use of the stock expression, "I say this to the glory of God."

      Some boasters appear to feel a bit self-conscious, and apologize meekly for their outbursts of self-praise. Others have accepted themselves as being all their doting relatives and friends claim they are, and habitually speak of themselves in reverent terms, as if their superiority was a matter of common knowledge too well established to require proof. Such a one was the concert singer who replied to a glowing compliment after a performance, "Well, what did you expect?"

      God is very patient with His children and often tolerates in them carnal traits so gross as to shock their fellow Christians. But that is only for a while. As more light comes to our hearts, and especially as we go on to new and advanced spiritual experiences, God begins to impose disciplines upon us to purge us from the same faults He tolerated before. Then He permits us to say and do things that react unfavorably against us and expose our vanity for what it is. It may then happen in the providential will of God that the very gift we have boasted of may be lost to us or the project we are so proud of will fail. After we have learned our lesson the Lord may restore what He has taken away, for He is more concerned with our souls than with our service. But sometimes our boasting permanently hurts us and excludes us from blessings we might have enjoyed.

      Another habit not quite so odious is belittling ourselves. This might seem to be the exact opposite of boasting, but actually it is the same old sin traveling under a nom de plume. It is simply egoism trying to act spiritual. It is impatient Saul hastily offering an unacceptable sacrifice to the Lord.

      Self-derogation is bad for the reason that self must be there to derogate. Self, whether swaggering or groveling, can never be anything but hateful to God.

      Boasting is an evidence that we are pleased with self; belittling, that we are disappointed in it. Either way we reveal that we have a high opinion of ourselves. The belittler is chagrined that one as obviously superior as he should not have done better, and he punishes himself by making uncomplimentary remarks about himself. That he does not really mean what he says may be proved quite easily. Let someone else say the same things. His eager defense of himself will reveal how he feels and has secretly felt all the time.

      The victorious Christian neither exalts nor downgrades himself. His interests have shifted from self to Christ. What he is or is not no longer concerns him. He believes that he has been crucified with Christ and he is not willing either to praise or deprecate such a man.

      Yet the knowledge that he has been crucified is only half the victory. "Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Christ is now where the man's ego was formerly. The man is now Christ-centered instead of self-centered, and he forgets himself in his delighted preoccupation with Christ.

      Candor compels me to acknowledge that it is a lot easier to write about this than it is to live it. Self is one of the toughest plants that grows in the garden of life. It is, in fact, indestructible by any human means. Just when we are sure it is dead it turns up somewhere as robust as ever to trouble our peace and poison the fruit of our lives.

      Yet there is deliverance. When our judicial crucifixion becomes actual the victory is near; and when our faith rises to claim the risen life of Christ as our own the triumph is complete. The trouble is that we do not receive the benefits of all this until something radical has happened in our own experience, something which in its psychological effects approaches actual crucifixion. What Christ went through we also must go through. Rejection, surrender, loss, a violent detachment from the world, the pain of social ostracism - all must be felt in our actual experience.

      Where we have failed is in the practical application of the teaching concerning the crucified life. Too many have been content to be armchair Christians, satisfied with the theology of the cross. Plainly Christ never intended that we should rest in a mere theory of self-denial. His teaching identified His disciples with Himself so intimately that they would have had to be extremely dull not to have understood that they were expected to experience very much the same pain and loss as He Himself did.

      The healthy soul is the victorious soul and victory never comes while self is permitted to remain unjudged and uncrucified. While we boast or belittle we may be perfectly sure that the cross has not yet done its work within us. Faith and obedience will bring the cross into the life and cure both habits.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article169.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 22, 2006, 12:19:50 AM
The Communion of Saints
By A.W. Tozer

      "I believe in the communion of saints."-Apostles' Creed

      THESE WORDS WERE WRITTEN into the creed about the middle of the fifth century.

      It would be difficult if not altogether impossible for us at this late date to know exactly what was in the minds of the Church Fathers who introduced the words into the creed, but in the Book of Acts we have a description of the first Christian communion: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      Here is the original apostolic fellowship, the pattern after which every true Christian communion must be modelled.

      The word "fellowship," in spite of its abuses, is still a beautiful and meaningful word. When rightly understood it means the same as the word "communion," that is, the act and condition of sharing together in some common blessing by numbers of persons. The communion of saints, then, means an intimate and loving sharing together of certain spiritual blessings by persons who are on an equal footing before the blessing in which they share. This fellowship must include every member of the Church of God from Pentecost to this present moment and on to the end of the age.

      Now, before there can be communion there must be union. The sharers are one in a sense altogether above organization, nationality, race or denomination. That oneness is a divine thing, achieved by the Holy Spirit in the act of regeneration. Whoever is born of God is one with everyone else who is born of God. Just as gold is always gold, wherever and in whatever shape it is found, and every detached scrap of gold belongs to the true family and is composed of the same element, so every regenerate soul belongs to the universal Christian community and to the fellowship of the saints.

      Every redeemed soul is born out of the same spiritual life as every other redeemed soul and partakes of the divine nature in exactly the same manner. Each one is thus made a member of the Christian community and a sharer in everything which that community enjoys. This is the true communion of saints. But to know this is not enough. If we would enter into the power of it we must exercise ourselves in this truth; we must practice thinking and praying with the thought that we are members of the Body of Christ and brothers to all the ransomed saints living and dead who have believed on Christ and acknowledged Him as Lord.

      We have said that the communion of saints is a fellowship, a sharing in certain divinely given things by divinely called persons. Now, what are those things?

      The first and most important is life-"the life of God in the soul of man," to borrow a phrase from Henry Scougal. This life is the basis of everything else which is given and shared. And that life is nothing else than God Himself. It should be evident that there can be no true Christian sharing unless there is first an impartation of life. An organization and a name do not make a church. One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.

      The apostolic fellowship is also a fellowship of truth. The inclusiveness of the fellowship must always be held along with the exclusiveness of it. Truth brings into its gracious circle all who admit and accept the Bible as the source of all truth and the Son of God as the Saviour of men. But there dare be no weak compromise with the facts, no sentimental mouthing of the old phrases: "We are all headed for the same place .... Each one is seeking in his own way to please the Father and make heaven his home." The truth makes men free, and the truth will bind and loose, will open and shut, will include and exclude at its high will without respect to persons. To reject or deny the truth of the Word is to exclude ourselves from the apostolic communion.

      Now, someone may ask, "What is the truth of which you speak? Is my fate to depend upon Baptist truth or Presbyterian truth or Anglican truth, or all of these or none of these? To know the communion of saints must I believe in Calvinism or Armimanism? In the Congregational or the Episcopal form of church government? Must I interpret prophecy in accord with the pre-millenarians or the post-millenarians? Must I believe in immersion or sprinkling or pouring?" The answer to all this is easy. The confusion is only apparent, not actual.

      The early Christians, under the fire of persecution, driven from place to place, sometimes deprived of the opportunity for careful instruction in the faith, wanted a "rule" which would sum up all that they must believe to assure their everlasting welfare. Out of this critical need arose the creeds. Of the many, the Apostles' Creed is the best known and best loved, and has been reverently repeated by the largest number of believers through the centuries. And for millions of good men that creed contains the essentials of truth. Not all truths, to be sure, but the heart of all truth. It served in trying days as a kind of secret password that instantly united men to each other when passed from lip to lip by the followers of the Lamb. It is fair to say, then, that the truth shared by saints in the apostolic fellowship is the same truth which is outlined for convenience in the Apostles' Creed.

      In this day when the truth of Christianity is under serious fire from so many directions it is most important that we know what we believe and that we guard it carefully. But in our effort to interpret and expound the Holy Scriptures in accord with the ancient faith of all Christians, we should remember that a seeking soul may find salvation through the blood of Christ while yet knowing little of the fuller teachings of Christian theology. We must, therefore, admit to our fellowship every sheep who has heard the voice of the Shepherd and has tried to follow Him.

      The beginner in Christ who has not yet had time to learn much Christian truth and the underprivileged believer who has had the misfortune to be brought up in a church where the Word has been neglected from the pulpit, are very much in the same situation. Their faith grasps only a small portion of truth, and their "sharing" is necessarily limited to the small portion they grasp. The important thing, however, is that the little bit they do enjoy is real truth. It may be no more than this, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"; but if they walk in the light of that much truth, no more is required to bring them into the circle of the blessed and to constitute them true members of the apostolic fellowship.

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 22, 2006, 12:20:22 AM
      Then, true Christian communion consists in the sharing of a Presence. This is not poetry merely, but a fact taught in bold letters in the New Testament.

      God has given us Himself in the Person of His Son. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." The immanence of God in His universe makes possible the enjoyment of the "real Presence" by the saints of God in heaven and on earth simultaneously. Wherever they may be, He is present to them in the fullness of His Godhead.

      I do not believe that the Bible teaches the possibility of communication between the saints on earth and those in heaven. But while there cannot be communication, there most surely can be communion. Death does not tear the individual believer from his place in the Body of Christ. As in our human bodies each member is nourished by the same blood which at once gives life and unity to the entire organism, so in the Body of Christ the quickening Spirit flowing through every part gives life and unity to the whole. Our Christian brethren who have gone from our sight retain still their place in the universal fellowship. The Church is one, whether waking or sleeping, by a unity of life forevermore.

      The most important thing about the doctrine of the communion of saints is its practical effects on the lives of Christians. We know very little about the saints above, but about the saints on earth we know, or can know, a great deal. We Protestants do not believe (since the Bible does not teach) that the saints who have gone into heaven before us are in any way affected by the prayers or labors of saints who remain on earth. Our particular care is not for those whom God has already honored with the vision beatific, but for the hard-pressed and struggling pilgrims who are still traveling toward the City of God. We all belong to each other; the spiritual welfare of each one is or should be the loving concern of all the rest.

      We should pray for an enlargement of soul to receive into our hearts all of God's people, whatever their race, color or church affiliation. Then we should practice thinking of ourselves as members of the blessed family of God and should strive in prayer to love and appreciate everyone who is born of the Father.

      I suggest also that we try to acquaint ourselves as far as possible with the good and saintly souls who lived before our times and now belong to the company of the redeemed in heaven. How sad to limit our sympathies to those of our own day, when God in His providence has made it possible for us to enjoy the rich treasures of the minds and hearts of so many holy and gifted saints of other days. To confine our reading to the works of a few favorite authors of today or last week is to restrict our horizons and to pinch our souls dangerously.

      I have no doubt that the prayerful reading of some of the great spiritual classics of the centuries would destroy in us forever that constriction of soul which seems to he the earmark of modern evangelicalism.

      For many of us the wells of the past wait to be reopened. Augustine, for instance, would bring to us a sense of the overwhelming majesty of God that would go far to cure the flippancy of spirit found so widely among modern Christians. Bernard of Cluny would sing to us of "Jerusalem the Golden" and the peace of an eternal sabbath day until the miserable pleasures of this world become intolerable; Richard Rolle would show us how to escape from "the abundance of riches, the flattering of women and the fairness of

      youth," that we may go on to know God with an intimacy that will become in our hearts "heat, fragrance and song"; Tersteegen would whisper to us of the "hidden love of God" and the awful Presence until our hearts would become "still before Him" and "prostrate inwardly adore Him"; before our eyes the sweet St. Francis would throw his arms of love around sun and moon, trees and rain, bird and beast, and thank God for them all in a pure rapture of spiritual devotion.

      But who is able to complete the roster of the saints? To them we owe a debt of gratitude too great to comprehend: prophet and apostle, martyr and reformer, scholar and translator, hymnist and composer, teacher and evangelist, not to mention ten thousand times ten thousand simplehearted and anonymous souls who kept the flame of pure religion alive even in those times when the faith of our fathers was burning but dimly all over the world.

      They belong to us, all of them, and we belong to them. They and we and all redeemed men and women of whatever age or clime are included in the universal fellowship of Christ, and together compose "a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people," who enjoy a common but blessed communion of saints.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article170.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 23, 2006, 03:24:27 PM
Temperament in the Christian Life
By A.W. Tozer

      A CELEBRATED AMERICAN PREACHER once advanced the novel theory that the various denominations with their different doctrinal emphases served a useful purpose as gathering places for persons of similar temperaments. Christians, he suggested, tend to gravitate toward others of like mental types. Hence the denominations.

      Undoubtedly this is oversimplification carried to the point of error. There are too many persons of dissimilar temperaments in every denomination to support such a sweeping classification. Yet I believe that we have here an instance where an error may serve to point up a truth, the truth being that temperament has a great deal to do with our religious views and with the emphases we lay on spiritual matters generally.

      It may be a bit difficult to determine which is cause and which effect, but I have noticed that historically Calvinism has flourished among peoples of a markedly phlegmatic disposition. While it is true that Jacob Arminius was a Dutchman, on the whole the Dutch people appear temperamentally quite suited to Calvinism. On the other hand, it would be hard to imagine a Calvinistic Spaniard or Italian. Isolated instances there certainly are, but for the most part the buoyant, volatile, mandolin-playing Latin does not take naturally to long periods of meditation on the divine sovereignty and the eternal decrees.

      While we all pride ourselves that we draw our beliefs from the Holy Scriptures, along those border lines where good men disagree we may unconsciously take sides with our temperament. Cast of mind may easily determine our views when the Scriptures are not clear.

      People may be classified roughly into two psychological types, the gay and the somber, and it is easy to see how each type will be attracted to the doctrinal views that agree most naturally with its own mental cast. The Calvinist, for instance, never permits himself to become too happy, while the Arminian tends to equate gravity of disposition with coldness of heart and tries to cure it with a revival.

      No Calvinist could have written the radiant hymns of Bernard of Clairvaux or Charles Wesley. Calvinism never produced a Christian mystic, unless we except John Newton who was near to being a mystic and did write a few hymns almost as radiant as those of Bernard.

      To square the records, however, it should be said that if the Calvinist does not rise as high, he usually stays up longer. He places more emphasis on the Holy Scriptures which never change, while his opposite number (as the newspapers say) tends to judge his spiritual condition by the state of his feelings, which change constantly. This may be the reason that so many Calvinistic churches remain orthodox for centuries, at least in doctrine, while many churches of the Arminian persuasion often go liberal in one generation.

      I realize that I am doing a bit of oversimplifying on my own here; still I believe there is more than a germ of truth in the whole thing. Anyway, I am less concerned with the effect of temperament on the historic church, which obviously I can do nothing about, than with its effect upon my own soul and the souls of my readers, whom I may be able to influence somewhat.

      Whether or not my broader conclusions are sound, there would seem to be no reason to doubt that we naturally tend to interpret Scripture in the light (or shadow) of our own temperament and let our peculiar mental cast decide the degree of importance we attach to various religious doctrines and practices.

      The odd thing about this human quirk is that it prospers most where there is the greatest amount of religious freedom. The authoritarian churches that tell their adherents exactly what to believe and where to lay their emphasis produce a fair degree of uniformity among their members. By stretching everyone on the bed of Procrustes they manage to lengthen or trim back the individual temperament to their liking. The free Protestant, who is still permitted a certain amount of private interpretation, is much more likely to fall into the trap of temperament. Exposure to this temptation is one price he pays for his freedom.

      The minister above all others should look deep into his own heart to discover the reason for his more pronounced views. It is not enough to draw himself up and declare with dignity that he preaches the Bible find nothing but the Bible. That claim is made by every man who stands in sincerity to declare the truth; but truth has many facets and the man of God is in grave danger of revealing only a limited few to his people, and those the ones he by disposition favors most.

      One cannot imagine Francis of Assisi preaching Edward's sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," nor can we picture Jonathan Edwards preaching to the birds or calling upon sun and moon and wind and stars to join him in praising the Lord. Yet both were good men who loved God deeply and trusted Christ completely. Many other factors besides temperament must not be overlooked.

      Are we then to accept the bias of disposition as something inevitable? Are we to allow our religious views to be dictated by ancestors long dead whose genes still stir within us? By no means. The Scriptures, critical self-discipline, honesty of heart and increased trust in the inward operations of the Holy Spirit will save us from being too greatly influenced by temperament.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article171.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 23, 2006, 03:25:10 PM
Does God Always Answer Prayer?
By A.W. Tozer

      CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION, the cultivation of a psychology of uncritical belief is not an unqualified good, and if carried too far it may be a positive evil. The whole world has been booby-trapped by the devil, and the deadliest trap of all is the religious one. Error never looks so innocent as when it is found in the sanctuary.

      One field where harmless-looking but deadly traps appear in great profusion is the field of prayer. There are more sweet notions about prayer than could be contained in a large book, all of them wrong and all highly injurious to the souls of men.

      I think of one such false notion that is found often in pleasant places consorting smilingly with other notions of unquestionable orthodoxy. It is that God always answers prayer.

      This error appears among the saints as a kind of all-purpose philosophic therapy to prevent any disappointed Christian from suffering too great a shock when it becomes evident to him that his prayer expectations are not being fulfilled. It is explained that God always answers prayer, either by saying Yes or by saying No, or by substituting something else for the desired favor.

      Now, it would be hard to invent a neater trick than this to save face for the petitioner whose requests have been rejected for non-obedience. Thus when a prayer is not answered he has but to smile brightly and explain, "God said No." It is all so very comfortable. His wobbly faith is saved from confusion and his conscience is permitted to lie undisturbed. But I wonder if it is honest.

      To receive an answer to prayer as the Bible uses the term and as Christians have understood it historically, two elements must be. present: (1) A clear-cut request made to God for a specific favor. (2) A clear-cut granting of that favor by God in answer to the request. There must be no semantic twisting, no changing of labels, no altering of the map during the journey to help the embarrassed tourist to find himself.

      When we go to God with a request that He modify the existing situation for us, that is, that He answer prayer, there are two conditions that we must meet: (1) We must pray in the will of God and (2) we must be on what old-fashioned Christians often call "praying ground"; that is, we must be living lives pleasing to God.

      It is futile to beg God to act contrary to His revealed purposes. To pray with confidence the petitioner must be certain that his request falls within the broad will of God for His people.

      The second condition is also vitally important. God has not placed Himself under obligation to honor the requests of worldly, carnal or disobedient Christians. He hears and answers the prayers only of those who walk in His way. "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight . . . . If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (I John 3:21, 22; John 15:7).

      God wants us to pray and He wants to answer our prayers, but He makes our use of prayer as a privilege to commingle with His use of prayer as a discipline. To receive answers to prayer we must meet God's terms. If we neglect His commandments our petitions will not be honored. He will alter situations only at the request of obedient and humble souls.

      The God-always-answers-prayer sophistry leaves the praying man without discipline. By the exercise of this bit of smooth casuistry he ignores the necessity to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, and actually takes God's flat refusal to answer his prayer as the very answer itself. Of course such a man will not grow in holiness; he will never learn how to wrestle and wait; he will never know correction; he will not hear the voice of God calling him forward; he will never arrive at the place where he is morally and spiritually fit to have his prayers answered. His wrong philosophy has ruined him.

      That is why I turn aside to expose the bit of bad theology upon which his bad philosophy is founded. The man who accepts it never knows where he stands; he never knows whether or not he has true faith, for if his request is not granted he avoids the implication by the simple dodge of declaring that God switched the whole thing around and gave him something else. He will not allow himself to shoot at a target, so he cannot tell how good or how bad a marksman he is.

      Of certain persons James says plainly: "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." From that brief sentence we may learn that God refuses some requests because they who make them are not morally worthy to receive the answer. But this means nothing to the one who has been seduced into the belief that God always answers prayer. When such a man asks and receives not he passes his hand over the hat and comes up with the answer in some other form. One thing he clings to with great tenacity: God never turns anyone away, but invariably grants every request.

      The truth is that God always answers the prayer that accords with His will as revealed in the Scriptures, provided the one who prays is obedient and trustful. Further than this we dare not go.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article172.shtml)


Title: Self-deception and How to Avoid It
Post by: Shammu on April 23, 2006, 03:26:00 PM
Self-deception and How to Avoid It
By A.W. Tozer

      OF ALL FORMS OF DECEPTION, self-deception is the most deadly, and of all deceived persons the self-deceived are the least likely to discover the fraud.

      The reason for this is simple. When a man is deceived by another he is deceived against his will. He is contending against an adversary and is temporarily the victim of the other's guile. Since he expects his foe to take advantage of him he is watchful and quick to suspect trickery. Under such circumstances it is possible to be deceived sometimes and for a short while, but because the victim is resisting he may break out of the trap and escape before too long.

      With the self-deceived it is quite different. He is his own enemy and is working a fraud upon himself. He wants to believe the lie and is psychologically conditioned to do so. He does not resist the deceit but collaborates with it against himself. There is no struggle, because the victim surrenders before the fight begins. He enjoys being deceived.

      It is altogether possible to practice fraud upon our own souls and go deceived to judgment. "If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing," said Paul, "he deceiveth himself." With this agrees the inspired James: "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."

      The farther we push into the sanctuary the greater becomes the danger of self-deception. The deeply religious man is far more vulnerable than the easygoing fellow who takes his religion lightly. This latter may be deceived but he is not likely to be self-deceived.

      Under the pressure of deep spiritual concern, and before his heart has been wholly conquered by the Spirit of God, a man may be driven to try every dodge to save face and preserve a semblance of his old independence. This is always dangerous and if persisted in may prove calamitous.

      The fallen heart is by nature idolatrous. There appears to be no limit to which some of us will go to save our idol, while at the same time telling ourselves eagerly that we are trusting in Christ alone. It takes a violent act of renunciation to deliver us from the hidden idol, and since very few modern Christians understand that such an act is necessary, and only a small number of those who know are willing to do, it follows that relatively few professors of the Christian faith these days have ever experienced the painful act of renunciation that frees the heart from idolatry.

      Prayer is usually recommended as the panacea for all ills and the key to open every prison door, and it would indeed be difficult to overstate the advantages and privilege of Spirit-inspired prayer. But we must not forget that unless we are wise and watchful prayer itself may become a source of self-deception. There are as many kinds of prayer as there are problems and some kinds are not acceptable to God. The prophets of the Old Testament denounced Israel for trying to hide their iniquities behind their prayers. Christ flatly rejected the prayers of hypocrites and James declared that some religious persons ask and receive not because they ask amiss.

      To escape self-deception the praying man must come out clean and honest. He cannot hide in the cross while concealing in his bosom the golden wedge and the goodly Babylonish garment. Grace will save a man but it will not save him and his idol. The blood of Christ will shield the penitent sinner alone, but never the sinner and his idol. Faith will justify the sinner, but it will never justify the sinner and his sin.

      No amount of pleading will make evil good or wrong right. A man may engage in a great deal of humble talk before God and get no response because unknown to himself he is using prayer to disguise disobedience. He may lie for hours in sackcloth and ashes with no higher motive than to try to persuade God to come over on his side so he can have his own way. He may grovel before God in a welter of self-accusation, refuse to give up his secret sin and be rejected for his pains. It can happen.

      Dr. H. M. Shuman once said to me in private conversation that he believed the one quality God required a man to have before He would save him was honesty. With this I heartily agree. However dishonest the man may have been before, he must put away his duplicity if he is to be accepted before the Lord. Double dealing is unutterably offensive to God. The insincere man has no claim on mercy. For such a man the cross of Christ provides no remedy. Christ can and will save a man who has been dishonest, but He cannot save him while he is dishonest. Absolute candor is an indispensable requisite to salvation.

      How may we remain free from self-deception? The answer sounds old-fashioned and dull but here it is: Mean what you say and never say what you do not mean, either to God or man. Think candid thoughts and act forthrightly always, whatever the consequence. To do this will bring the cross into your life and keep you dead to self and to public opinion. And it may get you into trouble sometimes, too. But a guileless mind is a great treasure; it is worth any price.

Self-deception and How to Avoid It (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article173.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 25, 2006, 01:56:46 AM
On Breeding Spotted Mice
By A.W. Tozer

      THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LATELY CARRIED an interesting if somewhat depressing story out of London about a certain British peer who had died just a few days short of his eighty-ninth birthday.

      Having been a man of means and position, it had presumably not been necessary for him to work for a living like the rest of us, so at the time of his death he had had about seventy adult years in which he was free to do whatever he wanted to do, to pursue any calling he wished or to work at anything he felt worthy of his considerable abilities.

      And what had he chosen to do? Well, according to the story, he had "devoted his life to trying to breed the perfect spotted mouse."

      Now, I grant every man the right to breed spotted mice if he wants to and can get the cooperation of the mice, and I freely admit that it is his business and not mine. Not being a mouse lover (nor a mouse hater for that matter; I am just neutral about mice), I do not know but that a spotted mouse might be more useful and make a more affectionate pet than a common mouse colored mouse. But still I am troubled.

      The mouse breeder in question was a lord, and I was born on a farm in the hill country of Pennsylvania, but since a cat can look at a king I suppose a farm boy can look at a lord, even look at him with disapproval if the circumstances warrant. Anyway, a man's a man for a' that, and I feel a certain kinship for every man born of woman; so I cannot but grieve for my brother beyond the seas.

      Made in the image of God, equipped with awesome powers of mind and soul, called to dream immortal dreams and to think the long thoughts of eternity, he chooses the breeding of a spotted mouse as his reason for existing. Invited to walk with God on earth and to dwell at last with the saints and angels in the world above; called to serve his generation by the will of God, to press with holy vigor toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, he dedicates his life to the spotted mousenot just evenings or holidays, mind you, but his entire life. Surely this is tragedy worthy of the mind of an Aeschylus or a Shakespeare.

      Let us hope that the story is not true or that the news boys got it mixed up as they sometimes do; but even if the whole thing should prove to be a hoax, still it points up a stark human tragedy that is being enacted before our eyes daily, not by makebelieve play actors, but by real men and women who are the characters they portray. These should be concerned with sin and righteousness and judgment; they should be getting ready to die and to live again; but instead they spend their days breeding spotted mice.

      If the spiritual view of the world is the correct one, as Christianity boldly asserts that it is, then for every one of us heaven is more important than earth and eternity more important than time. If Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; if He is what the glorious company of the apostles and the noble army of martyrs declared that He is; if the faith which the holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge is the true faith of God, then no man has any right to dedicate his life to anything that can burn or rust or rot or die. No man has any right to give himself completely to anyone but Christ nor to anything but prayer.

      The man who does not know where he is is lost; the man who does not know why he was born is worse lost; the man who cannot find an object worthy of his true devotion is lost utterly; and by this description the human race is lost, and it is a part of our lostness that we do not know how lost we are. So we use up the few precious years allotted to us breeding spotted mice. Not the kind that scurry and squeak, maybe; but viewed in the light of eternity, are not most of our little human activities almost as meaningless?

      One of the glories of the Christian gospel is its ability not only to deliver a man from sin but to orient him, to place him on a peak from which he can see yesterday and today in their relation to tomorrow. The truth cleanses his mind so that he can recognize things that matter and see time and space and kings and cabbages in their true perspective. The Spirit-illuminated Christian cannot be cheated. He knows the values of things; he will not bid on a rainbow nor make a down payment on a mirage; he will not, in short, devote his life to spotted mice.

      Back of every wasted life is a bad philosophy, an erroneous conception of life's worth and purpose. The man who believes that he was born to get all be can will spend his life trying to get it; and whatever he gets will be but a cage of spotted mice. The man who believes he was created to enjoy fleshly pleasures will devote himself to pleasure seeking; and if by a combination of favorable circumstances he manages to get a lot of fun out of life, his pleasures will all turn to ashes in his mouth at the last. He will find out too late that God made him too noble to be satisfied with those tawdry pleasures he had devoted his life to here under the sun.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article174.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 26, 2006, 02:24:09 AM
The Unknown Saints
By A.W. Tozer

      WILLIAM WORDSWORTH IN A FINE PASSAGE states his belief that there are many more poets in the world than we suppose,

      ". . .men endowed with highest gifts,

      The vision and the faculty divine,"

      but who are unknown because they lacked or failed to cultivate the gift of versification.

      Then he sums up his belief in a sentence that suggests truth far beyond any that he had in mind at the time:

      "Strongest minds

      Are often those of whom the noisy world

      Hears least."

      Most of us in our soberer moments would admit the soundness of this observation, but the hard fact is that for the average person it is not the findings of the sober moment that determine our total working philosophy; rather it is the shallow and deceptive notions pressed upon us by the "noisy world." Human society generally (and especially in the United States) has fallen into the error of assuming that greatness and fame are synonymous. Americans appear to take for granted that each generation provides a certain number of superior men and the democratic processes unerringly find those men and set them in a place of prominence. How wrong can people get!

      We have but to become acquainted with, or even listen to, the big names of our times to discover how wretchedly inferior most of them are. Many appear to have arrived at their present eminence by pull, brass, nerve, gall and lucky accident. We turn away from them sick to our stomach and wonder for a discouraged moment if this is the best the human race can produce. But we gain our self-possession again by the simple expedient of recalling some of the plain men we know, who live unheralded and unsung, and who are made of stuff infinitely finer than the hoarse-voiced braggarts who occupy too many of the highest offices in the land.

      If we would see life steadily and see it whole we must make a stern effort to break away from the power of that false philosophy that equates greatness with fame. The two may be and often are oceans and continents apart.

      If the church were a body wholly unaffected by the world we could toss the above problem over to the secular philosophers and go about our business; but the truth is that the church also suffers from this evil notion. Christians have fallen into the habit of accepting the noisiest and most notorious among them as the best and the greatest. They too have learned to equate popularity with excellence, and in open defiance of the Sermon on the Mount they have given their approval not to the meek but to the self-assertive; not to the mourner but to the self-assured; not to the pure in heart who see God but to the publicity hunter who seeks headlines.

      If we might paraphrase Wordsworth we could make his lines run,

      "Purest saints

      Are often those of whom the noisy church

      Hears least,"

      and the words would be true, deeply, wonderfully true.

      After more than thirty years of observing the religious scene I have been forced to conclude that saintliness and church leadership are not often synonymous. I have on many occasions preached to grateful Christians who had gone so much farther than I had into the sweet mysteries of God that I actually felt unworthy to tie their shoe laces. Yet they sat meekly listening while one inferior to them stood in the place of prominence and declared imperfectly truths with which they had long been familiar by intimate and beautiful experience. They must have known and felt how much of theory and how little of real heart knowledge there was in the sermon, but they said nothing and no doubt appreciated what little of good there was in the message.

      Were the church a pure and Spirit-filled body, wholly led and directed by spiritual considerations, certainly the purest and the saintliest men and women would be the ones most appreciated and most honored; but the opposite is true. Godliness is no longer valued, except for the very old or the very dead. The saintly souls are forgotten in the whirl of religious activity. The noisy, the self-assertive, the entertaining are sought after and rewarded in every way, with gifts, crowds, offerings and publicity. The Christ-like, the self-forgetting, the other-worldly are jostled aside to make room for the latest converted playboy who is usually not too well converted and still very much of a playboy.

      The whole short-sighted philosophy that ignores eternal qualities and majors on trivialities is a form of unbelief. These Christians who embody such a philosophy are clamoring after present reward; they are too impatient to wait the Lord's time. They will not abide the day when Christ shall make known the secret of every man's heart and reward each one according to his deeds. The true saint sees farther than this; he cares little for passing values; he looks forward eagerly to the day when eternal things shall come into their own and godliness will be found to be all that matters.

      Strange as it may be, the holiest souls who have ever lived have earned the reputation for being pessimistic. Their smiling indifference to the world's attractions and their steady resistance to its temptations have been misunderstood by shallow thinkers and attributed to an unsocial spirit and a lack of love for mankind. What the world failed to see was that these peculiar men and women were beholding a city invisible; they were walking day by day in the light of another and eternal kingdom. They were already tasting the powers of the world to come and enjoying afar the triumph of Christ and the glories of the new creation.

      No, the unknown saints are riot pessimists, nor are they misanthropes or joy-killers. They are by virtue of their godly faith the world's only true optimists. Their creed was stated simply by Julian of Norwich when she said, "But all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." Though sin is in the world, she argued, a frightful visitation to be reckoned with, yet so perfect is the atonement that the time will come when all evil shall be eradicated and everything restored again to its pristine beauty in Christ. Then "all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

      The wise Christian will be content to wait for that day. In the meantime, he will serve his generation in the will of God. If he should be overlooked in the religious popularity contests he will give it but small attention. He knows whom he is trying to please and he is willing to let the world think what it will of him. He will not be around much longer anyway, and where he is going men will be known not by their 'Hooper' rating but by the holiness of their character.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article175.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 26, 2006, 02:25:08 AM
Three Faithful Wounds
By A.W. Tozer

      FAITHFUL ARE THE WOUNDS OF A FRIEND, says the Holy Spirit in Proverbs 27:6. And lest we imagine that the preacher is the one who does the wounding, I want to read Job 5:17 and 18: "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole." You see, the one who does the wounding here is not the servant, but the Master Himself. So with that in our minds I want to talk to you about three faithful wounds of a friend.

      In order to get launched into my message let me introduce a little lady who has been dead for about six hundred years. She once lived and loved and prayed and sang in the city of Norwich, England. This little woman hadn't much light and she hadn't any way to get much light, but the beautiful thing about her was that, with what little Biblical light she had, she walked with God so wonderfully close that she became as fragrant as a flower. And long before Reformation times she was in spirit an evangelical. She lived and died and has now been with her Lord nearly six hundred years, but she has left behind her a fragrance of Christ.

      England was a better place because this little lady lived. She wrote only one book, a very tiny book that you could slip into your side pocket or your purse, but it's so flavorful, so divine, so heavenly, that it has made a distinct contribution to the great spiritual literature of the world. The lady to whom I refer is the one called the Lady Julian.

      Before she blossomed out into this radiant, glorious life which made her famous as a great Christian all over her part of the world, she prayed a prayer and God answered. It is this prayer with which I am concerned tonight. The essence of her prayer was this:

      "O God, please give me three wounds; the wound of contrition and the wound of compassion and the wound of longing after God." Then she added this little postscript which I think is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read: "This I ask without condition." She wasn't dickering with God. She wanted three things and they were all for God's glory: "I ask this without condition, Father; do what I ask and then send me the bill. Anything that it costs will be all right with me."

      All great Christians have been wounded souls. It is strange what a wound will do to a man. Here's a soldier who goes out to the battlefield. He is full of jokes and strength and self-assurance; then one day a piece of shrapnel tears through him and he falls, a whimpering, beaten, defeated man. Suddenly his whole world collapses around him and this man, instead of being the great, strong, broad-chested fellow that he thought he was, suddenly becomes a whimpering boy again. And such have ever been known, I am told, to cry for their mothers when they lie bleeding and suffering on the field of battle. There is nothing like a wound to take the self-assurance out of us, to reduce us to childhood again and make us small and helpless in our own sight.

      Many of the Old Testament characters were wounded men, stricken of God and afflicted indeed as their Lord was after them. Take Jacob, for instance. Twice God afflicted him; twice he met God and each time it came as a wound, and one time it came actually as a physical wound and he limped on his thigh for the rest of his life. And the man Elijah-was he not more than a theologian, more than a doctrinarian? He was a man who had been stricken; he had been struck with the sword of God and was no longer simply one of Adam's race standing up in his own self-assurance; he was a man who had had an encounter with God, who had been confronted by God and had been defeated and broken down before Him. And when Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, you know what it did to him. Or take the man Ezekiel, how he went down before his God and became a little child again. And there were many others.

      Now the wounded man is a defeated man, I say; the strong, robust and self-confident Adam-man ceases to fight back any longer; he lays down his sword and surrenders and the wound finishes him. Let's talk about these three wounds in their order.

      The first is the wound of contrition. Now I've heard for the last thirty years that repentance is a change of mind, and I believe it, of course, as far as it goes. But that's just what's the matter with us. We have reduced repentance to a change of mind. It is a mental act, indeed, but I point out that repentance is not likely to do us much good until it ceases to be a change of mind only and becomes a wound within our spirit. No man has truly repented until his sin has wounded him near to death, until the wound has broken him and defeated him and taken all the fight and self-assurance out of him and he sees himself as the one who nailed his Saviour on the tree.

      I don't know about you, but the only way I can keep right with God is to keep contrite, to keep a sense of contrition upon my spirit. Now there's a lot of cheap and easy getting rid of sin and getting your repentance disposed of. But the great Christians, in and out of the Bible, have been those who were wounded with a sense of contrition so that they never quite got over the thought and the feeling that they personally had crucified Jesus. The great Bishop Usher each week used to go down by the riverbank and there all Saturday afternoon kneel by a log and bewail his sins before his God. Perhaps that was the secret of his greatness.

      Let us beware of vain and over-hasty repentance, and particularly let us beware of no repentance at all. We are a sinful race, ladies and gentlemen, a sinful people, and until the knowledge has hit hard, until it has wounded us, until it has got through and past the little department of our theology, it has done us no good. A man can believe in total depravity and never have any sense of it for himself at all. Lots of us believe in total depravity who have never been wounded with the knowledge that we've sinned. Repentance is a wound I pray we may all feel.

      And then there's the wound of compassion. Now compassion is an emotional identification, and Christ had that in full perfection. The man who has this wound of compassion is a man who suffers along with other people. Jesus Christ our Lord can never suffer to save us any more. This He did, once for all, when He gave Himself without spot through the Holy Ghost to the Father on Calvary's cross. He cannot suffer to save us but He still must suffer to win us. He does not call His people to redemptive suffering. That's impossible; it could not be. Redemption is a finished work.

      But He does call His people to feel along with Him and to feel along with those that rejoice and those that suffer. He calls His people to be to Him the kind of an earthly body in which He can weep again and suffer again and love again. For our Lord has two bodies. One is the body He took to the tree on Calvary; that was the body in which He suffered to redeem us. But He has a body on earth now, composed of those who have been baptized into it by the Holy Ghost at conversion. In that body He would now suffer to win men. Paul said that he was glad that he could suffer for the Colossians and fill up the measure of the afflictions of Christ in his body for the church's sake.

      Now, my brethren, I don't know whether I can make it clear or not. I know that things like this have to be felt rather than understood, but the wounded man is never a seeker after happiness. There is an ignoble pursuit of irresponsible happiness among us. Over the last years, as I have observed the human scene and have watched God's professed people live and die, I have seen that most of us would rather be happy than to feel the wounds of other people's sorrows. I do not believe that it is the will of God that we should seek to be happy, but rather that we should seek to be holy and useful. The holy man will be the useful man and he's likely to be a happy man too; but if he seeks happiness and forgets holiness and usefulness, he's a carnal man. I, for one, want no part in carnal religious joy. There are times when it's sinful to be happy. When Jesus our Lord was sweating it out there in the garden or hanging on the tree, He could not be happy. He was the "man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."

      And the great saints of the past, who conquered and captured parts of the world for Jesus, when they were in travail were not happy. The woman, said Jesus, who is giving birth is not happy at the time of her travail, but as soon as the child is delivered she becomes happy because a man is born into the world. You and I are, in a sense, to be mothers in Israel, those through whom the Lord can suffer and grieve and love and pity again to bring children to birth.

      Thirdly, there's the wound of longing after God. This little woman wanted to long after God with a longing that became a pain in her heart. She wanted to be lovesick. She prayed in effect, "O God, that I might want Thee so badly that it becomes a wound in my heart that I can't get over." Today, accepting Christ becomes terminal. That is the end. And all evangelism leads toward one thing-getting increased numbers of people to accept Christ, and there we put a period. My criticism of most of our Bible conferences is that we spend our time counting again the treasures that we have in Christ but we never arrive at the place where any of that which is in Christ gets into us. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, but you can no more buy food with the money still in the bank than you can live on the treasures that are in Christ unless they're also experientially in you.

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 26, 2006, 02:25:35 AM
      So many of us say, "All right, I'll attend another Bible conference," or "I'll take a course," or "I'll buy a book." My friends, what we need is not more instruction; we've been instructed to death. Where in the world is there more fundamental Bible teaching than here in Chicago? This is the Mecca of Fundamentalism. This is the Vatican of Evangelicalism. We've got notebooks at home stacked high that go back twenty-five years. They tell us of some new sidelight on some text or some new illustration somebody gave to point up a doctrine. But, oh, what weak creatures we are! What joyless people we are!

      Note the paradoxes: To be happily forgiven and yet to be wounded and to remember the grief; to enjoy the peace of the finished work of Christ and yet suffer to win others; to find God and yet be always pursuing Him. When Moses saw the glory of God he begged that he might see more. When God revealed to him that he had found grace, he wanted more grace. Remember this: the man that has the most of God is the man who is seeking the most ardently for more of God.

      There was a man who talked about "a restless thirst, a sacred, infinite desire," and that is what I want for my own heart. Among the plastic saints of our times Jesus has to do all the dying and all we want is to hear another sermon about His dying; Jesus does all the sorrowing and we want to be happy. But, my brethren, if we were what we ought to be, we would seek to know in experience the meaning of the words, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

      I have been greatly and deeply concerned that you and I do something more than listen, that we dare to go to God like the Lady Julian and dare to ask Him to give us a faithful, fatherly wound-maybe three of them, if you please: to wound us with a sense of our own sinful unworthiness that we'll never quite get over; to wound us with the sufferings of the world and the sorrows of the church; and then to wound us with the longing after God, a thirst, a sacred thirst and longing that will carry us on toward perfection.

      The lack of desire is the ill of all ills;

      Many thousands through it the dark pathway have trod;

      The balsam, the wine of predestinate wills,

      Is a jubilant pining and longing for God.*

      Write that sentence down, "A jubilant pining and longing for God." Almost every day of my life I am praying that "a jubilant pining and longing for God" might come back on the evangelical churches. We don't need to have our doctrine straightened out; we're as orthodox as the Pharisees of old. But this longing for God that brings spiritual torrents and whirlwinds of seeking and self-denial-this is almost gone from our midst.

      God loves to be longed for, He loves to be sought,

      For He sought us Himself with such longing and love;

      He died for desire of us, marvelous thought!

      And He longs for us now to be with Him above.* (*Frederick W. Faber)

      I believe that God wants us to long for Him with the longing that will become lovesickness, that will become a wound to our spirits, to keep us always moving toward Him, always finding and always seeking, always having and always desiring. So the earth becomes less and less valuable and heaven gets closer as we move into God and up into Christ.

      Dare we bow our hearts now and say, "Father, I've been an irresponsible, childish kind of Christian-more concerned with being happy than with being holy. O God, give me three wounds. Wound me with a sense of my own sinfulness. Wound me with compassion for the world, and wound me with love of Thee that will keep me always pursuing and always exploring and always seeking and always finding."

      If you dare to pray that prayer sincerely and mean it before God, it could mean a turning point in your life. It could mean a door of victory opened to you. May God grant that it be so.

Three Faithful Wounds (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article176.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: airIam2worship on April 26, 2006, 02:36:11 AM
WOW DW, I love to read A W Tozer's writings.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 26, 2006, 02:40:50 AM
WOW DW, I love to read A W Tozer's writings.
So do I sister. :D :D :D


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 27, 2006, 02:48:22 AM
The Wrath of God: What Is It?
By A.W. Tozer

      IT IS RARE that there is anything good in human anger. Almost always it springs out of unholy states of heart, and frequently it leads to cursing and violence. The man of evil temper is unpredictable and dangerous and is usually shunned by men of peace and good will.

      There is a strong tendency among religious teachers these days to disassociate anger from the divine character and to defend God by explaining away the Scriptures that relate it to Him. This is understandable, but in the light of the full revelation of God it is inexcusable.

      In the first place, God needs no defense. Those teachers who are forever trying to make God over in their own image might better be employed in seeking to make themselves over in the image of God. In the Scriptures "God spake all these words," and there is no independent criterion by which we can judge the revelation God there makes concerning Himself.

      The present refusal of so many to accept the doctrine of the wrath of God is part of a larger pattern of unbelief that begins with doubt concerning the veracity of the Christian Scriptures.

      Let a man question the inspiration of the Scriptures and a curious, even monstrous, inversion takes place: thereafter he judges the Word instead of letting the Word judge him; he determines what the Word should teach instead of permitting it to determine what he should believe; he edits, amends, strikes out, adds at his pleasure; but always he sits above the Word and makes it amenable to him instead of kneeling before God and becoming amenable to the Word.

      The tender-minded interpreter who seeks to shield God from the implications of His own Word is engaged in an officious effort that cannot but be completely wasted.

      Why such a man still clings to the tattered relics of religion it is hard to say. The manly thing would be to walk out on the Christian faith and put it behind him along with other outgrown toys and discredited beliefs of childhood, but this he rarely does. He kills the tree but still hovers pensively about the orchard hoping for fruit that never comes.

      Whatever is stated clearly but once in the Holy Scriptures may be accepted as sufficiently well established to invite the faith of all believers; and when we discover that the Spirit speaks of the wrath of God about three hundred times in the Bible we may as well make up our minds either to accept the doctrine or reject the Scriptures outright. If we have valid information from some outside source proving that anger is unworthy of God, then the Bible is not to be trusted when it attributes anger to God. And if it is wrong three hundred times on one subject, who can trust it on any other?

      The instructed Christian knows that the wrath of God is a reality, that His anger is as holy as His love, and that between His love and His wrath there is no incompatibility. He further knows (as far as fallen creatures can know such matters) what the wrath of God is and what it is not.

      To understand God's wrath we must view it in the light of His holiness. God is holy and has made holiness to be the moral condition necessary to the health of His universe. Sin's temporary presence in the world only accents this. Whatever is holy is healthy; evil is a moral sickness that must end ultimately in death. The formation of the language itself suggests this, the English word holy deriving from the Anglo-Saxon halig, hal meaning well, whole. While it is not wise to press word origins unduly, there is yet a significance here that should not be overlooked.

      Since God's first concern for His universe is its moral health, that is, its holiness, whatever is contrary to this is necessarily under His eternal displeasure. Wherever the holiness of God confronts unholiness there is conflict. This conflict arises from the irreconcilable natures of holiness and sin. God's attitude and action in the conflict are His anger. To preserve His creation God must destroy whatever would destroy it. When He arises to put down destruction and save the world from irreparable moral collapse He is said to be angry. Every wrathful judgment of God in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation.

      The holiness of God, the wrath of God and the health of the creation are inseparably united. Not only is it right for God to display anger against sin, but I find it impossible to understand how He could do otherwise.

      God's wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys. He hates iniquity as a mother hates the diphtheria or polio that would destroy the life of her child.

      God's wrath is the antisepsis by which moral putrefaction is checked and the health of the creation maintained. When God warns of His impending wrath and exhorts men to repent and avoid it He puts it in a language they can understand: He tells them to "flee from the wrath to come." He says in effect, "Your life is evil, and because it is evil you are an enemy to the moral health of My creation. I must extirpate whatever would destroy the world I love. Turn from evil before I rise up in wrath against you. I love you, but I hate the sin you love. Separate yourself from your evil ways before I send judgment upon you."

      "O Lord,- . . in wrath remember mercy" (Hab. 3:2).

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article177.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 29, 2006, 01:53:02 AM
In Praise of Dogmatism
By A.W. Tozer

      IT IS VITAL TO ANY UNDERSTANDING of ourselves and our fellowmen that we believe what is written in the Scriptures about human society, that it is fallen, alienated from God and in rebellion against His laws.

      In these days of togetherness when all men would brothers be for a' that, even the true Christian is hard put to it to believe what God has spoken about men and their relation to each other and to God; for what He has spoken is never complimentary to men.

      There is plenty of good news in the Bible, but there is never any flattery or back scratching. Seen one way, the Bible is a book of doom. It condemns all men as sinners and declares that the soul that sinneth shall die. Always it pronounces sentence against society before it offers mercy; and if we will not own the validity of the sentence we cannot admit the need for mercy.

      The coming of Jesus Christ to the world has been so sentimentalized that it means now something utterly alien to the Biblical teaching concerning it. Soft human pity has been substituted for God's mercy in the minds of millions, a pity that has long ago degenerated into self-pity. The blame for man's condition has been shifted to God, and Christ's dying for the world has been twisted into an act of penance on God's part. In the drama of redemption man is viewed as Miss Cinderella who has long been oppressed and mistreated, but now through the heroic deeds of earth's noblest Son is about to don her radiant apparel and step forth a queen.

      This is humanism romantically tinted with Christianity, a humanism that takes sides with rebels and excuses those who by word, thought and deed would glorify fallen men and if possible overthrow the glorious high Throne in the heavens.

      According to this philosophy men are never really to blame for anything, the exception being the man who insists that men are indeed to blame for something. In this dim world of pious sentiment all religions are equal and any man who insists that salvation is by Jesus Christ alone is a bigot and a boor.

      So we pool our religious light, which if the truth is told is little more than darkness visible; we discuss religion on television and in the press as a kind of game, much as we discuss art and philosophy, accepting as one of the ground rules of the game that there is no final test of truth and that the best religion is a composite of the best in all religions. So we have truth by majority vote and thus saith the Lord by common consent.

      One characteristic of this sort of thing is its timidity. That religion may be very precious to some persons is admitted, but never important enough to cause division or risk hurting anyone's feelings. In all our discussions there must never be any trace of intolerance; but we obviously forget that the most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty. And there must be no bigotry, which is the name given to spiritual assurance by those who do not enjoy it.

      The desire to please may be commendable enough under certain circumstances, but when pleasing men means displeasing God it is an unqualified evil and should have no place in the Christian's heart. To be right with God has often meant to be in trouble with men. This is such a common truth that one hesitates to mention it, yet it appears to have been overlooked by the majority of Christians today.

      There is a notion abroad that to win a man we must agree with him. Actually the exact opposite is true. G. K. Chesterton remarked that each generation has had to be converted by the man who contradicted it most. The man who is going in a wrong direction will never be set right by the affable religionist who falls into step beside him and goes the same way. Someone must place himself across the path and insist that the straying man turn around and go in the right direction.

      There is of course a sense in which we are all in this terrible human mess together, and for this reason there are certain areas of normal activity where we can all agree. The Christian will not disagree merely to be different, but wherever the moral standards and religious views of society differ from the teachings of Christ he will disagree flatly. He will not admit the validity of human opinion when the Word of God is clear. Some things are not debatable; there is no other side to them. There is only God's side.

      When men believe God they speak boldly. When they doubt they confer. Much current religious talk is but uncertainty rationalizing itself; and this they call "engaging in the contemporary dialogue." It is impossible to imagine Moses or Elijah so occupied.

      All great Christian leaders have been dogmatic. To such men two plus two made four. Anyone who insisted upon denying it or suspending judgment upon it was summarily dismissed as frivolous. They were only interested in a meeting of minds if the minds agreed to meet on holy ground. We could use some gentle dogmatists these days.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article178.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on April 29, 2006, 04:28:15 PM
What Men Live By
By A.W. Tozer

      HUMAN LIFE HAS ITS CENTRAL CORE where lie the things men live by. These things are constant. They change not from age to age, but are the same among all races throughout the world always.

      Life also has its marginal zones where lie the things that are relatively unimportant. These change from generation to generation and vary from people to people.

      It is at the central core that men are one, and it is on the marginal zones that they differ from each other. Yet the marginal things divide the peoples of the world radically and seriously. Most of the enmities of the earth have arisen from differences that did not matter basically; but because the people could not distinguish things men live by from things they live with these enmities arose between them, and often led to persecutions, murders and bloody wars.

      Were men everywhere to ignore the things that matter little or not at all and give serious attention to the few really important things, most of the walls that divide men would be thrown down at once and a world of endless sufferings ended.

      What does matter after all? What are the great facts that are good all the time everywhere among all men? What are the axiomatic truths upon which all human life may rest with confidence? Fortunately they are not many. Here are the chief ones:

      1. Only God is great. Men have sought to place greatness elsewhere, in things, in events, in men; but the human soul is too great to attribute greatness to itself, and certainly too great to believe that things or events can possess true greatness.

      The greatness that men seem to have is as the greatness of moonlight, which is but the glory of the sun reflected. Man's glory is borrowed. He shines in the light that never was on land or sea. He reflects God's greatness but has none of his own.

      "Before Thy ever-blazing throne We ask no luster of our own."*

      2. Only God is wise. Man's wisdom has ever been the badge of his superiority and the cause of his most arrogant pride; yet it fails him constantly. He cannot by his wisdom find the answer to the old questions concerning himself: Whence? What? Why? Whither? By it he cannot secure the blessings he wants most: to escape pain, to stay young and to stay alive.

      Yet man boasts of his wisdom, God waits, the ages pass, and time and space and matter and motion and life and death join to tell us that only God is wise.

      3. Apart from God nothing matters. We think that health matters, that freedom matters, or knowledge or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word they would matter indeed. That word is eternity.

      Grant that men possess perpetual being and the preciousness of every earthly treasure is gone instantly. God is to our eternal being what our heart is to our body. The lungs, the liver, the kidneys have value as they relate to the heart. Let the heart stop and the rest of the organs promptly collapse. Apart from God, what is money, fame, education, civilization? Exactly nothing at all, for men must leave all these things behind them and one by one go to eternity. Let God hide His face and nothing thereafter is worth the effort.

      4. Only what we do in God will remain to us at last.

      Man is made in the image of his Creator and has an urge toward creative activity. When he left the Garden his creative urge did not leave him. He must build, always build; his materials may be brick, paint, musical notes, scientific data, systems of thought; but always he must build, from the boy that builds a toy to the man that builds an empire.

      Yet time is against him, for it wears out everything it touches. Its grinding action makes dust of civilizations and cities and men. A lifetime of toil dies with the toiler. But God puts immortality in all our loving efforts for Him and shares His eternity with all who love and trust Him.

      5. Human sin is real. Suspicion, hate, envy, power, lust and greed keep the world in a state of continual ferment, while bespectacled men stand unblinking and assure classes of eager students that the whole idea of sin is outmoded and sin itself non-existent.

      In spite of all our smooth talk sin continues to ride the race of man. Until its heavy weight is lifted from the soul nothing else has any right to our attention, for sin shuts us out from the presence of the God whose favor alone gives life any satisfactory reason for being.

      6. With God there is forgiveness. "The Lord God, merciful and gracious . . . keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." So says the Old Testament. *"The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins," says the New.

      God's mercy heads up in the Man Christ Jesus who is God and man by the mystery of the Incarnation. He can and does forgive sin because the sin was committed against Him in the first place. The soul in Christ has found the One that matters. His heaviest problem is solved; his basic philosophy is sound; his eyes are open and he knows the true from the false.

      7. Only what God protects is safe. All else perishes with the using or the hoarding. Paul knew this secret. He said, "He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."***

      Blessed Treasure. Blessed Keeper. Blessed Day.

      * Ex. 34:6 * * Matt. 9: 6 *** 2 Tim. 1:12

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article179.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 01, 2006, 05:11:18 PM
How to Try the Spirits
By A.W. Tozer

      THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men's souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.

      Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God's best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.

      Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . "Beloved, believe not every spirit," wrote John, "but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1) . "Beware of false prophets," our Lord warned, "which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."

      From this it is plain not only that there shall be false spirits abroad, endangering our Christian lives, but that they may be identified and known for what they are. And of course once we become aware of their identity and learn their tricks their power to harm us is gone. "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird" (Prov. 1:17)

      It is my intention to set forth here a method by which we may test the spirits and prove all things religious and moral that come to us or are brought or offered to us by anyone. And while dealing with these matters we should keep in mind that not all religious vagaries are the work of Satan. The human mind is capable of plenty of mischief without any help from the devil. Some persons have a positive genius for getting confused, and will mistake illusion for reality in broad daylight with the Bible open before them. Peter had such in mind when he wrote, "Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (II Pet. 3:15, 16).

      It is unlikely that the confirmed apostles of confusion will read what is written here or that they would profit much if they did; but there are many sensible Christians who have been led astray but are humble enough to admit their mistakes and are now ready to return unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. These may be rescued from false paths. More important still, there are undoubtedly large numbers of persons who have not left the true way but who want a rule by which they can test everything and by which they may prove the quality of Christian teaching and experience as they come in contact with them day after day throughout their busy lives. For such as these I make available here a little secret by which I have tested my own spiritual experiences and religious impulses for many years.

      Briefly stated the test is this: This new doctrine, this new religious habit, this new view of truth, this new spiritual experience how has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to God, Christ, the Holy Scriptures, self, other Christians, the world and sin. By this sevenfold test we may prove everything religious and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not. By the fruit of the tree we know the kind of tree it is. So we have but to ask about any doctrine or experience, What is this doing to me? and we know immediately whether it is from above or from below.

      1) One vital test of all religious experience is how it affects our relation to God, our concept of God and our attitude toward Him. God being who He is must always be the supreme arbiter of all things religious. The universe came into existence as a medium through which the Creator might show forth His perfections to all moral and intellectual beings: "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another" (Isa. 42: 8) . "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11).

      The health and balance of the universe require that in all things God should be magnified. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." God acts only for His glory and whatever comes from Him must be to His own high honor. Any doctrine, any experience that serves to magnify Him is likely to be inspired by Him. Conversely, anything that veils His glory or makes Him appear less wonderful is sure to be of the flesh or the devil.

      The heart of man is like a musical instrument and may be played upon by the Holy Spirit, by an evil spirit or by the spirit of man himself. Religious emotions are very much the same, no matter who the player may be. Many enjoyable feelings may be aroused within the soul by low or even idolatrous worship. The nun who kneels "breathless with adoration" before an image of the Virgin is having a genuine religious experience. She feels love, awe and reverence, all enjoyable emotions, as certainly as if she were adoring God. The mystical experiences of Hindus and Sufis cannot be brushed aside as mere pretense. Neither dare we dismiss the high religious flights of spiritists and other occultists as imagination. These may have and sometimes do have genuine encounters with something or someone beyond themselves. In the same manner Christians are sometimes led into emotional experiences that are beyond their power to comprehend. I have met such and they have inquired eagerly whether or not their experience was of God.

      The big test is, What has this done to my relationship to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? If this new view of truth-this new encounter with spiritual things-has made me love God more, if it has magnified Him in my eyes, if it has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude that I have not wandered astray into the pleasant but dangerous and forbidden paths of error.

      2. The next test is: How has this new experience affected my attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ? Whatever place present-day religion may give to Christ, God gives Him top place in earth and in heaven. "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," spoke the voice of God from heaven concerning our Lord Jesus. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, declared: "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Jesus said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Again Peter said of Him, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) . The whole book of Hebrews is devoted to the idea that Christ is above all others. He is shown to be above Aaron and Moses, and even the angels are called to fall down and worship Him. Paul says that He is the image of the invisible God, that in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that in all things He must have the preeminence. But time would fail me to tell of the glory accorded Him by prophets, patriarchs, apostles, saints, elders, psalmists, kings and seraphim. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. He is our hope, our life, our all and all, now and forevermore.

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Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 01, 2006, 05:13:27 PM
      All this being true, it is clear that He must stand at the center of all true doctrine, all acceptable practice and all genuine Christian experience. Anything that makes Him less than God has declared Him to be is delusion pure and simple and must be rejected, no matter how delightful or how satisfying it may for the time seem to be.

      Christless Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done in Christ's name is false to Christ in that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simplehearted listeners. This giveaway is that Christ is not central: He is not all and in all.

      Again, there are psychic experiences that thrill the seeker and lead him to believe that he has indeed met the Lord and been carried to the third heaven; but the true nature of the phenomenon is discovered later when the face of Christ begins to fade from the victim's consciousness and he comes to depend more and more upon emotional jags as a proof of his spirituality.

      If on the other hand the new experience tends to make Christ indispensable, if it takes our interest off our feeling and places it in Christ, we are on the right track. Whatever makes Christ dear to us is pretty sure to be from God.

      3. Another revealing test of the soundness of religious experience is, How does it affect my attitude toward the Holy Scriptures? Did this new experience, this new view of truth, spring out of the Word of God itself or was it the result of some stimulus that lay outside the Bible? Tender-hearted Christians often become victims of strong psychological pressure applied intentionally or innocently by someone's personal testimony, or by a colorful story told by a fervent preacher who may speak with prophetic finality but who has not checked his story with the facts nor tested the soundness of his conclusions by the Word of God.

      Whatever originates outside the Scriptures should for that very reason be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them. If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. "To the word and to the testimony" must always be the last and final proof.

      Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with a lot of caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Over the last half-century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among the truths that were to be revealed in the last days. To be sure, say the advocates of this latter-daylight theory, Augustine did not know, Luther did not, John Knox, Wesley, Finney and Spurgeon did not understand this; but greater light has now shined upon God's people and we of these last days have the advantage of fuller revelation. We should not question the new doctrine nor draw back from this advanced experience. The Lord is getting His Bride ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We should all yield to this new movement of the Spirit. So they tell us.

      The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite. Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning. Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence. You cannot help him and he surely cannot help you.

      Granted, however, that the Scriptures may not always be clear and that there are differences of interpretation among equally sincere men, this test will furnish all the proof needed of anything religious, viz., What does it do to my love for and appreciation of the Scriptures?

      While true power lies not in the letter of the text but in the Spirit that inspired it, we should never underestimate the value of the letter. The text of truth has the same relation to truth as the honeycomb has to honey. One serves as a receptacle for the other. But there the analogy ends. The honey can be removed from the comb, but the Spirit of truth cannot and does not operate apart from the letter of the Holy Scriptures.

      For this reason a growing acquaintance with the Holy Spirit will always mean an increasing love for the Bible. The Scriptures are in print what Christ is in person. The inspired Word is like a faithful portrait of Christ. But again the figure breaks down. Christ is in the Bible as no one can be in a mere portrait, for the Bible is a book of holy ideas and the eternal Word of the Father can and does dwell in the thought He has Himself inspired. Thoughts are things, and the thoughts of the Holy Scriptures form a lofty temple for the dwelling place of God.

      From this it follows naturally that a true lover of God will be also a lover of His Word. Anything that comes to us from the God of the Word will deepen our love for the Word of God. This follows logically, but we have confirmation by a witness vastly more trustworthy than logic, viz., the concerted testimony of a great army of witnesses living and dead. These declare with one voice that their love for the Scriptures intensified as their faith mounted and their obedience became consistent and joyous.

      If the new doctrine, the influence of that new teacher, the new emotional experience fills my heart with an avid hunger to meditate in the Scriptures day and night. I have every reason to believe that God has spoken to my soul and that my experience is genuine. Conversely, if my love for the Scriptures has cooled even a little, if my eagerness to eat and drink of the inspired Word has abated by as much as one degree, I should humbly admit that I have missed God's signal somewhere and frankly backtrack until I find the true way once more.

      4. Again, we can prove the quality of religious experience by its effect on the self-life.

      The Holy Spirit and the fallen human self are diametrically opposed to each other. "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" (Gal. 5:17). "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit . . . . Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8: 5, 7).

      Before the Spirit of God can work creatively in our hearts He must condemn and slay the "flesh" within us; that is, He must have our full consent to displace our natural self with the Person of Christ. This displacement is carefully explained in Romans 6, 7,and 8. When the seeking Christian has gone through the crucifying experience described in chapters 6 and 7 he enters into the broad, free regions of chapter 8. There self is dethroned and Christ is enthroned forever.

      In the light of this it is not hard to see why the Christian's attitude toward self is such an excellent test of the validity of his religious experiences. Most of the great masters of the deeper life, such as Fenelon. Molinos, John of the Cross, Madame Guyon and a host, of others, have warned against pseudoreligious experiences that provide much carnal enjoyment but feel the flesh and puff up the heart with self-love.

      A good rule is this: If this experience has served to humble me and make me little and vile in my own eyes it is of God; but if it has given me a feeling of self-satisfaction it is false and should be dismissed as emanating from self or the devil. Nothing that comes from God will minister to my pride or self-congratulation. If I am tempted to be complacent and to feel superior because I have had a remarkable vision or an advanced spiritual experience, I should go at once to my knees and repent of the whole thing. I have fallen a victim to the enemy.

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Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 01, 2006, 05:14:37 PM
      5. Our relation to and our attitude toward our fellow Christians is another accurate test of religious experience.

      Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable spiritual encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding. He may be honestly convinced that his experience is superior, that he is now in an advanced state of grace, and that the hoi polloi in the church where he attends are but a mixed multitude and he alone a true son of Israel. He may struggle to be patient with these religious worldlings, but his soft language and condescending smile reveal his true opinion of them-and of himself. This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts. The brother has had a remarkable experience; he has received some wonderful light on the Scriptures; he has entered into a joyous land unknown to him before. And it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm. It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh. His new spirituality has made him less charitable.

      The Lady Julian tells us in her quaint English how true Christian grace affects our attitude toward others: "For of all things the beholding and loving of the Maker maketh the soul to seem less in his own sight, and most filleth him with reverent dread and true meekness; with plenty of charity to his fellow Christians." Any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may safely be written off as spurious.

      The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith. "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him" (I John 3:18, 19). Again he says, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (I John 4:7, 8).

      As we grow in grace we grow in love toward all God's people. "Every one that loveth him that begot loveth him also that is begotten of him" (I John 5:1) . This means simply that if we love God we will love His children. All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians.

      Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in person or in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. And conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

      6. Another certain test of the source of religious experience is this: Note how it affects our relation to and our attitude toward the world.

      By "the world" I do not mean, of course, the beautiful order of nature which God has created for the enjoyment of mankind. Neither do I mean the world of lost men in the sense used by our Lord when He said, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:16, 17). Certainly any true touch of God in the soul will deepen our appreciation of the beauties of nature and intensify our love for the lost. I refer here to something else altogether.

      Let an apostle say it for us: "All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:16, 17) .

      This is the world by which we may test the spirits. It is the world of carnal enjoyments, of godless pleasures, of the pursuit of earthly riches and reputation and sinful happiness. It carries on without Christ, following the counsel of the ungodly and being animated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2: 2) . Its religion is a form of godliness, without power, which has a name to live but is dead. It is, in short, unregenerate human society romping on its way to hell, the exact opposite of the true Church of God, which is a society of regenerate souls going soberly but joyfully on their way to heaven.

      Any real work of God in our heart will tend to unfit us for the world's fellowship. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (I John 2:15). "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (II Cor. 6:140. It may be stated unequivocally that any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil and this regardless of how much purring its leaders may do about "accepting Christ" or "letting God run your business."

      7. The last test of the genuineness of Christian experience is what it does to our attitude toward sin.

      The operations of grace within the heart of a believing man will turn that heart away from sin and toward holiness. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit. 2:11-13) .

      I do not see how it could be plainer. The same grace that saves teaches that saved man inwardly, and its teaching is both negative and positive. Negatively it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Positively it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly right in this present world.

      The man of honest heart will find no difficulty here. He has but to check his own bent to discover whether he is concerned about sin in his life more or less since the supposed work of grace was done. Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul. Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine. "For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Psa. 5: 4, 5).

      Jesus warned, "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect." These words describe our day too well to be coincidental. In the hope that the "elect" may profit by them I have set forth these tests. The result is in the hand of God.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article180.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 05, 2006, 02:37:39 AM
Religious Boredom
By A.W. Tozer

      THAT THERE IS SOMETHING gravely wrong with evangelical Christianity today is not likely to be denied by any serious minded person acquainted with the facts. Just what is wrong is not so easy to determine.

      In examining the situation myself I find nature and reason in conflict within me, for I tend by temperament to want to settle everything with a sweep of the pen. But reason advises caution; nothing is that simple, and we must be careful to distinguish cause from effect. As every doctor knows there is a wide difference between the disease and the symptoms; and every Christian knows that there is a big difference between cause and effect in the sphere of religion.

      At the root of our spiritual trouble lie a number of causes and these causes have effects, but which is cause and which effect is not always known. I suspect that many things currently under attack by our evangelists and pastors (and editors, for that matter) are not the causes of our troubles but the effects of causes that lie deeper. We treat the symptoms and wonder why the patient does not get well. Or, to change the figure, we lay down a heavy fire against nothing more substantial than the cloud of dust raised by marching enemy troops long gone by.

      One mark of the low state of affairs among us is religious boredom. Whether this is a thing in itself or merely a symptom of the thing, I do not know for sure, though I suspect that it is the latter. And that it is found to some degree almost everywhere among Christians is too evident to be denied.

      Boredom is, of course, a state of mind resulting from trying to maintain an interest in something that holds no trace of interest for us (the boss's jokes, say, or that lecture on the care and nurture of dahlias to which we went because we could not resist the enthusiastic urging of a friend). No one is bored by what he can in good conscience walk away from. Boredom comes when a man must try to hear with relish what for want of relish he hardly hears at all.

      By this definition there is certainly much boredom in religion these days. The businessman on a Sunday morning whose mind is on golf can scarcely disguise his lack of interest in the sermon he is compelled to hear. The housewife who is unacquainted with the learned theological or philosophical jargon of the speaker; the young couple who feel a tingle of love for each other but who neither love nor know the One about whom the choir is singing-these cannot escape the low-grade mental pain we call boredom while they struggle to keep their attention focused upon the service. All these are too courteous to admit to others that they are bored and possibly too timid to admit it even to themselves, but I believe that a bit of candid confession would do us all good.

      When Moses tarried in the mount, Israel became bored with the faith that sees the invisible and clamored for a god they could see and touch. And they displayed a great deal more enthusiasm for the golden calf than they did over the Lord God of Abraham. Later they tired of manna and complained against the monotony of their diet. On their petulant insistence they finally got flesh to eat, and that to their own undoing.

      Those Christians who belong to the evangelical wing of the church (which I firmly believe is the only one that even approximates New Testament Christianity) have over the last half-century shown an increasing impatience with things invisible and eternal and have demanded and got a host of things visible and temporal to satisfy their fleshly appetites. Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

      It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God's professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

      This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

      So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.

      Any objection to the carryings on of our present golden-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, "But we are winning them!" And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To a despising of the world's treasures? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is no.

      We are paying a frightful price for our religious boredom. And that at the moment of the world's mortal peril.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article181.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 05, 2006, 02:38:17 AM
The Church Cannot Die
By A.W. Tozer

      THERE IS A NOTION ABROAD that Christianity is on its last legs, or possibly already dead and just too weak to lie down.

      This is confidently believed in Communist countries, and while spokesmen for the West are too polite to say so, one can hardly escape the feeling that they too believe the demise of the church to be a certain if embarrassing fact, the chief proof of her death being her failure to provide leadership for the world just when it needs it most.

      Let me employ a pair of mixed and battered but still useful clichés and say that those who have come to bury the faith of our fathers have reckoned without the host. Just as Jesus Christ was once buried away with the full expectation that He had been gotten rid of, so His church has been laid to rest times without number; and as He disconcerted His enemies by rising from the dead so the church has confounded hers by springing again to vigorous life after all the obsequies had been performed over her coffin and the crocodile tears had been shed at her grave.

      The language of devotion has helped to create the impression that the church is supposed to be a band of warriors driving the enemy before them in plain sight and with plenty of color and drama to give a pleasing flourish to the whole thing. In our hymns and pulpit oratory we have commonly pictured the church as marching along to the sound of martial music and the plaudits of the multitude.

      Of course this is but a poetic figure. The individual Christian may be likened to a soldier, but the picture of the church on earth as a conquering army is not realistic. Her true situation is more accurately portrayed as a flock of sheep in the midst of wolves, or as a company of despised pilgrims plodding toward home, or as a peculiar nation protected by the Passover blood waiting for the sound of the trumpet, or as a bride looking for the coming of her bridegroom.

      The world is constantly lashing the church because she has no solution for the problems of society, and the religious leaders who do not know the score wince under the lash. Every once in a while some churchman in an acute attack of conscience does penance in public for Christianity's failure to furnish bold leadership for the world in this time of crisis. "We have sinned," cries the frustrated prophet. "The world looked to us for help and we have failed it."

      Well, I am all for repentance if it is genuine, and I think the church has failed, not by neglecting to provide leadership but by living too much like the world. That, however, is not what the muddled churchman means when he bares his soul in public. Rather, he erroneously assumes that the church of God has been left on earth to minister good hope and cheer to the world in such quantities that it can ignore God, reject Christ, glorify fallen human flesh and pursue its selfish ends in peace. The world wants the church to add a dainty spiritual touch to its carnal schemes, and to be there to help it to its feet and put it to bed when it comes home drunk with fleshly pleasures.

      In the first place the church has received no such commission from her Lord, and in the second place the world has never shown much disposition to listen to the church when she speaks in her true prophetic voice. The attitude of the world toward the true child of God is precisely the same as that of the citizens of Vanity Fair toward Christian and his companion. "Therefore they took them and beat them, and besmeared them with dirt, and put them into the cage, that they might be made a spectacle to all men." Christian's duty was not to "provide leadership" for Vanity Fair but to keep clean from its pollution and get out of it as fast as possible. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

      Christianity is going the way her Founder and His apostles said it would go. Its development and direction were predicted almost two thousand years ago, and this itself is a miracle. Had Christ been less than God and His apostles less than inspired they could not have foretold with such precision the state of the church so far removed from them in time and circumstance. No mortal man could have foreseen the coming of the great religiopolitical system that is Rome, or the Dark Ages, or the discovery of the New World, or the Industrial Revolution and the rise of higher criticism, or the nuclear age, and man's adventure into space. All these would have upset any human effort to foretell the religious situation these latter days; but present conditions were in fact depicted in great fullness of detail nearly two thousand years ago. Nothing unexpected has happened or is happening.

      We are in real need of a reformation that will lead to revival among the churches, but the church is not dead, neither is it dying. The church cannot die.

      A local church can die. This happens when all the old saints in a given place fall asleep and no young saints arise to take their place. Sometimes under these circumstances the congregation ceases to be a church, or there is no congregation left and the doors of the chapel are nailed shut. But such a condition, however deplorable, should not discourage us. The true church is the repository of the life of God among men, and if in one place the frail vessels fail, that life will break out somewhere else. Of this we may be sure.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article182.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 05, 2006, 02:39:02 AM
The Lordship of the Man Jesus Is Basic
By A.W. Tozer

      WE ARE UNDER CONSTANT TEMPTATION these days to substitute another Christ for the Christ of the New Testament. The whole drift of modern religion is toward such a substitution.

      To avoid this we must hold steadfastly to the concept of Christ as set forth so clearly and plainly in the Scriptures of truth. Though an angel from heaven should preach anything less than the Christ of the apostles let him be forthrightly and fearlessly rejected.

      The mighty, revolutionary message of the Early Church was that a man named Jesus who had been crucified was now raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."

      Less than three hundred years after Pentecost the hard-pressed defenders of the faith drew up a manifesto condensing those teachings of the New Testament having to do with the nature of Christ. This manifesto declares that Christ is "God of the substance of His Father, begotten before all ages: Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world: perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting: Equal to His Father, as touching His Godhead: less than the Father, as touching His manhood. Who, although He be God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of the manhood into God. One altogether, not by the confusion of substance, but by the unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ."

      Even among those who acknowledge the deity of Christ there is often a failure to recognize His manhood. We are quick to assert that when He walked the earth He was God with men, but we overlook a truth equally as important, that where He sits now on His mediatorial throne He is Man with God.

      The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul. He is a man glorified, but His glorification did not dehumanize Him. Today He is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us.

      But more than this, He is heir of all things, Lord of all worlds, head of the church and the first-born of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on Him in truth.

      This is not all that can be said about Him, for were all said that might be said I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. But this in brief is the Christ we preach to sinners as their only escape from the wrath to come. With Him rest the noblest hopes and dreams of men. All the longings for immortality that rise and swell in the human breast will be fulfilled in Him or they will never know fulfillment. There is no other way (John 14:6).

      Salvation comes not by "accepting the finished work" or "deciding for Christ." It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do.

      But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet, almost effeminate, and marvelously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is cooed over by women disappointed in love, patronized by pro tem celebrities and recommended by psychiatrists as a model of a well-integrated personality. He is used as a means to almost any carnal end, but He is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want His help but not His interference. They will flatter Him but never obey Him.

      The argument of the apostles is that the Man Jesus has been made higher than angels, higher than Moses and Aaron, higher than any creature in earth or heaven. And this exalted position He attained as a man. As God He already stood infinitely above all other beings. No argument was needed to prove the transcendence of the Godhead. The apostles were not declaring the preeminence of God, which would have been superfluous, but of a man, which was necessary.

      Those first Christians believed that Jesus of Nazareth, a man they knew, had been raised to a position of Lordship over the universe. He was still their friend, still one of them, but had left them for a while to appear in the presence of God on their behalf. And the proof of this was the presence of the Holy Spirit among them.

      One cause of our moral weakness today is an inadequate Christology. We think of Christ as God but fail to conceive of Him as a man glorified. To recapture the power of the Early Church we must believe what they believed. And they believed they had a God-approved man representing them in heaven.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article183.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 07, 2006, 12:16:33 AM
A Do-It-Yourself Education Better Than None
By A.W. Tozer

      THIS IS WRITTEN FOR THOSE CHRISTIANS who may have missed a formal education. Let no one despair. A do-it-yourself education is better than none. It can be acquired by the proper use of our mental powers.

      Our intellectual activities in the order of their importance may be graded this way: first, cogitation; second, observation; third, reading.

      I wish I could include conversation in this short list. One would naturally suppose that verbal intercourse with congenial friends should be one of the most profitable of all mental activities; and it may have been so once but no more. It is now quite possible to talk for hours with civilized men and women and gain absolutely nothing from it. Conversation today is almost wholly sterile. Should the talk start on a fairly high level, it is sure within a few minutes to degenerate into cheap gossip, shoptalk, banter, weak humor, stale jokes, puns and secondhand quips. So we shall omit conversation from our list of useful intellectual activities, at least until there has been a radical reformation in the art of social discourse.

      We shall not consider prayer here either, but for quite another and happier reason. Prayer is the loftiest activity possible to man, and it is of course partly mental, but it is nevertheless usually classified as a spiritual rather than an intellectual exercise; so it will be omitted.

      I believe that pure thinking will do more to educate a man than any other activity he can engage in. To afford sympathetic entertainment to abstract ideas, to let one idea beget another, and that another, till the mind teems with them; to compare one idea with others, to weigh, to consider, evaluate, approve, reject, correct, refine; to join thought with thought like an architect till a noble edifice has been created within the mind; to travel back in imagination to the beginning of the creation and then to leap swiftly forward to the end of time; to bound upward through illimitable space and downward into the nucleus of an atom; and all this without so much as moving from our chair or opening the eyes-this is to soar above all the lower creation and to come near to the angels of God.

      Of all earth's creatures only man can think in this way. And while thinking is the mightiest act a man can perform, perhaps for the very reason that it is the mightiest, it is the one act he likes the least and avoids most.

      Aside from a few professionals, who cannot number more than one-tenth of one percent of the population, people simply do not think at all except in the most elementary way. Their thinking is done for them by the professionals.

      After cogitation comes observation (in order of importance, not in order of time). Observation is, of course, simply a method of obtaining information. Without information the most powerful mind can produce nothing worthwhile. Philosophers have not agreed about whether the mind receives all of its ideas through the five senses or comes into the world with a few "innate ideas," i.e., ideas already present. But we need not settle this argument to conclude that information is indispensable to sound thought. Knowledge is the raw material out of which that finest of all machines, the mind, creates its amazing world.

      The effort to think well with an empty head is sure to be largely wasted. There is nothing like a good hard fact to correct our carefully constructed theories. God has given us our five senses, and these are most highly sensitive instruments for the gathering of knowledge. So efficient are these instruments that it is quite impossible for a normal person to live even a brief time without learning something. For this reason a child five years old may properly be said to be educated in that he has by observation gathered a few facts and arranged them into some sort of orderly pattern within his mind. A doctor of philosophy has done nothing different; he has only gone a little further.

      While it is impossible to live even a short time without learning something, unfortunately it is possible to live a long time and not learn very much. Observation is a powerful tool, but its usefulness depends upon how well we use it. One of the tragedies of life is that the powers of observation atrophy when not used. Just when this begins with the average person I have no sure way of knowing, but I would hazard a guess that it is at about the age of twenty-five. By that time most people have formed their habits, accepted the conventions, lost their sense of wonder and settled down to live by their glands and their appetites. For millions there is not much to observe after that but the weather and the baseball score.

      Lastly reading. To think without a proper amount of good reading is to limit our thinking to our own tiny plot of ground. The crop cannot be large. To observe only and neglect reading is to deny ourselves the immense value of other people's observations; and since the better books are written by trained observers the loss is sure to be enormous. Extensive reading without the discipline of practical observation will lead to bookishness and artificiality. Reading and observing without a great deal of meditating will fill the mind with learned lumber that will always remain alien to us. Knowledge to be our own must be digested by thinking.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article184.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 07, 2006, 12:17:11 AM
Some Thoughts on Books and Reading
By A.W. Tozer

      ONE BIG PROBLEM IN MANY PARTS of the world today is to learn how to read, and in others it is to find something to read after one has learned. In our favored West we are overwhelmed with printed matter, so the problem here becomes one of selection. We must decide what not to read.

      Nearly a century ago Emerson pointed out that if it were possible for a man to begin to read the day he was born and to go on reading without interruption for seventy years, at the end of that time he would have read only enough books to fill a tiny niche in the British Library. Life is so short and the books available to us are so many that no man can possibly be acquainted with more than a fraction of one percent of the books published.

      It hardly need be said that most of us are not selective enough in our reading. I have often wondered how many square yards of newsprint passes in front of the eyes of the average civilized man in the course of a year. Surely it must run into several acres; and I am afraid our average reader does not realize a very large crop on his acreage. The best advice I have heard on this topic was given by a Methodist minister. He said, "Always read your newspaper standing up." Henry David Thoreau also had a low view of the daily press. Just before leaving the city for his now celebrated sojourn on the banks of Walden Pond a friend asked him if he would like to have a newspaper delivered to his cottage. "No," replied Thoreau, "I have already seen a newspaper."

      In our serious reading we are likely to be too greatly influenced by the notion that the chief value of a book is to inform; and if we were talking of textbooks of course that would be true, but when we speak or write of books we have not textbooks in mind.

      The best book is not one that informs merely, but one that stirs the reader up to inform himself. The best writer is one that goes with us through the world of ideas like a friendly guide who walks beside us through the forest pointing out to us a hundred natural wonders we had not noticed before. So we learn from him to see for ourselves and soon we have no need for our guide. If he has done his work well we can go on alone and miss little as we go.

      That writer does the most for us who brings to our attention thoughts that lay close to our minds waiting to be acknowledged as our own. Such a man acts as a midwife to assist at the birth of ideas that had been gestating long within our souls, but which without his help might not have been born at all.

      There are few emotions so satisfying as the joy that comes from the act of recognition when we see and identify our own thoughts. We have all had teachers who sought to educate us by feeding alien ideas into our minds, ideas for which we felt no spiritual or intellectual kinship. These we dutifully tried to integrate into our total spiritual philosophy but always without success.

      In a very real sense no man can teach another; he can only aid him to teach himself. Facts can be transferred from one mind to another as a copy is made from the master tape on a sound recorder. History, science, even theology, may be taught in this way, but it results in a highly artificial kind of learning and seldom has any good effect upon the deep life of the student. What the learner contributes to the learning process is fully as important as anything contributed by the teacher. If nothing is contributed by the learner the results are useless; at best there will be but the artificial creation of another teacher who can repeat the dreary work on someone else, ad infinitum.

      Perception of ideas rather than the storing of them should be the aim of education. The mind should be an eye to see with rather than a bin to store facts in. The man who has been taught by the Holy Spirit will be a seer rather than a scholar. The difference is that the scholar sees and the seer sees through; and that is a mighty difference indeed.

      The human intellect even in its fallen state is an awesome work of God, but it lies in darkness until it has been illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord has little good to say of the unilluminated mind, but He revels in the mind that has been renewed and enlightened by grace. He always makes the place of His feet glorious; there is scarcely anything on earth more beautiful than a Spirit-filled mind, certainly nothing more wonderful than an alert and eager mind made incandescent by the presence of the indwelling Christ.

      Since what we read in a real sense enters the soul, it is vitally important that we read the best and nothing but the best. I cannot but feel that Christians were better off before there was so much reading matter to choose from. Today we must practice sharp discipline in our reading habits. Every Christian should master the Bible, or at least spend hours and days and years trying. And always he should read his Bible, as George Muller said, "with meditation."

      After the Bible the next most valuable book for the Christian is a good hymnal. Let any young Christian spend a year prayerfully meditating on the hymns of Watts and Wesley alone and he will become a fine theologian. Then let him read a balanced diet of the Puritans and the Christian mystics. The results will be more wonderful than he could have dreamed.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article185.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 07, 2006, 12:18:23 AM
The Decline of Apocalyptic Expectation
By A.W. Tozer

      A SHORT GENERATION AGO, or about the time of the first World War, there was a feeling among gospel Christians that the end of the age was near, and many were breathless with anticipation of a new world order about to emerge.

      This new order was to be preceded by a silent return of Christ to earth, not to remain, but to raise the righteous dead to immortality and to glorify the living saints in the twinkling of an eye. These He would catch away to the marriage supper of the Lamb, while the earth meanwhile plunged into its baptism of fire and blood in the Great Tribulation. This would be relatively brief, ending dramatically with the battle of Armageddon and the triumphant return of Christ with His Bride to reign a thousand years.

      Thus the hopes and dreams of Christians were directed toward an event to be followed by a new order in which they would have a leading part. This expectation for many was so real that it quite literally determined their world outlook and way of life. One well-known and highly respected Christian leader, when handed a sum of money to pay off the mortgage on the church building, refused to use it for that purpose. Instead he used it to help send missionaries to the heathen to hasten the Lord's return. This is probably an extreme example, but it does reveal the acute apocalyptic expectation that prevailed among Christians around the time of World War I and immediately following.

      Before we condemn this as extravagant we should back off a bit and try to see the whole thing in perspective. We may be wiser now (though that is open to serious question), but those Christians had something very wonderful which we today lack. They had a unifying hope; we have none. Their activities were concentrated; ours are scattered, overlapping and often self-defeating. They fully expected to win; we are not even sure we know what "win" means. Our Christian hope has been subjected to so much examination, analysis and revision that we are embarrassed to admit that we have such a hope at all.

      And those expectant believers were not wholly wrong. They were only wrong about the time. They saw Christ's triumph as being nearer than it was, and for that reason their timing was off; but their hope itself was valid. Many of us have had the experience of misjudging the distance of a mountain toward which we were traveling. The huge bulk that loomed against the sky seemed very near, and it was hard to persuade ourselves that it was not receding as we approached. So the City of God appears so large to the minds of the world-weary pilgrim that he is sometimes the innocent victim of an optical illusion; and he may be more than a little disappointed when the glory seems to move farther away as he approaches.

      But the mountain is there; the traveler need only press on to reach it. And the Christian's hope is there too; his judgment is not always too sharp, but he is not mistaken in the long view; he will see the glory in God's own time.

      We evangelicals have become sophisticated, blasé. We have lost what someone called the "millennial component" from our Christian faith. To escape what we believe to be the slough of a mistaken hope we have detoured far out into the wilderness of complete hopelessness.

      Christians now chatter learnedly about things simple believers have always taken for granted. They are on the defensive, trying to prove things that a previous generation never doubted. We have allowed unbelievers to get us in a corner and have given them the advantage by permitting them to choose the time and place of encounter. We smart under the attack of the quasi-Christian unbeliever, and the nervous, self-conscious defense we make is called "the religious dialogue."

      Under the scornful attack of the religious critic real Christians who ought to know better are now "rethinking" their faith. Scarcely anything has escaped the analysts. With a Freudian microscope they examine everything: foreign missions, the Book of Genesis. the inspiration of the Scriptures, morals, all tried and proven methods, polygamy, liquor, sex, prayer-all have come in for inquisition by those who engage in the contemporary dialogue. Adoration has given way to celebration in the holy place, if indeed any holy place remains to this generation of confused Christians. The causes of the decline of apocalyptic expectation are many, not the least being the affluent society in which we live. If the rich man with difficulty enters the kingdom of God, then it would be logical to conclude that a society having the highest percentage of well-to-do persons in it would have the lowest percentage of Christians, all things else being equal. If the "deceitfulness of riches" chokes the Word and makes it unfruitful, then this would be the day of near-fruitless preaching, at least in the opulent West. And if surfeiting and drunkenness and worldly cares tend to unfit the Christian for the coming of Christ, then this generation of Christians should be the least prepared for that event.

      On the North American continent Christianity has become the religion of the prosperous middle and upper classes almost entirely, the very rich or the very poor rarely become practicing Christians. The touching picture of the poorly dressed, hungry saint, clutching his Bible under his arm and with the light of God shining in his face hobbling painfully toward the church, is chiefly imaginary. One of the biggest problems of even the most ardent Christian these days is to find a parking place for the shiny chariot that transports him effortlessly to the house of God where he hopes to prepare his soul for the world to come.

      In the United States and Canada the middle class today possesses more earthly goods and lives in greater luxury than emperors and maharajas did a short century ago. And since the bulk of Christians comes from this class it is not difficult to see why the apocalyptic hope has all but disappeared from among us. It is hard to focus attention upon a better world to come when a more comfortable one than this can hardly be imagined. The best we can do is to look for heaven after we have revelled for a lifetime in the luxuries of a fabulously generous earth. As long as science can make us so cozy in this present world it is hard to work up much pleasurable anticipation of a new world order.

      But affluence is only one cause of the decline of the apocalyptic hope. There are other and more important ones.

      The whole problem is a big one, a theological one, a moral one. An inadequate view of Christ may be the chief trouble. Christ has been explained, humanized, demoted. Many professed Christians no longer expect Him to usher in a new order; they are not at all sure that He is able to do so; or if He does, it will be with the help of art, education, science and technology; that is, with the help of man. This revised expectation amounts to disillusionment for many. And of course no one can become too radiantly happy over a King of kings who has been stripped of His crown or a Lord of lords who has lost His sovereignty.

Cont'd next post


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 07, 2006, 12:18:46 AM
      Another cause of the decline of expectation is hope deferred which, according to the proverb, "maketh the heart sick." The modern civilized man is impatient; he takes the short-range view of things. He is surrounded by gadgets that get things done in a hurry. He was brought up on quick oats; he likes his instant coffee; he wears drip-dry shirts and takes one-minute Polaroid snapshots of his children. His wife shops for her spring hat before the leaves are down in the fall. His new car, if he buys it after June 1, is already an old model when he brings it home. He is almost always in a hurry and can't bear to wait for anything.

      This breathless way of living naturally makes for a mentality impatient of delay, and when this man enters the kingdom of God he brings his short-range psychology with him. He finds prophecy too slow for him. His first radiant expectations soon lose their luster. He is likely to inquire, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" and when there is no immediate response he may conclude, "My lord delayeth his coming." The faith of Christ offers no buttons to push for quick service. The new order must wait the Lord's own time, and that is too much for the man in a hurry. He just gives up and becomes interested in something else.

      Another cause is eschatological confusion. The vitalizing hope of the emergence of a new world wherein dwelleth righteousness became an early casualty in the war of conflicting prophetic interpretations. Teachers of prophecy, who knew more than the prophets they claimed to teach, debated the fine points of Scripture ad infinitum while a discouraged and disillusioned Christian public shook their heads and wondered. A leader of one evangelical group told me that his denomination had recently been, in his words, "split down the middle" over a certain small point of prophetic teaching, one incidentally which had never been heard of among the children of God until about one hundred years ago.

      Certain popular views of prophecy have been discredited by events within the lifetime of some of us; a new generation of Christians cannot be blamed if their Messianic expectations are somewhat confused. When the teachers are divided, what can the pupils do?

      It should be noted that there is a vast difference between the doctrine of Christ's coming and the hope of His coming. The first we may hold without feeling a trace of the second. Indeed there are multitudes of Christians today who hold the doctrine of the second coming. What I have talked about here is that overwhelming sense of anticipation that lifts the life onto a new plane and fills the heart with rapturous optimism. This is what we today lack.

      Frankly, I do not know whether or not it is possible to recapture the spirit of anticipation that animated the Early Church and cheered the hearts of gospel Christians only a few decades ago. Certainly scolding will not bring it back, nor arguing over prophecy, nor condemning those who do not agree with us. We may do all or any of these things without arousing the desired spirit of joyous expectation. That unifying, healing, purifying hope is for the childlike, the innocent-hearted, the unsophisticated.

      Possibly nothing short of a world catastrophe that will destroy every false trust and turn our eyes once more upon the Man Christ Jesus will bring back the glorious hope to a generation that has lost it.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article186.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 08, 2006, 10:29:14 PM
Choices Reveal - and Make - Character
By A.W. Tozer

      INTO NINE WORDS, having altogether but eleven syllables, Luke packs a world of universal truth: "Being let go, they went to their own company" (Acts 4:23).

      Every normal man has a "company," however small, where he feels at home and to which he will return when he is tired of being alone. The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will. The apostles went to jail, and that is not too revealing because they went there against their will; but when they got out of jail and could go where they would they immediately went to the praying company. From this we learn a great deal about them. The choices of life, not the compulsions, reveal character.

      A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do.

      The difference between a slave society and a free one lies in the number of free acts possible in each as compared with acts of compulsion. No society is wholly slave, as none is wholly free, but in a free society the voluntary choices are at a maximum and the acts of compulsion relatively few. In the slave society the proportions are exactly reversed.

      The true character of a people is revealed in the uses it makes of its freedoms. The slave peoples do what they are told because they are not free to do what they will. It is the free nation that reveals its character by its voluntary choices. The man who "bowed by the weight of centuries . . . leans upon his hoe and gazes on the ground" when the long day's work is over is glad to get home to supper and to bed; he has little time for anything else. But in those fortunate lands where modern machinery and labor unions have given men many free hours out of every day and at least two free days out of every week, they have time to do almost anything they will. They are free to destroy themselves by their choices, and many of them are doing just that.

      There is always danger that a free nation may imperil its freedom by a series of small choices destructive of that freedom. The liberty the fathers won in blood the sons may toss away in prodigality and debilitating pleasures. Any nation which for an extended period puts pleasure before liberty is likely to lose the liberty it misused.

      In the realm of religion right choices are critically important. If we Protestant Christians would retain our freedom we dare not abuse it, and it is always to abuse freedom when we choose the easy way rather than the harder but better way. The casual indifference with which millions of Protestants view their God-blessed religious liberty is ominous. Being let go they go on weekends to the lakes and mountains and beaches to play shuffleboard, fish and sun bathe. They go where their heart is and come back to the praying company only when the bad weather drives them in. Let this continue long enough and evangelical Protestantism will be ripe for a take-over by Rome.

      The Christian gospel is a message of freedom through grace and we must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. But what shall we do with our freedom? The Apostle Paul grieved that some of the believers of his day took advantage of their freedom and indulged the flesh in the name of Christian liberty. They threw off discipline, scorned obedience and made gods of their own bellies. It is not difficult to decide which company such as these belonged to. They revealed it by the company they kept.

      Our choices reveal what kind of persons we are, but there is another side to the coin. We may by our choices also determine what kind of persons we will become. We humans are not only in a state of being, we are in a state of becoming; we are on a slow spiral moving gradually up or down. Here we move not singly but in companies, and we are drawn to these companies by the attraction of similarity.

      I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?

      The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven't too much time at the most.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article187.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 08, 2006, 10:30:05 PM
The Importance of Sound Doctrine
By A.W. Tozer

      IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. As men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles, sound character does not grow out of unsound teaching.

      The word doctrine means simply religious beliefs held and taught. It is the sacred task of all Christians, first as believers and then as teachers of religious beliefs, to be certain that these beliefs correspond exactly to truth. A precise agreement between belief and fact constitutes soundness in doctrine. We cannot afford to have less.

      The apostles not only taught truth but contended for its purity against any who would corrupt it. The Pauline epistles resist every effort of false teachers to introduce doctrinal vagaries. John's epistles are sharp with condemnation of those teachers who harassed the young church by denying the incarnation and throwing doubts upon the doctrine of the Trinity; and Jude in his brief but powerful epistle rises to heights of burning eloquence as he pours scorn upon evil teachers who would mislead the saints.

      Each generation of Christians must look to its beliefs. While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain. The human heart is heretical by nature and runs to error as naturally as a garden to weeds. All a man, a church or a denomination needs to guarantee deterioration of doctrine is to take everything for granted and do nothing. The unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly be a theological wilderness; the church or denomination that grows careless on the highway of truth will before long find itself astray, bogged down in some mud flat from which there is no escape.

      In every field of human thought and activity accuracy is considered a virtue. To err ever so slightly is to invite serious loss, if not death itself. Only in religious thought is faithfulness to truth looked upon as a fault. When men deal with things earthly and temporal they demand truth; when they come to the consideration of things heavenly and eternal they hedge and hesitate as if truth either could not be discovered or didn't matter anyway.

      Montaigne said that a liar is one who is brave toward God and a coward toward men; for a liar faces God and shrinks from men. Is this not simply a proof of unbelief? Is it not to say that the liar believes in men but is not convinced of the existence of God, and is willing to risk the displeasure of a God who may not exist rather than that of man who obviously does?

      I think also that deep, basic unbelief is back of human carelessness in religion. The scientist, the physician, the navigator deals with matters he knows are real; and because these things are real the world demands that both teacher and practitioner be skilled in the knowledge of them. The teacher of spiritual things only is required to be unsure in his beliefs, ambiguous in his remarks and tolerant of every religious opinion expressed by anyone, even by the man least qualified to hold an opinion.

      Haziness of doctrine has always been the mark of the liberal. When the Holy Scriptures are rejected as the final authority on religious belief something must be found to take their place. Historically that something has been either reason or sentiment: if sentiment, it has been humanism. Sometimes there has been an admixture of the two, as may be seen in liberal churches today. These will not quite give up the Bible, neither will they quite believe it; the result is an unclear body of beliefs more like a fog than a mountain, where anything may be true but nothing may be trusted as being certainly true.

      We have gotten accustomed to the blurred puffs of gray fog that pass for doctrine in modernistic churches and expect nothing better, but it is a cause for real alarm that the fog has begun of late to creep into many evangelical churches. From some previously unimpeachable sources are now coming vague statements consisting of a milky admixture of Scripture, science and human sentiment that is true to none of its ingredients because each one works to cancel the others out.

      Certain of our evangelical brethren appear to be laboring under the impression that they are advanced thinkers because they are rethinking evolution and reevaluating various Bible doctrines or even divine inspiration itself; but so far are they from being advanced thinkers that they are merely timid followers of modernism-fifty years behind the parade.

      Little by little evangelical Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition.

      Moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article188.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 08, 2006, 10:30:47 PM
Some Things Are Not Negotiable
By A.W. Tozer

      WILL ROGERS ONCE OPINED that a sure way to prevent war would be to abolish peace conferences.

      Of course Will, as usual, had his tongue in his cheek; he meant only to poke fun at the weak habit of substituting talk for action. Still there is more than a little uncomfortable truth in his remark.

      This above all others is the age of much talk. Hardly a day passes that the newspapers do not carry one or another of the headlines "Talks to Begin" or "Talks to Continue" or "Talks to Resume." The notion back of this endless official chatter is that all differences between men result from their failure to understand each other; if each can discover exactly what the other thinks they will find to their delight that they are really in full agreement after all. Then they have only to smile, shake hands, go home and live happily ever after.

      At the bottom of all this is the glutenous, one-world, all-men-are-brothers philosophy that has taken such hold on the minds of many of our educators and politicians. (The hardheaded realists of the Communist camp know better; maybe that is why they are makingsuch alarming advances throughout the world while the all-men-are-brothers devotees are running around in confusion, trying to keep smiling if it kills them.)

      Tolerance, charity, understanding, good will, patience and other such words and ideas are lifted from the Bible, misunderstood and applied indiscriminately to every situation. The kidnaper will not steal your baby if you only try to understand him; the burglar caught sneaking into your house with a gun is not really bad; he is just hungry for fellowship and togetherness; the gang killer taking his victim for a oneway ride can be dissuaded from committing murder if someone will only have faith in his basic goodness and have a talk with him. And this is supposed to be the teaching of Jesus, which it most certainly is not.

      The big thing now is to "keep in touch." Never let the dialogue die and never accept any decision as final; everything can be negotiated. Where there is life there is talk and where there is talk there is hope. "As long as they are talking they are not shooting at each other," say the advocates of the long palaver, and in so saying they forget Pearl Harbor.

      This yen to confer has hit the church also, which is not strange since almost everything the church is doing these days has been suggested to her by the world. I observe with pained amusement how many water boys of the pulpit in their effort to be prophets are standing up straight and tall and speaking out boldly in favor of ideas that have been previously fed into their minds by the psychiatrists, the sociologists, the novelists, the scientists and the secular educators. The ability to appraise correctly the direction public opinion is moving is a gift not to be despised; by means of it we preachers can talk loudly and still stay out of trouble.

      A new Decalogue has been adopted by the neo-Christians of our day, the first word of which reads "Thou shalt not disagree"; and a new set of Beatitudes too, which begins "Blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they shall not be made accountable for anything." It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences in public with the understanding that no one will try to convert another or point out errors in his belief. The purpose of these talks is not to confront truth, but to discover how the followers of other religions think and thus benefit from their views as we hope they will from ours.

      It is a truism that people agree to disagree only about matters they consider unimportant. No man is tolerant when it concerns his life or the life of his child, and no one will agree to negotiate over any religious matter he considers vital to his eternal welfare. Imagine Moses agreeing to take part in a panel discussion with Israel over the golden calf; or Elijah engaging in a gentlemanly dialogue with the prophets of Baal. Or try to picture our Lord Jesus Christ seeking a meeting of minds with the Pharisees to iron out differences; or Athanasius trying to rise above his differences with Arius in order to achieve union on a higher level; or Luther crawling into the presence of the pope in the name of a broader Christian fellowship.

      The desire to be liked even if not respected is a great weakness in any man's character, and in that of a minister of Jesus Christ it is a weakness wholly inexcusable. The popular image of the man of God as a smiling, congenial, asexual religious mascot whose handshake is always soft and whose head is always bobbing in the perpetual Yes of universal acquiescence is not the image found in the Scriptures of truth.

      The blessing of God is promised to the peacemaker, but the religious negotiator had better watch his step. The ability to settle quarrels between members of God's household is a heavenly gift and one that should be assiduously cultivated. The discerning soul who can reconcile separated friends by prayer and appeal to the Scriptures is worth his weight in diamonds.

      That is one thing, but the effort to achieve unity at the expense of truth and righteousness is another. To seek to be friends with those who will not be the friends of Christ is to be a traitor to our Lord. Darkness and light can never be brought together by talk. Some things are not negotiable.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article189.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 10, 2006, 01:29:15 AM
The Saint Must Walk Alone
By A.W. Tozer

      MOST OF THE WORLD'S GREAT SOULS have been lonely. Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.

      In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange darkness that came soon after the dawn of man's creation) that pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

      Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by his people.

      Again, Abraham had Sarah and Lot, as well as many servants and herdmen, but who can read his story and the apostolic comment upon it without sensing instantly that he was a man "whose soul was alike a star and dwelt apart"? As far as we know not one word did God ever speak to him in the company of men. Face down he communed with his God, and the innate dignity of the man forbade that he assume this posture in the presence of others. How sweet and solemn was the scene that night of the sacrifice when he saw the lamps of fire moving between the pieces of offering. There alone with a horror of great darkness upon him he heard the voice of God and knew that he was a man marked for divine favor.

      Moses also was a man apart. While yet attached to the court of Pharaoh he took long walks alone, and during one of these walks while far removed from the crowds he saw an Egyptian and a Hebrew fighting and came to the rescue of his countryman. After the resultant break with Egypt he dwelt in almost complete seclusion in the desert. There while he watched his sheep alone the wonder of the burning bush appeared to him, and later on the peak of Sinai he crouched alone to gaze in fascinated awe at the Presence, partly hidden, partly disclosed, within the cloud and fire.

      The prophets of pre-Christian times differed widely from each other, but one mark they bore in common was their enforced loneliness. They loved their people and gloried in the religion of the fathers, but their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their zeal for the welfare of the nation of Israel drove them away from the crowd and into long periods of heaviness. "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children," cried one and unwittingly spoke for all the rest.

      Most revealing of all is the sight of that One of whom Moses and all the prophets did write treading His lonely way to the cross, His deep loneliness unrelieved by the presence of the multitudes.

      'Tis midnight, and on Olive's brow

      The star is dimmed that lately shone;

      'Tis midnight; in the garden now,

      The suffering Saviour prays alone.

      'Tis midnight, and from all removed

      The Saviour wrestles lone with fears,

      E'en the disciple whom He loved

      Heeds not his Master's grief and tears.

      -WILLIAM B. TAPPAN

      He died alone in the darkness hidden from the sight of mortal man and no one saw Him when He arose triumphant and walked out of the tomb, though many saw Him afterward and bore witness to what they saw.

      There are some things too sacred for any eye but God's to look upon. The curiosity, the clamor, the well-meant but blundering effort to help can only hinder the waiting soul and make unlikely if not impossible the communication of the secret message of God to the worshiping heart.

      Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal experience. Right now is such a time. A certain conventional loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for the first time to say brightly, "Oh, I am never lonely. Christ said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you,' and, 'Lo, I am with you alway.' How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?"

      Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God without the support and encouragement afforded him by society. The sense of companionship which he mistakenly attributes to the presence of Christ may and probably does arise from the presence of friendly people. Always remember: you cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart. Society has turned against him; otherwise he would have no cross. No one is a friend to the man with a cross. "They all forsook him, and fled."

      The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature. God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship is completely natural and right. The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His Godgiven instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone. The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

      The man who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find. But he should not expect things to be otherwise. After all, he is a stranger and a pilgrim, and the journey he takes is not on his feet but in his heart. He walks with God in the garden of his own souland who but God can walk there with him? He is of another spirit from the multitudes that tread the courts of the Lord's house. He has seen that of which they have only heard, and he walks among them somewhat as Zacharias walked after his return from the altar when the people whispered, "He has seen a vision."

      The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Saviour glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and overserious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

      It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd that Christ is All in All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life's summum bonum.

      Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

      The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the broken-hearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world he is all the more able to help it. Meister Eckhart taught his followers that if they should find themselves in prayer as it were caught up to the third heavens and happen to remember that a poor widow needed food, they should break off the prayer instantly and go care for the widow. "God will not suffer you to lose anything by it," he told them. "You can take up again in prayer where you left off and the Lord will make it up to you." This is typical of the great mystics and masters of the interior life from Paul to the present day.

      The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful "adjustment" to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article190.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2006, 11:54:03 AM
THE MENACE OF THE RELIGIOUS MOVIE
By A.W. Tozer

      When God gave to Moses the blueprint of the Tabernacle He was careful to include every detail; then, lest Moses should get the notion that he could improve on the original plan, God warned him solemnly, "And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shown thee in the mount." God, not Moses, was the architect. To decide the plan was the prerogative of the Deity. No one dare alter it so much as a hairbreadth.

      The New Testament Church also is built after a pattern. Not the doctrines only but the methods are divinely given. The doctrines are expressly stated in so many words. Some of the methods followed by the early New Testament Church had been given by direct command; others were used by God's specific approval, having obviously been commanded the apostles by the Spirit. The point is that when the New Testament canon was closed the blueprint for the age was complete. God has added nothing since that time.

      From God's revealed plan we depart at our peril. Every departure has two consequences, the immediate and the remote. The immediate touches the individual and those close to him; the remote extends into the future to unknown times, and may expand so far as to influence for evil the whole Church of God on earth.

      The temptation to introduce "new" things into the work of God has always been too strong for some people to resist. The Church has suffered untold injury at the hands of well intentioned but misguided persons who have felt that they know more about running God's work than Christ and His apostles did. A solid train of box cars would not suffice to haul away the religious rubbish which has been brought into the service of the Church with the hope of improving on the original pattern. These things have been, one and all, positive hindrances to the progress of the Truth, and have so altered the divinely-planned structure that the apostles, were they to return to earth today, would scarcely recognize the misshapen thing which has resulted.

      Our Lord while on earth cleansed the Temple, and periodic cleansings have been necessary in the Church of God throughout the centuries. Every generation is sure to have its ambitious amateur to come up with some shiny gadget which he proceeds to urge upon the priests before the altar. That the Scriptures do not justify its existence does not seem to bother him at all. It is brought in anyway and presented in the very name of Orthodoxy. Soon it is identified in the minds of the Christian public with all that is good and holy. Then, of course, to attack the gadget is to attack the Truth itself. This is an old familiar technique so often and so long practiced by the devotees of error that I marvel how the children of God can be taken in by it.

      We of the evangelical faith are in the rather awkward position of criticizing Roman Catholicism for its weight of unscriptural impedimenta and at the same time tolerating in our own churches a world of religious fribble as bad as holy water or the elevated host. Heresy of method may be as deadly as heresy of message. Old-line Protestantism has long ago been smothered to death by extra-scriptural rubbish. Unless we of the gospel churches wake up soon we shall most surely die by the same means.

      Within the last few years a new method has been invented for imparting spiritual knowledge; or, to be more accurate, it is not new at all, but is an adaptation of a gadget of some years standing, one which by its origin and background belongs not to the Church but to the world. Some within the fold of the Church have thrown their mantle over it, have "blessed it with a text" and are now trying to show that it is the very gift of God for our day. But, however eloquent the sales talk, it is an unauthorized addition nevertheless, and was never a part of the pattern shown us on the mount.

      I refer, of course, to the religious movie.

      For the motion picture as such I have no irrational allergy. It is a mechanical invention merely and is in its essence amoral; that is, it is neither good nor bad, but neutral. With any physical object or any creature lacking the power of choice it could not be otherwise. Whether such an object is useful or harmful depends altogether upon who uses it and what he uses it for. No moral quality attaches where there is no free choice. Sin and righteousness lie in the will. The motion picture is in the same class as the automobile, the typewriter, or the radio: a powerful instrument for good or evil, depending upon how it is applied.

      For teaching the facts of physical science the motion picture has been useful. The public schools have used it successfully to teach health habits to children. The army employed it to speed up instruction during war. That it has been of real service within its limited field is freely acknowledged here.

      Over against this is the fact that the motion picture in evil hands has been a source of moral corruption to millions. No one who values his reputation as a responsible adult will deny that the sex movie and the crime movie have done untold injury to the lives of countless young people in our generation. The harm lies not in the instrument itself, but in the evil will of those who use it for their own selfish ends.

      These pictures are produced by acting a religious story before the camera. Take for example the famous and beautiful story of the Prodigal Son. This would be made into a movie by treating the narrative as a scenario. Stage scenery would be set up, actors would take the roles of Father, Prodigal Son, Elder Brother, etc. There would be plot, sequence and dramatic denouement as in the ordinary tear jerker shown at the Bijou movie house on Main Street in any one of a thousand American towns. The story would be acted out, photographed, run onto reels and shipped around the country to be shown for a few wherever desired.

      The "service" where such a movie would be shown might seem much like any other service until time for the message from the Word of God. Then the lights would be put out and the picture turned on. The "message" would consist of this movie. What followed the picture would, of course, vary with the circumstances, but often an invitation song is sung and a tender appeal is made for erring sinners to return to God.

      Now, what is wrong with all this? Why should any man object to this or go out of his way to oppose its use in the house of God? Here is my answer:

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2006, 11:55:42 AM
     1. It violates the scriptural law of hearing.

      The power of speech is a noble gift of God. In his ability to open his mouth and by means of words make his fellows know what is going on inside his mind, a man shares one of the prerogatives of the Creator. In its ability to understand the spoken word the human mind rises unique above all the lower creation. The gift which enables a man to translate abstract ideas into sounds is a badge of his honor as made in the image of God.

      Written or printed words are sound symbols and are translated by the mind into hearing. Hieroglyphics and ideograms were the first symbols used to represent ideas. These ideograms were, in effect, not pictures but letters, and the letters were agreed-upon ideas. Thus words, whether spoken or written, are a medium for the communication of ideas. This is basic in human nature and stems from our divine origin.

      It is significant that when God gave to mankind His great redemptive revelation He couched it in words. "And God spake all these words" very well sums up the Bible's own account of how it got here. "Thus saith the Lord" is the constant refrain of the prophets. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," said our Lord to His hearers. Again He said, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life." Paul made words and faith to be inseparable: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." And he also said, "How shall they hear without a preacher?"

      Surely it requires no genius to see that the Bible rules out pictures and dramatics as media for bringing faith and life to the human soul.

      The plain fact is that no vital spiritual truth can be expressed by a picture. Actually all any picture can do is to recall to mind some truth already learned through the familiar medium of the spoken or written word. Religious instruction and words are bound together by a living cord and cannot be separated without fatal loss. The Spirit Himself, teaching soundlessly within the heart, makes use of ideas previously received into the mind by means of words.

      If I am reminded that modern religious movies are "sound" pictures, making use of the human voice to augment the dramatic action, the answer is easy. Just as far as the movie depends upon spoken words it makes pictures unnecessary; the picture is the very thing that differentiates between the movie and the sermon. The movie addresses its message primarily to the eye, and the ear only incidentally. Were the message addressed to the ear as in the Scriptures, the picture would have no meaning and could be omitted without loss to the intended effect. Words can say all that God intends them to say, and this they can do without the aid of pictures.

      According to one popular theory the mind receives through the eye five times as much information as the ear. As far as the external shell of physical facts is concerned this may hold good, but when we come to spiritual truth we are in another world entirely. In that world the outer eye is not too important. God addresses His message to the hearing ear. "We look," says Paul, "not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." This agrees with the whole burden of the the Bible, which teaches us that we should withdraw our eyes from beholding visible things, and fasten the eyes of our hearts upon God while we reverently listen to His uttered words.

      "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach." Here, and not somewhere else, is the New Testament pattern, and no human being, and no angel from heaven has any right to alter that pattern.

      2. The religious movie embodies the mischievous notion that religion is, or can be made, a form of entertainment.

      This notion has come upon us lately like a tidal wave and is either openly taught or tacitly assumed by increasing numbers of people. Since it is inextricably bound up with the subject under discussion I had better say more about it.

      The idea that religion should be entertaining has made some radical changes in the evangelical picture within this generation. It has given us not only the "gospel" movie but a new type of religious journalism as well. It has created a new kind of magazine for church people, which can be read from cover to cover without effort, without thought---and without profit. It has also brought a veritable flood of religious fiction with plastic heroines and bloodless heroes like no one who has ever lived upon this well known terrestrial ball.

      That religion and amusement are forever opposed to each other by their very essential natures is apparently not known to this new school of religious entertainers. Their effort to slip up on the reader and administer a quick shot of saving truth while his mind is on something else is not only futile, it is, in fact, not too far short of being plain dishonest. The hope that they can convert a man while he is occupied with the doings of some imaginary hero reminds one of the story of the Catholic missionary who used to sneak up on sick people and children and splash a little holy water on them to guarantee their passage to the city of gold.

      I believe that most responsible religious teachers will agree that any effort to teach spiritual truth through entertainment is at best futile and at worst positively injurious to the soul. But entertainment pays off, and the economic consideration is always a powerful one in deciding what shall and what shall not be offered to the public---even in the churches.

      Deep spiritual experiences come only from much study, earnest prayer and long meditation. It is true that men by thinking cannot find God; it is also true that men cannot know God very well without a lot of reverent thinking. Religious movies, by appealing directly to the shallowest stratum of our minds, cannot but create bad mental habits which unfit the soul for the reception of genuine spiritual impressions.

      Religious movies are mistakenly thought by some people to be blessed of the Lord because many come away from them with moist eyes. If this is a proof of God's blessing, then we might as well go the whole way and assert that every show that brings tears is of God. Those who attend the theater know how often the audiences are moved to tears by the joys and sorrows of the highly paid entertainers who kiss and emote and murder and die for the purpose of exciting the spectators to a high pitch of emotional excitement. Men and women who are dedicated to sin and appointed to death may nevertheless weep in sympathy for the painted actors and be not one bit the better for it. The emotions have had a beautiful time, but the will is left untouched. The religious movie is sure to draw together a goodly number of persons who cannot distinguish the twinges of vicarious sympathy from the true operations of the Holy Ghost.

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2006, 12:01:12 PM
      3. The religious movie is a menace to true religion because it embodies acting, a violation of sincerity.

      Without doubt the most precious thing any man possesses is his individuated being; that by which he is himself and not someone else; that which cannot be finally voided by the man himself nor shared with another. Each one of us, however humble our place in the social scheme, is unique in creation. Each is a new whole man possessing his own separate "I-ness" which makes him forever something apart, an individual human being. It is this quality of uniqueness which permits a man to enjoy every reward of virtue and makes him responsible for every sin. It is his selfness, which will persist forever, and which distinguishes him from every creature which has been or ever will be created.

      Because man is such a being as this all moral teachers, and especially Christ and His apostles, make sincerity to be basic in the good life. The word, as the New Testament uses it, refers to the practice of holding fine pottery up to the sun to test it for purity. In the white light of the sun all foreign substances were instantly exposed. So the test of sincerity is basic in human character. The sincere man is one in whom is found nothing foreign; he is all of one piece; he has preserved his individuality unviolated.

      Sincerity for each man means staying in character with himself. Christ's controversy with the Pharisees centered around their incurable habit of moral play acting. The Pharisee constantly pretended to be what he was not. He attempted to vacate his own "I-ness" and appear in that of another and better man. He assumed a false character and played it for effect. Christ said he was a hypocrite.

      It is more than an etymological accident that the word "hypocrite" comes from the stage. It means actor. With that instinct for fitness which usually marks word origins, it has been used to signify one who has violated his sincerity and is playing a false part. An actor is one who assumes a character other than his own and plays it for effect. The more fully he can become possessed by another personality the better he is as an actor.

      Bacon has said something to the effect that there are some professions of such nature that the more skillfully a man can work at them the worse man he is. That perfectly describes the profession of acting. Stepping out of our own character for any reason is always dangerous, and may be fatal to the soul. However innocent his intentions, a man who assumes a false character has betrayed his own soul and has deeply injured something sacred within him.

      No one who has been in the presence of the Most Holy One, who has felt how high is the solemn privilege of bearing His image, will ever again consent to play a part or to trifle with that most sacred thing, his own deep sincere heart. He will thereafter be constrained to be no one but himself, to preserve reverently the sincerity of his own soul.

      In order to produce a religious movie someone must, for the time, disguise his individuality and simulate that of another. His actions must be judged fraudulent, and those who watch them with approval share in the fraud. To pretend to pray, to simulate godly sorrow, to play at worship before the camera for effect---how utterly shocking to the reverent heart! How can Christians who approve this gross pretense ever understand the value of sincerity as taught by our Lord? What will be the end of a generation of Christians fed on such a diet of deception disguised as the faith of our fathers?

      The plea that all this must be good because it is done for the glory of God is a gossamer-thin bit of rationalizing which should not fool anyone above the mental age of six. Such an argument parallels the evil rule of expediency which holds the end is everything, and sanctifies the means, however evil, if only the end be commendable. The wise student of history will recognize this immoral doctrine. The Spirit-led Church will have no part of it.

      It is not uncommon to find around the theater human flotsam and jetsam washed up by the years, men and women who have played false parts so long that the power to be sincere has forever gone from them. They are doomed to everlasting duplicity. Every act of their lives is faked, every smile is false, every tone of their voice artificial. The curse does not come causeless. It is not by chance that the actor's profession has been notoriously dissolute. Hollywood and Broadway are two sources of corruption which may yet turn America into a Sodom and lay her glory in the dust.

      The profession of acting did not originate with the Hebrews. It is not a part of the divine pattern. The Bible mentions it, but never approves it. Drama, as it has come down to us, had its rise in Greece. It was originally a part of the worship of the god Dionysus and was carried on with drunken revelry.

      The Miracle Plays of medieval times have been brought forward to justify the modern religious movie. That is an unfortunate weapon to choose for the defense of the movie, for it will surely harm the man who uses it more than any argument I could think of just offhand.

      The Miracle Plays had their big run in the Middle Ages. They were dramatic performances with religious themes staged for the entertainment of the populace. At their best they were misguided efforts to teach spiritual truths by dramatic representation; at their worst they were shockingly irreverent and thoroughly reprehensible. In some of them the Eternal God was portrayed as an old man dressed in white with a gilt wig! To furnish low comedy, the devil himself was introduced on the stage and allowed to cavort for the amusement of the spectators. Bible themes were used, as in the modern movie, but this did not save the whole thing from becoming so corrupt that the Roman Church had finally to prohibit its priests from having any further part in it.

      Those who would appeal for precedent to the Miracle Plays have certainly overlooked some important facts. For instance, the vogue of the Miracle Play coincided exactly with the most dismally corrupt period the Church has ever known. When the Church emerged at last from its long moral night these plays lost popularity and finally passed away. And be it remembered, the instrument God used to bring the Church out of the darkness was not drama; it was the biblical one of Spirit-baptized preaching. Serious-minded men thundered the truth and the people turned to God.

      Indeed, history will show that no spiritual advance, no revival, no upsurge of spiritual life has ever been associated with acting in any form. The Holy Spirit never honors pretense.

      Can it be that the historic pattern is being repeated? That the appearance of the religious movie is symptomatic of the low state of spiritual health we are in today? I fear so. Only the absence of the Holy Spirit from the pulpit and lack of true discernment on the part of professing Christians can account for the spread of religious drama among so-called evangelical churches. A Spirit-filled church could not tolerate it.

     4. They who present the gospel movie owe it to the public to give biblical authority for their act: and this they have not done.

      The Church, as long as it is following the Lord, goes along in Bible ways and can give a scriptural reason for its conduct. Its members meet at stated times to pray together: This has biblical authority back of it. They gather to hear the Word of God expounded: this goes back in almost unbroken continuity to Moses. They sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs: so they are commanded by the apostle. They visit the sick and relieve the sufferings of the poor: for this they have both precept and example in Holy Writ. They lay up their gifts and bring them at stated times to the church or chapel to be used in the Lord's work: this also follows the scriptural pattern. They teach and train and instruct; they appoint teachers and pastors and missionaries and send them out to do the work for which the Spirit has gifted them: all this has plain scriptural authority behind it.

      Now, for the religious movie where is the authority? For such a serious departure from the ancient pattern, where is the authority? For introducing into the Church the pagan art of acting, where is the authority? Let the movie advocates quote just one verse, from any book of the Bible, in any translation, to justify its use. This they cannot do. The best they can do is to appeal to the world's psychology or repeat brightly that "modern times call for modern methods." But the Scriptures---quote from them one verse to authorize movie acting as an instrument of the Holy Ghost. This they cannot do.

      Every sincere Christian must find scriptural authority for the religious movie or reject it, and every producer of such movies, if he would square himself before the faces of honest and reverent men, must either show scriptural credentials or go out of business.

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2006, 12:02:37 PM
      But, says someone, there is nothing unscriptural about the religious movie; it is merely a new medium for the utterance of the old message, as printing is a newer and better method of writing and the radio an amplification of familiar human speech.

      To this I reply: The movie is not the modernization or improvement of any scriptural method; rather it is a medium in itself wholly foreign to the Bible and altogether unauthorized therein. It is play acting---just that, and nothing more. It is the introduction into the work of God of that which is not neutral, but entirely bad. The printing press is neutral; so is the radio; so is the camera. They may be used for good or bad purposes at the will of the user. But play acting is bad in its essence in that it involves the simulation of emotions not actually felt. It embodies a gross moral contradiction in that it calls a lie to the service of truth.

      Arguments for the religious movie are sometimes clever and always shallow, but there is never any real attempt to cite scriptural authority. Anything that can be said for the movie can be said also for aesthetic dancing, which is a highly touted medium for teaching religious truth by appeal to the eye. Its advocates grow eloquent in its praise---but where is it indicated in the blueprint?

      5. God has ordained four methods only by which Truth shall prevail---and the religious movie is not one of them.

      Without attempting to arrange these methods in order of importance, they are prayer, song, proclamation of the message by means of words, and good works. These are the four main methods which God has blessed. All other biblical methods are sub-divisions of these and stay within their framework.

      The whole preach-the gospel-with-movies idea is founded upon the same basic assumptions as Modernism, namely, that the Word of God is not final, and that we of this day have a perfect right to add to it or alter it wherever we think we can improve it.

      A brazen example of this attitude came to my attention recently. Preliminary printed matter has been sent out announcing that a new organization is in process of being formed. It is to be called the "International Radio and Screen Artists Guild," and one of its two major objectives is to promote the movie as a medium for the spread of the gospel. Its sponsors, apparently, are not Modernists, but confessed Fundamentalists. Some of its declared purposes are: to produce movies "with or without a Christians slant"; to raise and maintain higher standards in the movie field (this would be done, it says here, by having "much prayer" with leaders of the movie industry); to "challenge people, especially young people, to those fields as they are challenged to go to foreign fields."

      This last point should not be allowed to pass without some of us doing a little challenging on our own account. Does this new organization actually propose in seriousness to add another gift to the gifts of the Spirit listed in the New Testament? To the number of the Spirit's gifts, such as pastor, teacher, evangelist, is there now to be added another, the gift of the movie actor? Instead of the Holy Spirit saying, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them," these people will make use of what they call a "Christian talent listing," to consist of the names of "Christian" actors who have received the Spirit's gift to be used in making religious movies.

      Thus the order set up in the New Testament is openly violated, and by professed lovers of the gospel who say unto Jesus, "Lord, Lord," but openly set aside His Lordship whenever they desire. No amount of smooth talk can explain away this serious act of insubordination.

      Saul lost a kingdom when he "forced" himself and took profane liberties with the priesthood. Let these movie preachers look to their crown. They may find themselves on the road to Endor some dark night soon.

 6. The religious movie is out of harmony with the whole spirit of the Scriptures and contrary to the mood of true Godliness.

      To harmonize the spirit of the religious movie with the spirit of the Sacred Scriptures is impossible. Any comparison is grotesque and, if it were not so serious, would be downright funny. Try to imagine Elijah appearing before Ahab with a roll of film! Imagine Peter standing up at Pentecost and saying, "Let's have the lights out, please." When Jeremiah hesitated to prophesy, on the plea that he was not a fluent speaker, God touched his mouth and said, "I have put my words in thy mouth." Perhaps Jeremiah could have gotten on well enough without the divine touch if he had had a good 16mm projector and a reel of home-talent film.

      Let a man dare to compare his religious movie show with the spirit of the Book of Acts. Let him try to find a place for it in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. If he cannot see the difference in kind, then he is too blind to be trusted with leadership in the Church of the Living God. The only thing that he can do appropriate to the circumstances is to drop to his knees and cry with poor Bartimaeus, "Lord, that I might receive my sight."

      But some say, "We do not propose to displace the regular method of preaching the gospel. We only want to supplement it." To this I answer: If the movie is needed to supplement anointed preaching it can only be because God's appointed method is inadequate and the movie can do something which God's appointed method cannot do. What is that thing? We freely grant that the movie can produce effects which preaching cannot produce (and which it should never try to produce), but dare we strive for such effects in the light of God's revealed will and in the face of the judgment and a long eternity?

Cont'd next post.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2006, 12:03:06 PM
      7. I am against the religious movie because of the harmful effect upon everyone associated with it.

      First, the evil effect upon the "actors" who play the part of the various characters in the show; this is not the less because it is unsuspected. Who can, while in a state of fellowship with God, dare to play at being a prophet? Who has the gall to pretend to be an apostle, even in a show? Where is his reverence? Where is his fear? Where is his humility? Any one who can bring himself to act a part for any purpose, must first have grieved the Spirit and silenced His voice within the heart. Then the whole business will appear good to him. "He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside." But he cannot escape the secret working of the ancient laws of the soul. Something high and fine and grand will die within him; and worst of all he will never suspect it. That is the curse that follows self-injury always. The Pharisees were examples of this. They were walking dead men, and they never dreamed how dead they were.

      Secondly, it identifies religion with the theatrical world. I have seen recently in a Fundamentalist magazine an advertisement of a religious film which would be altogether at home on the theatrical page on any city newspaper. Illustrated with the usual sex-bate picture of a young man and young woman in tender embrace, and spangled with such words as "feature-length, drama, pathos, romance," it reeked of Hollywood and the cheap movie house. By such business we are selling out our Christian separation, and nothing but grief can come of it late or soon.

      Thirdly, the taste for drama which these pictures develop in the minds of the young will not long remain satisfied with the inferior stuff the religious movie can offer. Our young people will demand the real thing; and what can we reply when they ask why they should not patronize the regular movie house?

      Fourthly, the rising generation will naturally come to look upon religion as another, and inferior, form of amusement. In fact, the present generation has done this to an alarming extent already, and the gospel movie feeds the notion by fusing religion and fun in the name of orthodoxy. It takes no great insight to see that the religious movie must become increasingly more thrilling as the tastes of the spectators become more and more stimulated.

      Fifthly, the religious movie is the lazy preacher's friend. If the present vogue continues to spread it will not be long before any man with enough ability to make an audible prayer, and mentality enough to focus a projector, will be able to pass for a prophet of the Most High God. The man of God can play around all week long and come up to the Lord's Day without a care. Everything has been done for him at the studio. He has only to set up the screen and lower the lights, and the rest follows painlessly.

      Wherever the movie is used the prophet is displaced by the projector. The least that such displaced prophets can do is to admit that they are technicians and not preachers. Let them admit that they are not God-sent men, ordained of God for a sacred work. Let them put away their pretense.

      In conclusion

      One thing may bother some earnest souls: why so many good people approve the religious movie. If it is an evil, why have not these denounced it?

      The answer is, lack of spiritual discernment. Many who are turning to the movie are the same who have, by direct teaching or by neglect, discredited the work of the Holy Spirit. They have apologized for the Spirit and so hedged Him in by their unbelief that it has amounted to an out-and-out repudiation. Now we are paying the price for our folly. The light has gone out and good men are forced to stumble around in the darkness of the human intellect.

      The religious movie is at present undergoing a period of gestation and seems about to swarm over the churches like a cloud of locusts out of the earth. The figure is accurate; they are coming from below, not from above. The whole modern psychology has been prepared for this invasion of insects. The Fundamentalists have become weary of manna and are longing for red flesh. What they are getting is a sorry substitute for the lusty and uninhibited pleasures of the world, and it saves face by pretending to be spiritual.

      Let us not for the sake of peace keep still while men without spiritual insight dictate the diet upon which God's children shall feed. The religious movie represents amateurism gone wild. Unity among professing Christians is to be desired, but not at the expense of righteousness. It is good to go with the flock, but I refuse mutely to follow a misled flock over a precipice.

      If God has given wisdom to see the error of religious shows we owe it to the Church to oppose them openly. We dare not take refuge in "guilty silence." Error is not silent; it is highly vocal and amazingly aggressive. We dare not be less so.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article314.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 13, 2006, 03:04:28 AM
Desire and the End of the Age
By A.W. Tozer

      It is precisely the "yearning" and the "fainting" for the return of Christ that has distinguished the personal hope from the theological one. Mere acquaintance with correct doctrine is a poor substitute for Christ, and familiarity with New Testament eschatology will never take the place of a love-inflamed desire to look on his face.
      If the tender yearning is gone from the advent hope today, there must be a reason for it; and I think I know what it is, or what they are, for there are a number of them. One is simply that popular fundamentalist theology has emphasized the utility of the cross rather than the beauty of the one who died on it. The saved man's relation to Christ has been made contractual instead of personal. The "work" of Christ has been stressed until it has eclipsed the person of Christ. Substitution has been allowed to supersede identification. What he did for me seems to be more important than what He is to me. Redemption is seen as an across-the-counter transaction which we "accept", and the whole thing lacks emotional content. We must love someone very much to stay awake and long for his coming, and that may explain the absence of power in the advent hope even among those who still believe in it.

      Another reason for the absence of real yearning for Christ's return is that Christians are so comfortable in this world that they have little desire to leave it. For those leaders who set the pace of religion and determine its content and quality, Christianity has become of late remarkably lucrative. The streets of gold do not have too great an appeal for those who find it so easy to pile up gold and silver in the service of the Lord here on earth. We all want to reserve the hope of heaven as a kind of insurance against the day of death, but as long as we are healthy and comfortable, why change a familiar good for something about which we know very little? So reasons the carnal mind, and so subtly that we are scarcely aware of it.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article315.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 13, 2006, 03:06:21 AM
The Cross is a Radical Thing
By A.W. Tozer

      The cross of Christ is the most revolutionary thing ever to appear among men.
      The cross of the Roman times knew no compromise; it never made concessions. It won all its arguments by killing its opponent and silencing him for good. It spared not Christ, by slew Him the same as the rest. He was alive when they hung Him on that cross and completely dead when they took him down six hours later. That was the cross the first time it appeared in Christian history.

      After Christ was risen from the dead the apostles went out to preach His message, and what they preached was the cross. And wherever they went into the wide world they carried the cross, and the same revolutionary power went with them. The radical message of the cross transformed Saul of Tarsus and changed him from a persecutor of Christians to a tender believer and an apostle of the faith. Its power changed bad men into good ones. It shook off the long bondage of paganism and altered completely the whole moral and mental outlook of the Western world.

      All this it did and continued to do as long as it was permitted to remain what it had been originally, a cross. Its power departed when it was changed from a thing of death to a thing of beauty. When men made of it a symbol, hung it around their necks as an ornament or made its outline before their faces as a magic sign to ward off evil, then it became at best a weak emblem, at worst a positive fetish. As such it is revered today by millions who know absolutely nothing about its power.

      The cross effects its ends by destroying one established pattern, the victim's, and creating another pattern, its own. Thus it always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible.

      With perfect knowledge of all this Christ said:

      Luke 9:23 (NIV) "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

      So the cross not only brings Christ's life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer's life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins.
      This, and nothing less, is true Christianity, though we cannot but recognize the sharp divergence of this conception from that held by the rank and file of evangelicals today. But we dare not qualify our position. The cross stands high above the opinions of men and to that cross all opinions must come at last for judgment. A shallow and worldly leadership would modify the cross to please the entertainment-mad saintlings who will have their fun even within the very sanctuary; but to do so is to court spiritual disaster and risk the anger of the Lamb turned Lion.

      We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do--flee it or die upon it. And if we should be so foolhardy as to flee we shall by that act put away the faith of our fathers and make of Christianity something other than it is. Then we shall have left only the empty language of salvation; the power will depart with our departure from the true cross.

      If we are wise we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our lives to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless life. And we shall find that it is more than poetry, more than sweet hymnody and elevated feeling. The cross will cut into where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to an end. Only then can we rise in fullness of life to establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works.

      The changed attitude toward the cross that we see in modern orthodoxy proves not that God has changed, nor that Christ has eased up on His demand that we carry the cross; it means rather that current Christianity has moved away from the standards of the New Testament. So far have we moved indeed that it may take nothing short of a new reformation to restore the cross to its right place in the theology and life of the Church.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article316.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 18, 2006, 01:39:23 AM
Time with God
By A.W. Tozer

      Moses was dead, but the God of Moses still lived. Nothing had changed and nothing had been lost. Nothing of God dies when a man of God dies.

      Here we acknowledge (and there is fear and wonder in the thought) the essential unity of God's nature, the timeless persistence of His changeless Being through out eternity and time. Here we begin to see and feel the Eternal Continuum. Begin where we will, God is there first. He is Alpha and Omega.

      . . . . I am often caused to wish that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short easy lessons; but such wishes are vain. No short cut exists. God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. It is well that we accept the hard truth now: the man who would know God must give time to Him. He must count no time wasted which is spent in the cultivation of His acquaintance.

      We talk of Him much and loudly, but we secretly think of Him as being absent, and we think of ourselves as inhabiting a parenthetic interval between the God who was and the God who will be. And we are lonely with an ancient and cosmic loneliness. We are each like a little child lost in a crowded market, who has strayed but a few feet from its mother, yet because she cannot be seen the child is inconsolable. So we try by every method devised . . . to relieve our fears and heal our hidden sadness; but with all our efforts we remain unhappy still, with the settled despair of men alone in a vast and deserted universe. (A. W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest, pp. 21-23).

      And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. . . . And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are (John 17:3, 11).

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article322.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 21, 2006, 01:49:12 AM
Growing Despite the Obstacles
By A.W. Tozer

      A lifetime of observation, Bible reading and prayer has led to the conclusion that the only thing that can hinder a Christian's progress is the Christian himself.
      The true child of God can live and grow in circumstances that are wholly unfavorable to such life and growth. Outward circumstances can help little or none in a Christian's spiritual life. The whole philosophy of the spiritual way requires us to believe this.

      For this reason, it is always bad to blame anyone or anything for our spiritual or moral failures. God has so ordered things that His children may grow as successfully in the middle of a desert as in the most fruitful land. It is necessary that this should be so, seeing that the very world itself is a field where nothing good can grow except by some kind of miracle. The old hymn asks the rhetorical question, "Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?" And the implied answer is no. Grace operates without the help of the world.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article3223.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 21, 2006, 01:50:15 AM
The Danger of Misplaced Commitment
By A.W. Tozer

      Faith in Jesus is not commitment to your church or denomination. I believe in the local church; I am not a tabernacle man. I believe in the divine assembly. We ought to realize that we are, as a group of Christians, a divine assembly, a cell in the body of Christ, alive with His life. But not for one second would I try to create in you a faith that would lead you to commit yourself irrevocably to a local church or to your church leaders. You are not asked to follow your church leaders. You are not asked like a little robin on the nest to open your innocent little mouth and just take anything I put in. If what I put in is not biblical food, regurgitate and do not be afraid to do it. Call me or come see me or write me an anonymous letter. But do something about it. Do not, by any means, swallow what your leaders give you. Here is the book, the Bible; go to it. Faith is faith in Jesus Christ, God"s Son. It is total faith in Christ and not in a denomination or church, though you may love the church and respect and love your leaders and your denomination. But your commitment is to Christ.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article5038.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 21, 2006, 01:50:55 AM
If God Is
By A.W. Tozer

      We being what we are and all things else being what they are, the most important and profitable study any of us can engage in is without question the study of theology. That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates rather that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up. They sense their deep alienation from God and only manage to live at peace with themselves by forgetting that they are not at peace with God. If there were no God, things would be quite otherwise with us. Were there no one to whom we must finally render up account, at least one big load would be gone from our minds. We would only need to live within the law, not too hard a task in most countries, and there would be nothing to fear. But if God indeed created the earth and placed man upon it in a state of moral probation, then the heavy obligation lies upon us to learn the will of God and do it.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article5147.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 21, 2006, 01:51:55 AM
Mature Living
By A.W. Tozer

      The absence of spiritual devotion today is an omen and a portent. The modern church is all but contemptuous of the sober virtues--meekness, modesty, humility, quietness, obedience, self-effacement, patience. To be accepted now, religion must be in the popular mood. Consequently, much religious activity reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain and devotion to trivial pleasures.
      It behooves us to take all this seriously. Time is running out for all of us. What is done must be done quickly. We have no right to lie idly by and let things take their course. A farmer who neglects his farm will soon lose it; a shepherd who fails to look after his flock will find the wolves looking after it for him. A misbegotten charity that allows the wolves to destroy the flock is not charity at all but indifference, rather, and should be known for what it is and dealt with accordingly.

      It is time for Bible-believing Christians to begin to cultivate the sober graces and to live among men like sons of God and heirs of the ages. And this will take more than a bit of doing, for the whole world and a large part of the church is set to prevent it. But if God be for us, who can be against us?

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4652.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 22, 2006, 01:19:43 AM
Selective Scripture Screening
By A.W. Tozer

       Heresy is not so much rejecting as selecting. The heretic simply selects the parts of the Scripture he wants to emphasize and lets the rest go.
      This is shown by the etymology of the word heresy and by the practice of the heretic. "Beware," an editorial scribe of the fourteenth century warned his readers in the preface to a book. "Beware thou take not one thing after thy affection and liking, and leave another: for that is the condition of an heretique. But take everything with other." The old scribe knew well how prone we are to take to ourselves those parts of the truth that please us and ignore the other parts. And that is heresy.

      Almost every cult with which we have any acquaintance practices this art of selecting and ignoring. The no-hell cults, for example, habitually stress everything in the Bible that seems to support their position and play down or explain away all the passages that deal with eternal punishment.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4653.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 22, 2006, 01:21:05 AM
THE WINSOME SAINTS
By A.W. Tozer

      Much of Christianity overlooks the fact that if we are led by the Spirit of God and if we show forth the love of God this world needs, we become the "winsome saints." The strange and wonderful thing about it is that truly winsome and loving saints do not even know about their attractiveness. The great saints of the past did not know they were great saints. If someone had told them, they would not have believed it, but those around then knew that Jesus was living His life in them. I think we join the winsome saints when God's purposes in Christ become clear to us. We join them when we begin to worship God because He is who He is! Brethren, God is not a charity case-He is not some frustrated foreman who cannot find enough help. Let us remember that God has never actually needed any of us-not one! But we pretend that He does and we make a big thing of it when someone agrees "to work for the Lord." God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us-to worship and to enjoy Him forever!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4657.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 22, 2006, 01:21:51 AM
UNWILLING TO YIELD
By A.W. Tozer

       I know there are people who hear me preach regularly who will never consider changing their way of living They will go 'underground' before they will do that! Our situation is not an isolated case. There are millions of men and women with an understanding of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, who are still not willing to receive and commit themselves to Him whom the very angels and stars and rivers receive. They hesitate and they delay because they know God is asking the abdication of their own selfish little kingdom and interests. This is the tragedy of mankind, my brethren! We have rejected Him from our lives because we must have our own way. But until Jesus Christ is sincerely received, there can be no knowledge of salvation, nor any understanding of the things of God. The little, selfish, sinful man rejects the Son of God. While he is still enumerating the things he deserves, the Son of God stands outside. My brethren, I repeat: this is the great tragedy of mankind!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4654.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 22, 2006, 01:22:37 AM
A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE
By A.W. Tozer

       I am being very frank about this and I hope I am being helpful: do not ever say you are not right with God because you like some people better than others! I believe you can be right with God and still not like the way some people behave. It is easy to love those who are the friendly; others rub us the wrong way or perhaps they cut us down. The writer to the Hebrews has appealed to us as Christian believers to "let brotherly love continue" -- in other words, "never stop loving one another in the Lord." Here is what I have found: it is possible to love people in the Lord even though you may not like their boorish or distasteful human traits. We still love them for Jesus' sake! Yes, I believe you can be right with God and still not like the way some people behave. Our admonition is to love them in a larger and more comprehensive way because we are all one in Christ Jesus. This kind of love is indeed a Christian virtue!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4655.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 22, 2006, 01:23:19 AM
"TOWARD THE MARK"
By A.W. Tozer

      It is one of the devil's oldest tricks to discourage Christian believers by causing them to look back at what they once were. It is indeed the enemy of our souls who makes us forget that we are never at the end of God's love. No one will make progress with God until the eyes are lifted to the faithfulness of God and we stop looking at ourselves! Our instructions in the New Testament all add up to the necessity of looking forward in faith-and not spending our time looking back or just looking within. Brethren, our Lord is more than able to take care of our past. He pardons instantly and forgives completely, and his blood makes us worthy! The goodness of God is infinitely more wonderful than we will ever be able to comprehend. If the "root of the matter" is in you and you are born again, God is prepared to start with you where you are!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4656.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 26, 2006, 03:19:42 AM
THE WINSOME SAINTS
By A.W. Tozer

      Much of Christianity overlooks the fact that if we are led by the Spirit of God and if we show forth the love of God this world needs, we become the "winsome saints." The strange and wonderful thing about it is that truly winsome and loving saints do not even know about their attractiveness. The great saints of the past did not know they were great saints. If someone had told them, they would not have believed it, but those around then knew that Jesus was living His life in them. I think we join the winsome saints when God's purposes in Christ become clear to us. We join them when we begin to worship God because He is who He is! Brethren, God is not a charity case-He is not some frustrated foreman who cannot find enough help. Let us remember that God has never actually needed any of us-not one! But we pretend that He does and we make a big thing of it when someone agrees "to work for the Lord." God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us-to worship and to enjoy Him forever!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4657.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 26, 2006, 03:20:53 AM
FAILURE OF RELIGION
By A.W. Tozer

      Millions of men and women refuse to face up to the fact that religion, in and of itself, is not enough for the sinner's need. It is amazing how many things religious people want to do to you. They can start with infant baptism and end up with the last rites when you are 108 years old-and all of that time they will manipulate you, maul you and sweet-message your soul. When it is all done you are just what you were. You are just a decorated and massaged sinner-a sinner who did not eat meat, or on the other hand, a sinner who did eat fish! When religion has done all it can, you are still a sinner who either went to church or did not go to church. Religion can put us on the roll and educate us and train us and instruct us. But after all that, there is still something within our beings that cries, "Eternity is in my heart and I have not found anything to satisfy it!" Only our Lord Jesus Christ is enough to satisfy the eternal longing in our souls.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4658.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 28, 2006, 04:56:59 PM
STRIVING FOR NUMBERS
By A.W. Tozer

       In Christian circles today, the church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches. Numbers, size and amounts seem to be very nearly all that matter-with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality! This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess, Numbers, is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in most Christian endeavors. A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by another than scriptural judgment. Yet this is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone seems to notice the deep and dangerous error!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4659.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 28, 2006, 04:58:01 PM
"SOMEONE" IS THERE
By A.W. Tozer

       Wherever faith has proved itself to be real, it has inevitably had upon it a sense of the "present" God. The holy Scriptures possess in marked degree this feeling of actual encounter with a real Person. The men and women of the Bible talked with God. They spoke to Him and heard Him speak in words they could understand. With Him they held person-to-person converse, and a sense of shining reality is upon their words and deeds. This sense of "Someone there" filled the members of the early Christian church with abiding wonder. The solemn delight which those early disciples knew sprang straight from the conviction that there was One in the midst of them-they were in the very Presence of God! This sense of "Someone" there makes religion invulnerable to critical attack. It secures the mind against collapse under the battering of the enemy. Those who worship the God who is present may ignore the objection of unbelieving men!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4660.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 28, 2006, 04:59:01 PM
EVERYDAY WORSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

       It is my experience that the totality of our Christian lives-our entire attitude as persons-must be towards the worship of God! If you do not know the presence of God in your office, your factory, your home-then God is not in the church you attend, either! I became a Christian when I was a young man working in a tire factory in Akron, Ohio. I remember my work there-but I remember my worship there, too! I had plenty of worshipful tears in my eyes. No one ever asked me about them, but I would not have hesitated to explain them. You can learn to use certain skills until they are automatic. I became so skillful that I could do my work and then I could worship God even while my hands were busy. If the love of God is in us and the Spirit of God is breathing praise within us, all the musical instruments in heaven are suddenly playing in full support! Even our thoughts become a sanctuary in which God can dwell.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4661.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 28, 2006, 04:59:57 PM
MISUSING THE BIBLE
By A.W. Tozer

       I believe that everything in the Bible is true, but to attempt to make the Bible a textbook for science is to misunderstand it completely and tragically! It has become a fairly popular practice for Bible teachers to claim to find in the Scriptures confirmation of almost every recent discovery made by science. Apparently no one noticed that the scientist had to find it before the Bible teacher could, and it never seemed to occur to anyone to wonder why, if it was there in the Bible in such plain sight, it took several thousand years and the help of science before anyone saw it. In recent years, the Bible has been "recommended" for many other purposes from the one for which it was written. The purpose of the Bible is to bring men to Christ, to make them holy and prepare them for heaven. Any manipulation of the Scriptures to make them speak peace to the natural man is evil and can only lead to ruin!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4662.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 29, 2006, 07:08:48 PM
GAME OF PIOUS WORDS
By A.W. Tozer

      Do you realize that most men play at religion as they play at games? Religion itself being of all games the one most universally played. The Church has its "fields" and its "rules" and its equipment for playing the game of pious words. It has its devotees, both laymen and professionals, who support the game with their money and encourage it with their presence, but who are no different in life or character from many who take no interest in religion at all. As an athlete uses a ball so do many of us use words: words spoken and words sung, words written and words uttered in prayer. We throw them swiftly across the field; we learn to handle them with dexterity and grace-and gain as our reward the applause of those who have enjoyed the game. In the games men play there are no moral roots. It is a pleasant activity which changes nothing and settles nothing, at last. Sadly, in the religious game of pious words, after the pleasant meeting no one is basically any different from what he had been before!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4663.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 29, 2006, 07:10:02 PM
LIGHT-AND SHADOWS
By A.W. Tozer

       A person once called me to ask this question: "Mr. Tozer, do you think a person who is really a Christian can hurt another Christian?" There is no easy answer-but I had to reply: "Yes, I think so." Why is it that a man can be on his knees one day, praying earnestly, and the next day be guilty of offending or injuring another Christian? I think it is because we are halfway between heaven and hell. It is because the light-and the shadow-fall upon us. The best answer is that we are being saved out of all these contradictions we find in our lifetime. Perhaps on this earth we will never be able to comprehend fully the awful, terrible price the Lord of all beauty paid to gain our redemption; to save His people from the ugliness of sin. If you do not know Him and worship Him, if you do not long to reside where He is, if you have never known wonder and ecstasy in your soul because of His crucifixion and resurrection, your claim of Christianity has little foundation!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4664.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 29, 2006, 07:11:08 PM
THE REALITIES OF HEAVEN
By A.W. Tozer

      Much of the secularism and rationalism of our times dismisses the Christian view and teaching about heaven as "nothing more than hopeful thinking." But the Christian's promised hope of future blessedness is founded upon the fullest and plainest revelations of the Old and New Testaments. That it accords with the most sacred yearnings of the human breast does not weaken it, but serves rather to confirm the truth of it, since the One who made the heart might be expected also to make provision for the fulfillment of its deepest longings. God's promises are made to the Christian believer, who generally has difficulty picturing himself as inheriting such bliss as the Scriptures describe. The reason is not hard to discover, for the most godly Christian is the one who knows himself best, and no one who knows himself will believe that he deserves anything better than hell. But even justice is on his side, for it is written, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4665.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 31, 2006, 03:56:55 PM
GOD AT THE CENTER
By A.W. Tozer

       After Jacob's first memorable encounter with God in the wilderness, he called the place Beth-el, which means "the house of God." Many years later, after he had suffered and sinned and repented, and discovered the worthlessness of all earthly things, he renamed the place, El-beth-el; literally "the God of the house of God." Thus Jacob had shifted his emphasis from the sacred place to the God he had met there. God Himself now took the center of his interest. We need to consider that many Christians never get beyond Beth-el. God is in their thoughts but Re has not been given first place. Faithfulness to the local church is a good thing; but when the church becomes so large and important that it hides God from our eyes, it may become a good thing wrongly used. Always God must be first-and we ought never forget that the church was never intended to substitute for God! What is our primary interest? Is it Beth-el or El-beth-el? Is it my church or my Lord? Is it my creed or my Christ?

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4666.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on May 31, 2006, 03:58:36 PM
RESOURCES THAT ENDURE
By A.W. Tozer

      The people of this world have always fussed and argued over this world's resource-hope for life, health, financial prosperity, international peace and a set of favorable circumstances. These resources are good in their own way, but they have a fatal defect-they are uncertain and transitory! Today we have them; tomorrow they are gone. It is this way with all earthly things since sin came to upset the beautiful order of nature and made the human race victims of chance and change. We desire for all of God's children a full measure of every safe and pure blessing that the earth and sky might unite to bring them. But if in the sovereign will of God things go against us, what do we have left? If life and health are placed in jeopardy, what about our everlasting resources? If the world's foundations crumble, we still have God and in Him we have everything essential to our ransomed beings forever! We have Christ, who died for us; we have the Scriptures, which can never fail; we have the faithful Holy Spirit. If worst comes to worst here below, we have our Father's house and our Father's welcome!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4667.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 02, 2006, 03:33:13 AM
CHILD OF TWO WORLDS
By A.W. Tozer

      In the kingdom of God, the surest way to lose something is to try to protect it, and the best way to keep it is to let it go. This was the word of our Lord Jesus Christ: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross!" Christ turned from the fallen world of Adam and spoke about another world altogether, a world where Adam's philosophy is invalid and his technique inoperative. He spoke of the kingdom of God whose laws are exactly opposite to those of the kingdom of men. So, the true Christian is a child of two worlds. He lives among fallen men, but when he is regenerated, he is called to live according to the laws and principles that underlie the new kingdom. He may, then, find himself trying to live a heavenly life after an earthly pattern-and this is what Paul called "carnal" living. That is why it is vitally important to move up into the life of the Spirit of God. Give up your earthly "treasures" and the Lord will keep them for you unto life eternal!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4668.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 02, 2006, 03:34:30 AM
A SACRED GIFT OF SEEING
By A.W. Tozer

       As God created us, we all have to some degree the power to imagine. That imagination is of great value in the service of God may be denied by some persons who have erroneously confused the word "imagination" with the word "imaginary." The gospel of Jesus Christ has no truck with things imaginary. The most realistic book in the world is the Bible. God is real. Men are real and so is sin and so are death and hell! The presence of God is not imaginary; neither is prayer the indulgence of a delightful fancy. The value of the cleansed imagination in the sphere of religion lies in its power to perceive in natural things shadows of things spiritual. A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing; the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal. The stodgy pedestrian mind does no credit to Christianity!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4669.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 04, 2006, 05:43:34 PM
MAN'S EMPTY PROMISES
By A.W. Tozer

       We have listened throughout our lifetime to the continuing promises of peace and progress made by the educators and the legislators and the scientists, but so far they have failed to make good on any of them. Perhaps it is an ironic thought that fallen men, though they cannot fulfill their promises, are always able to make good on their threats! Well, true peace is a gift of God and today it is found only in the minds of innocent children and in the hearts of trustful Christian believers. Only Jesus could say: "My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid!" Surely the "great" of this world have underestimated the wisdom of the Christian, after all. When the Day of The Lord comes, he may stand like Abraham above the burning plain and watch the smoke rising from the cities that forgot God. The Christian will steal a quick look at Calvary and know that this judgment is past!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4670.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 04, 2006, 05:44:52 PM
A LIBEL AGAINST GOD
By A.W. Tozer

       Human sin began with loss of faith in God! When our mother Eve listened to Satan's sly innuendoes against the character of God, she began to entertain a doubt of His integrity-and right there the doors were opened to the incoming of every possible evil, and darkness settled upon the world. Relationship between moral beings is by confidence, and confidence rests upon character which is a guarantee of conduct. God is a being of supreme moral excellence, possessing in infinite perfection all the qualities that constitute holy character. He deserves and invites the unreserved confidence of every moral creature, including man. Any proper relation to Him must be by confidence, that is, faith. Idolatry is the supreme sin and unbelief is the child of idolatry. Both are libels on the Most High and Most Holy. John wrote: "He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar." A God who would lie is a God without character. Repentance is a man's sincere apology for distrusting God for so long, and faith is throwing oneself upon Christ in complete confidence. Thus by faith reconciliation is achieved between God and man!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4671.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 04, 2006, 05:45:55 PM
DOTING ON THE PAST
By A.W. Tozer

       I always get an uneasy feeling when I find myself with people who have nothing to discuss but the glories of the days that are past! Why are we not willing to believe what the Bible tells us? The Christian's great future is before him. Therefore, the whole direction of the Christian's look should be forward. It is a fact that we should ponder soberly that so many Christians seem to have their future already behind them! Their glory is behind them. The only future they have is their past. They are always bringing around the cold ashes of yesterday's burned-out campfire! Even their testimony, if they give it, reveals their backward look. Their downcast look betrays that they are facing in the wrong direction. We should take Paul for an example here. I think he occasionally took a quick, happy backward look just to remind himself of the grace and goodness of God enjoyed by the maturing believers in their Savior, Jesus Christ!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4672.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 04, 2006, 05:47:06 PM
FAITH AND PRAYER
By A.W. Tozer

      In Hebrews we find a long list of benefits which faith brings to its possessor: justification, deliverance, fruitfulness, endurance, victory over enemies, courage, strength and even resurrection from the dead. Then, everything that is attributed thus to faith might with equal truth be attributed to prayer; for faith and true prayer are like two sides of the same coin-they are inseparable! Men may, and often do, pray without faith though this is not true prayer, but it is not thinkable that men should have faith and not pray. Whatever God can do faith can do, and whatever faith can do prayer can do when it is offered in faith. It should not be considered strange, then, that an invitation to prayer is an invitation to omnipotence, for prayer engages the Omnipresent God and brings Him into our human affairs. According to the Bible, we have because we ask or we have not because we ask not. It does not take much wisdom to discover our next move. Is it not to pray and pray again and again until the answer comes? Let us not fail the world and disappoint God by failing to pray!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4673.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 06, 2006, 02:39:50 AM
THE LONELY HUMAN
By A.W. Tozer

      There is a strange contradiction in human nature all around us: the fact that a person can reek with pride, display a swollen ego and strut like a peacock-and yet be the loneliest and most miserable person in the world! We find these people everywhere-pretending and playing a game. Deep within their beings, they are almost overwhelmed by their great loneliness, by their sense of being orphans in the final scheme of things. The result of this strange, aching human sense of loneliness and cosmic orphanage is the inward, groping question: "What good is it to be a human being? No one cares about me!" In the garden, Eve believed Satan's lie-the lie that God was not concerned about her and that God had no emotional connection with her life and being. This is where the unregenerate person is in today's world. It is only sin and defeat that can bring this sense of orphanage, this sense of having been put out of the father's house, and the feeling that follows when the house is burned down and the father is dead.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4675.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 06, 2006, 02:41:11 AM
POSTPONING OBEDIENCE
By A.W. Tozer

       A notable heresy has come into being throughout our evangelical Christian circle-the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need Him as Savior, and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to Him as long as we want to! The truth is that salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures. Peter makes it plain that we are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience." It seems most important to me that Peter speaks of his fellow Christians as "obedient children." He knew their spirituality-he was not just giving them an exhortation to be obedient. The entire Bible teaches that true obedience to God and His Christ is one of the toughest requirements in the Christian life. Actually, salvation without obedience is a self-contradicting impossibility! Humans do not want to admit it, but the Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans long ago that "by one man's disobedience" came the downfall of the human race!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4676.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 06, 2006, 02:42:33 AM
HUMANS JUDGE THE LORD?
By A.W. Tozer

       It is a fact that God made us to worship Him, and if we had not fallen with Adam and Eve, worship would have been the most natural thing for us. Sinning was not the natural thing for Adam and Eve, but they disobeyed and fell, losing their privilege of perfect fellowship with God, the Creator. Sin is the unnatural thing; it was never intended by God to be our nature. Men and women who are out of fellowship with God, the Creator, still have an instinct towards some practice of worship. In most of our "civilized" circles, the practice of picking out what we like to worship and rejecting what we do not like is widespread. This has opened up an entire new field for applied psychology and humanism under a variety of religious disguises. Thus men and women set themselves as judges of what the Lord has said-and so they stand with pride and judge the Lord. In the Bible, God takes the matter of worship out of the hands of men and puts it in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to worship God without the impartation of the Holy Spirit!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4677.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 06, 2006, 02:43:40 AM
PROBLEMS AND PRESSURES
By A.W. Tozer

      Jesus did not promise any of us that consistent Christian living would be easy! He did not promise a release from daily problems and pressures. He did not promise to take us to our heavenly home on a fluffy pink cloud! We live our lives in the knowledge of the grace of God, but we dare not forget that our Lord came to die for us and to express the never-changing moral and redemptive will of God for His people. Before we condemn the Jews of Bible history for their failures, we must be sure that we are not overlooking spiritual and moral shortcomings of our own! As Christian believers, you and I must be careful about the reasons we give for not heeding God's Word and God's warning from heaven. Have we taken His grace seriously enough that we have sought forgiveness for spiritual carelessness, indifference and apathy?

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4674.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 07, 2006, 04:01:08 AM
CHEAP RELIGION
By A.W. Tozer

      What passes for Christianity in our day is cheap religion! To listen to the current concepts of Christianity, we would conclude it is little more than bits of beautiful poetry, a man-made bouquet of fragrant flowers, a kindly smile for our neighbor and a couple of good deeds on behalf of a brother or sister. When I consider some of the elements now offered in Christianity as acceptable religion, I have to restrain myself lest I speak too disapprovingly. I fear my words would be so strong that I would have to repent of them! And I read in the Scriptures that there are some things God does not want us to say even about the devil. What do we find surfacing in much of our Christian fellowship? The complaint that God takes a long time to work out His will. We do not want to take the time to plow and cultivate. We want the fruit and the harvest right away. We do not want to be engaged in any spiritual battle that takes us into the long night. We want the morning light right now! We do not want the cross-we are more interested in the crown!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4678.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 07, 2006, 04:02:31 AM
BROTHERHOOD OF THE REDEEMED
By A.W. Tozer

      Anyone making even a quick review of Genesis will discover that God has told us more about His presence in creation and in history than about the details of human civilization. We believe that eternity dwells in the Person of God and that the material universe came into being through God's creation. The first man and woman in the human race were created. They failed in their initial encounter with Satan, our archenemy. Following that, the Genesis record becomes a narrative of human failure against the abiding backdrop of God's faithfulness. God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, points out a universal problem: the natural brotherhood of human beings is a sinful brotherhood. It is the brotherhood of all who are spiritually lost. But the Bible has good news. It is the revelation of a new brotherhood, the brotherhood of the redeemed! We know it in our time as the believing church of our Lord Jesus Christ in all nations. It is a new brotherhood among men based on regeneration-and restoration!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4679.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 07, 2006, 04:03:42 AM
GOD IS ON OUR SIDE
By A.W. Tozer

      It was a gracious revelation to my human spirit when I discovered that the Word of God was actually on my side, operating in my behalf! I was reading Psalm 71 and I came to this amazing statement: "Thou hast given commandment to save me!" My heart has been warmed with that realization ever since. I believe that the Word of the living God has gone throughout all the earth to save me and keep me! Let the theological experts raise their eyebrow -- I do not care! The living Word has charged Himself with responsibility to forgive, to cleanse and to keep me! Let us not be guilty of under rating the Word of God operating on our behalf I dare to say that there is not an uncontrolled stroke or force anywhere in all of God's mighty universe that can take eternal life away from a trusting, believing, obedient child of God. Let us thank God for the Word! It is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4680.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 07, 2006, 04:04:51 AM
"TOP SIDE OF THE SOUL"
By A.W. Tozer

       It is certainly a reality in our day that too few men and women are willing to keep the "top side" of their souls open to God and to His light from heaven. You may wonder about such expression as the "top side" of the soul, but I do think it is in line with Bible teaching, and certainly in line with all Christian experience. The heart and soul are open to God in some people's lives, but certainly not in others. We should be aware that man's forgiveness is not always like God's. When a man makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may still hang over him among his fellows. But when God forgives, He begins the new page right away. Then when the devil runs up and says, "What about his past?" God replies, "What past? He has been forgiven!" Now, I think that kind of forgiveness and justification and acceptance with God depends upon a person's willingness to keep the "top side" of the soul open to God and His saving grace!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4681.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 07, 2006, 04:06:10 AM
A PRAYER AT COMMUNION
By A.W. Tozer

      Dear Lord and Savior, we come to your table in faith, for you have told us, "As often as you do this, do it in memory of Me." Help us to celebrate this remembrance of death and resurrection in the very best way we know how. Do then, we pray Thee, overshadow us with Thy very breathing Presence. Breathe on us, 0 Breath of God; quicken and heal and purify and cleanse. Strengthen and perfect that which is wanting in us. Bless the strangers and the friends who happen to be within our gates today. Dear Lord, make them sense that they have found a home among us as we worship, and to realize that they are just as much "owners" here as we are; for it is the Lord's house and the Lord's table-it is not ours. We are all guests and children in the household-all of us! And we pray that we may love Thee acceptably, for we would not wound Thee again! Thou didst love us with such poured-out love that not even the blood in Thy veins was dear enough to Thee-we were dearer than that blood! All of this we ask in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4682.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 08, 2006, 03:16:21 AM
A CAREER-AND CHRIST
By A.W. Tozer

       It is a beautiful New Testament story that tells us of Lydia of Philippi, a career woman in her own right, long before there were laws and proclamations to set women free. A seller of purple, Lydia traveled to the market of her day, and undoubtedly she had found freedom and satisfaction in that era when women were not counted at all. But Lydia heard the Apostle Paul tell of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Lord opened her heart. In Christ she found an eternal answer, which career and position had never been able to give. Now, about conditions today. Our society has set women free to be just as bad as the men-and just as miserable. We have set them free to swear and curse and to set their own morals. Politically, women are now free to vote just as blindly as the men do. But I hope women today will find what Lydia found: that their careers will lack the word "eternal" until they find their answer in the eternal Christ, our Lord Jesus!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4683.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 08, 2006, 03:17:19 AM
REJOICE-OR GRUMBLE
By A.W. Tozer

      I think all of us meet Christian men and women who always seem to look on the gloomy side and are never able to do anything with life's problems but grumble about them! I meet them often and when I do, I wonder: "Can these people be reading and trusting the same Bible I have been reading?" The Apostle Peter wrote to the tempted, suffering and persecuted believers in his day and noted with thanksgiving that they could rejoice because they counted God's promises and provisions greater than their trials! We do live in a sinful and imperfect world, and as believers in Christ we acknowledge that perfection is a relative thing now-and God has not really completed a thing with us, as yet! Peter testified that the persecuted and suffering Christians of his day were looking, in faith, to a future state of things immeasurably better than that which they knew, and that state of things would be perfect and complete!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4684.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 08, 2006, 03:18:18 AM
IS THE CHURCH WEARY?
By A.W. Tozer

      As Christian believers, we stand together in the evangelical faith-the historical faith of our fathers. Yet, we must confess that many congregations seem bogged down with moral boredom and life-weariness. The church is tired, discouraged and unastonished-Christ seems to belong to yesterday. The prophetic teachers have projected everything into the dim future where it is beyond our reach-unavailable! They have dispensationalized us into a state of spiritual poverty-and they have left us there! But regardless of such teachers, the course of spiritual victory is clear; let us trust what the Word of God continues to say to us! The Scriptures are open and plain. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. He is our great High Priest, alive and ministering for us today. His person, His power and His grace are the same; without change, yesterday, today and forever!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4685.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 08, 2006, 03:19:35 AM
WORTHY - OR UNWORTHY?
By A.W. Tozer

      The love of Jesus is so inclusive that it knows no boundaries. At the point where we stop loving and caring, Jesus is still there-loving and caring! The question may be asked: "How does the living Christ feel today about the sinful men and women who walk our streets?" There is only one answer: He loves them! We may be righteously indignant about the things they do. We may be disgusted with their actions and their ways. We are often ready to condemn and turn away from them. But Jesus keeps on loving them! It is His unchanging nature to love and seek the lost. He said many times when He was on earth, "I have come to help the needy. The well do not need a doctor-but the sick need attention and love." We are prone to look at the needy and measure them: "Let us determine if they are worthy of our help." During all of His ministry, I do not think Jesus ever helped a "worthy" person. He only asked, "What is your need? Do you need My help?"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4687.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 08, 2006, 03:20:34 AM
CLAIM YOUR INHERITANCE
By A.W. Tozer

      Did you know that it is possible for a Christian believer to live day after day, clutching the book of Ephesians, and still not realize that he is spiritually lean and hungry? If a pastor or evangelist suggests that this person could be in a more prosperous spiritual state, his reaction may be bristling: "Am I not accepted in the Beloved? Is not God my Father and am I not an heir with God?" Holding the text of the will is not enough. It is necessary to come into the possession of the riches. Suppose a rich man dies, leaving a will which passes on all of his millions to his only son. That boy borrows the text of the will from the attorney and carries it around with him. He is satisfied with the text of the will, but it has never been properly executed. Thus the son has never presented his legitimate claims to the inheritance. He may be going around ragged, hungry and weak. In actual experience he has received nothing. He simply holds the text of his father's will!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4686.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 10, 2006, 10:27:35 PM
I CHOOSE TO WORSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

      Strange things are happening all around us in Christian circles because we are not truly worshipers. For instance, any untrained, unprepared, unspiritual empty rattletrap of a person can start something "religious" and find plenty of followers who will listen and promote it! Beyond that, it may become very evident that he or she had never heard from God in the first place. All of the examples we have in the Bible illustrate that glad and devoted and reverent worship is the normal employment of human beings. Every glimpse that is given us of heaven and of God's created beings is always a glimpse of worship and rejoicing and praise-because God is who He is! Because we are not truly worshipers, we spend a lot of time in the churches just spinning our wheels; making a noise but not getting anywhere. What are we going to do about this awesome, beautiful worship that God calls for? I would rather worship God than do any other thing I know of in all this wide world!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4688.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 10, 2006, 10:28:33 PM
A MORAL PRONOUNCEMENT
By A.W. Tozer

      What is God saying to His human creation in our day and time?In brief, He is saying, "Jesus Christ is My beloved Son. Hear Him!"Why is there rejection? Why do men and women fail to listen?Because God's message in Jesus is a moral pronouncement. Men and women do not wish to be under the authority of the moral Word of God!For centuries, God spoke in many ways. He inspired holy men to write portions of the message in a book. People do not like it so they try their best to avoid it because God has made it the final test of all morality, the final test of all Christian ethics.God, being one in His nature, is always able to say the same thing to everyone who hears Him. Christian believers must know that any understanding of the Word of God must come from the same Spirit who provided the inspiration!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4689.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 10, 2006, 10:29:40 PM
MYSTICISM PLUS THEOLOGY
By A.W. Tozer

      Christian preachers and ministers ought to acknowledge, publicly and with humility, their great indebtedness to the apostles John and Paul. Study the Gospel of John and you will concur with me that John is surely the mystic of the New Testament! Explore the epistles of the Apostle Paul and you will also concur with the assessment that Paul is surely the theologian of the New Testament! John and Paul were completely immersed in love and adoration for Jesus, the Christ, the eternal Son and the Savior of the world. So we may say that Paul is the instrument and John is the music! God Himself was able to pour into the great mind and spirit of Paul the basic doctrines of the New Testament. But in John, God found harp-like qualities to sound forth devotion and praise. Paul, then, is the theologian who lays foundations. John does not really soar any higher than Paul-but he sings just a bit more sweetly! It is not amazing, really, that there is much mysticism in Paul's theology, and much theology in John's mysticism!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4690.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 10, 2006, 10:30:34 PM
PRAYERS: TOO LATE
By A.W. Tozer

      John, in the sixth of Revelation, describes the most tragic, unavailing prayer meeting in the world's history! Cries and groans, shouts and demands, moans and whisper - all will be heard in that coming Day of the Lord when the forces of judgment are released. Even the mountains and the islands will be removed from their places. But by then, the prayers and cries of sinful men and women will be too little and too late! All of the great men of the earth, all the important people, all who have mistakenly put their trust and hope in purely human abilities will join those crying out in guilt. They will call on the crumbling rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from the wrath of God. I am among those who believe that the judgments of God are certain. We do not know the day nor the hour. But God is indeed going to shake the earth as it has never been shaken before, and He will turn it over to the Worthy One to whom it belongs - Jesus Christ!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4692.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 11, 2006, 10:21:37 PM
MORAL DETERMINATION
By A.W. Tozer

      Though we do not have much of it in this age of spineless religion, there is nevertheless much in the Bible about the place of moral determination in the service of the Lord. The Old Testament tells us that "Jacob vowed a vow," and Daniel "purposed in his heart." Paul determined "not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Above all, we have the example of the Lord Jesus "setting His face like a flint" and walking straight toward the Cross. These and many others have left us a record of spiritual greatness born out of a will firmly set to do the will of God! They did not try to float to heaven on a perfumed cloud, but cheerfully accepted the fact that "with purpose of heart they must cleave to the Lord." We must surrender-and in that terrible, wonderful moment we may feel that our will has been forever broken, but such is not the case. In His conquest of the soul, God purges the will and brings it into union with His own, but He never breaks it!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4693.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 11, 2006, 10:22:42 PM
GOD'S PLACE AS CREATOR
By A.W. Tozer

      We make a mistake if we do not learn to admire God in all things, great and small; for a new rich mine would be opened in our consciousness if we could learn to recognize God in nature as well as in grace! We do acknowledge that the God of nature is also the God of grace; and it is true that we glorify God's redeeming grace no less when we glorify His creating and sustaining power. When Christ came to redeem us, He stepped into the framework of an afready existent nature. If we will obey and believe, we can go on pushing back the narrow borders of our spiritual world until it takes in the whole creation of God! At one time, the English merchant and renowned poet, William Blake, stood watching the sun come up out of the sea. The bright yellow disk of the sun emerged, gliding the water and painting the sky with a thousand colors. "Ah! I see gold!" the merchant said. Blake answered, "I see the glory of God! And I hear a multitude of the heavenly host crying, 'The whole earth is full of His glory.'"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4694.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 11, 2006, 10:23:48 PM
WHAT REALLY MATTERS?
By A.W. Tozer

      It is all but impossible these days to get people to pay any attention to things that really matter. The broad cynic in our modern civilization is likely to ask: "What really matters, after all?" It is our personal relationship to God that really matters! That takes priority over everything else; for no man can afford to live or die under the frowning displeasure of God. Yet, name one modern device that can save him from it. Where can a man find security? Can philosophy help him? or psychology? or science? or atoms or wonder drugs or vitamins? Only Christ can help him, and His aid is as old as man's sin and man's need. A few other things matter to be sure. We must trust Christ completely. We must carry our cross daily. We must love God and our fellow men. We must fulfill our commission as ambassadors of Christ among men. We must grow in grace and in the knowledge of God and come at last to our end like a ripe shock of corn at harvest time. These are the things that really matter!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4695.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 11, 2006, 10:24:52 PM
FAITH MUST BE RESTORED
By A.W. Tozer

      The Bible tells about man's being alienated from and an enemy to God. Should this sound harsh or extreme you have only to imagine your closest friend coming to you and stating in cold seriousness that he no longer has any confidence in you. "I do not trust you. I have lost confidence in your character. I am forced to suspect every move you make" - such a declaration would instantly alienate friends by destroying the foundation upon which every friendship is built. Until your former friend's opinion of you had been reversed there could be no further communion. People do not go boldly to God and profess that they have no confidence in Him and they usually do not witness publicly to their low view of God. The frightful thing, however, is that people everywhere act out their unbelief with a consistency that is more convincing than words. Christianity provides a way back from this place of unbelief and alienation: "He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." God took the wrong upon Himself in order that the one who committed the wrong might be saved!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4696.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 11, 2006, 10:25:57 PM
TOO MUCH "AT HOME"
By A.W. Tozer

      One of the most telling indictments against many of us who compose our Christian churches is the almost complete acceptance of the contemporary scene as our permanent home! We have been working and earning, getting and spending, and now we are enjoying the creature comforts known to human beings in this land. You may bristle a bit and ask: "Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?" Let me answer in this way: if you are a Christian and you are comfortably "at home" in Chicago or Toronto, in Iowa or Alberta - or any other address on planet earth, the signs are evident that you are in spiritual trouble. The spiritual equation reads like this: the greater your contentment with your daily circumstances in this world, the greater your defection from the ranks of God's pilgrims enroute to a city whose architect and builder is God Himself! If we can feel that we have put down our roots in this present world, then our Lord still has much to teach us about faith and attachment to our Savior!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4697.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 12, 2006, 11:26:56 PM
ANSWERING GOD'S CALL
By A.W. Tozer

      When will men and women realize that when God calls us out He is completely faithful to call us into something better? In his faith, Abraham was against idolatry and idol-making, but that was not his crusade. Because of his faith, God led him into a promised land, into possessions and into the lineage that brought forth the Messiah. The call of God is always to something better-keep that in mind! God calls us into the joys and reality of eternal life. He calls us into purity of life and spirit, so that we may acceptably walk with Him. He calls us into a life of service and usefulness that brings glory to Himself as God. He calls us into the sweetest fellowship possible on this earth - the fellowship of the family of God! If God takes away from us the old, wrinkled, beat-up dollar bill we clutch so desperately, it is only because He wants to exchange it for the whole federal mint, the entire treasury! He is saying, "I have in store for you all the resources of heaven. Help yourself!"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4698.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 12, 2006, 11:28:08 PM
AUTHORITY IN PREACHING
By A.W. Tozer

       Because we are Christians who believe the inspired Word of God and because we believe that the Holy Spirit is the abiding third person of the Trinity, there should be more divine authority in our preaching ministries. A preacher of this gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should have the authority of God upon him, so that he makes the people responsible to listen to him. When they will not listen to him, they are accountable to God for turning away from the divine Word. A preacher under God's unction should reign from his pulpit as a king from his throne. He should not reign by law or by regulation or by man's authority. He ought to reign by moral ascendancy! The divine authority is missing from many pulpits. We have "tabby cats" with their claws carefully trimmed in the seminary, so they can paw over the congregations and never scratch them at all! The Holy Spirit will sharpen the arrows of the man of God who preaches the whole counsel of God!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4699.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 12, 2006, 11:29:30 PM
THE UNITY OF ALL THINGS
By A.W. Tozer

      If we are humble and sincere Christians, this should be one of the most welcome thoughts we have ever considered: the work of Christ in redemption will achieve ultimately the expulsion of sin, the only divisive agent in the universe! When that is accomplished, God's creation will once more realize the unification of all things. We who are men and women, though redeemed and regenerated, are submerged in time; therefore we properly say that prophecy is history foretold and history is prophecy fulfilled. But in God there is no "was" or "will be" but a continuous and unbroken "is." In Him, history and prophecy are one and the same. God contains past and future in His own Being. It is sin that has brought diversity, separation, dissimilarity. Sin has introduced divisions into a universe essentially one. We do not understand this, but we must let our faith rest on the character of God. The concept of the unity of all things is seen in the Scriptures. Paul said that God will reconcile all things unto Himself, whether they be things in earth or in heaven!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4700.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 12, 2006, 11:30:30 PM
CROSSING OVER JORDAN
By A.W. Tozer

      The prophets and the psalmists of the Old Testament wrestled as we do with the problem of evil in a divine universe but their approach to God and nature was much more direct than ours. They did not interpose between God and His world that opaque web we moderns call the "laws of nature." They could see God in a whirlwind and hear Him in a storm and they did not hesitate to say so! There was about their lives an immediate apprehension of the divine. Everything in heaven and on earth assured them that this is God's world and that He rules over all. I heard a Methodist bishop tell of being called to the bedside of an elderly dying woman in his early ministry. He said he was frightened; but the old saint was radiantly happy. When he tried to express the sorrow he felt about her illness, she would not hear it. "Why, God bless you young man," she said cheerfully, "there is nothing to be scared about. I am just going to cross over Jordan, where my Father owns the land on both sides of the river!" She understood about the unity of all things in God's creation.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4701.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 12, 2006, 11:31:26 PM
GOD AND THE INDIVIDUAL
By A.W. Tozer

      When the eternal Son of God became the Son of Man and walked on this earth, He always called individuals to His side. Jesus did not come into the world to deal with statistics! He deals with individuals and that is why the Christian message is and always has been: "God loves the world! He loves the masses and throngs only because they are made up of individuals. He loves every individual person in the world!" In the great humanistic tide of our day, the individual is no longer the concern. We are pressed to think of the human race in a lump. We are schooled to think of the human race in terms of statistics. In many nations, the state is made to be everything and the individual means nothing at all. Into the very face and strength of this kind of humanism comes the Christian evangel, the good news of salvation, wondrously alight with the assurance for all who will listen: "You are an individual and you matter to God! His concern is not for genes and species but for the individuals He has created!"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4702.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:02:14 AM
Sound Conversion
By A.W. Tozer

      I am convinced that many evangelicals are not truly and soundly converted. Among the evangelicals it is entirely possible to come into membership, to ooze in by osmosis, to leak through the cells of the church and never know what it means to be born of the Spirit and washed in the blood. A great deal that passes for the deeper life is nothing more or less than basic Christianity. There is nothing deeper about it, and it is where we should have been from the start. We should have been happy, joyous, victorious Christians walking in the Holy Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Instead we have been chasing each other around the perpetual mountain.

      What we need is what the old Methodists called a sound conversion. There is a difference between conversion and a sound conversion. People who have never been soundly converted do not have the Spirit to enlighten them. When they read the Sermon on the Mount or the teaching passages of the epistles that tell them how to live or the doctrinal passages that tell how they can live, they are unaffected. The Spirit who wrote them is not witnessing in their hearts because they have not been born of the Spirit. That often happens.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article5962.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:03:48 AM
GLAMOR INSTEAD OF GLORY
By A.W. Tozer

      One ominous sign in the social structure that surrounds us is the false attitude toward anything that can be called "ordinary." There has grown up all around us an idea that the "commonplace" is old-fashioned and strictly for the birds! This existing mania for glamor and contempt for the ordinary are signs and portents in American society. Even religion has gone glamorous! In case you do not know what glamor is, I might explain that it is a compound of sex, paint, padding and artificial lights. It came to America by way of the honky-tonk and the movie lot; got accepted by the world first, and then strutted into the Church-vain, self-admiring and contemptuous. Instead of the Spirit of God in our midst, we now have the spirit of glamor, as artificial as painted death! Say what you will, it is a new kind of Christianity, with new concepts that face us brazenly wherever we turn within the confines of evangelical Christianity. The new Christian no longer wants to be good or saintly or virtuous!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4703.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:04:46 AM
GETTING GOD IN FOCUS
By A.W. Tozer

      While many are busy trying to set forth satisfactory definitions of the word "faith," we do well to simply consider that believing is directing the heart's attention to Jesus! It is lifting the mind to "behold the Lamb of God," and never ceasing that beholding for the rest of our lives. At first this may be difficult, but it becomes easier as we look steadily at His wondrous Person, quietly and without strain. Distractions may hinder, but once the heart is committed to Him the attention will return again and rest upon Him like a wandering bird coming back to its window. I would emphasize this one great volitional act which establishes the heart intention to gaze forever upon Jesus. God takes this intention for our choice and makes what allowances He must for the thousand distractions which beset us in this evil world. So, faith is a redirecting of our sight, getting God in our focus, and when we lift our inward eyes upon God, we are sure to meet friendly eyes gazing back at us!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4704.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:05:52 AM
"A CHEERFUL HEART"
By A.W. Tozer

       The thankful Christian will turn with true delight to the expression of Joseph Addison in his Thanksgiving hymn, "When All Thy Mercies, 0 My God," found in many of the better hymnals. Addison gives a mental image that requires music for its expression: Ten thousand thousand precious gifts My daily thanks employ; Nor is the least a cheerful heart That tastes these gifts with joy! Here is the spirit of thanksgiving. Here is the understanding of what pleases God in our acceptance and use of His gifts. "A cheefful heart that tastes these gifts with joy" is the only kind of heart that can taste them safely. While Addison had in mind chiefly the gifts God showers upon us here below, he was too much of a Christian to think that God's gifts would cease at death. So he sang: Through every period of my life Thy goodness I'll pursue; And after death in distant worlds, The glorious theme renew!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4705.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:07:01 AM
LET US BE THANKFUL
By A.W. Tozer

      To be grateful to God's servants is to be grateful to God; and it follows that in a very real sense we thank God when we thank His people! We will always have spiritual leaders, and I think we make two mistakes in our attitudes toward them. One is not being sufficiently grateful to them. The other is in following them too slavishly. The first is a sin of omission, and because it is something that is not there, it is not likely to be noticed as a sin that is plainly present. We do make a serious mistake when we become so attached to the preaching or writing of a great Christian leader that we accept his teaching without daring to examine it. We should follow men only as they follow the Lord. We should keep an open mind lest we become blind followers of a man whose breath is in his nostrils. Learn from every holy man and his ministry. Be grateful to every one of them and thankful for them - and then follow Christ!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4706.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:08:07 AM
GOD GIVES-AND GIVES
By A.W. Tozer

      We ought to spend more time remembering the blessings and the benefits God is continually giving us while we are alive-before we leave this vale of tears! He gives us forgivenes - so we are to live for Him as forgiven sinners. He gives us eternal life. This is not just a future reality - our life in Him is a present bestowment. He gives us sonship: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God!" In this relationship there are many other gifts we receive from God, and if we do not possess them it is because we are not God's children in faith! We ask God to help us, to meet some need, to do something for you, and the Lord mercifully does it. I consider these the little and the trifling things, yet we make a great deal of them. But they are really the passing things compared to the great present benefactions of forgiveness, reinstatement in favor with God, sonship and eternal life!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4707.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:10:06 AM
FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

      God has been pleased to deal with us in a most remarkable way concerning our Christian stewardship and responsibility of honoring Him with the things He has entrusted to us. The Bible teaching is plain: you have the right to keep what you have all to yourself-but it will then rust and decay, and ultimately ruin you! This may hurt some of you but I am obliged to tell you that God does not need anything you have! He does not need a dime of your money! What you need to understand is that it is your own spiritual welfare at stake in such matters as this. There is a beautiful and enriching principle involved in our offering to God what we are and what we have, but none of us are giving because there is a depression in heaven! A long time ago God said: "If I had need of anything, would I tell you?" Brethren, if the living God had need of anything, He would no longer be God!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4708.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:12:28 AM
LIVE FOR GOD'S GLORY
By A.W. Tozer

      It may be difficult for the average Christian to get hold of the idea that his daily labors can be performed as acts of worship acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. We must practice living to the glory of God actually and determinedly. By one act of consecration of our total selves to God we can make every subsequent act express that consecration. By meditation upon this truth, by talking it over with God often in our prayers, by recalling it to our minds frequently as we move about among men, a sense of its wondrous meaning will begin to take hold of us. The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation, our Lord took upon Him a real human body. He lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act! Brethren, we must offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. We should then keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory. We thus meet the temptations and trials by the exercise of an aggressive faith in the sufficiency of Christ!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4709.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:14:09 AM
"WHY AM I HERE?"
By A.W. Tozer

       Since the first fallen man got still long enough to think, fallen men have been asking these questions: "Whence came I? What am I? Why am I here? and Where am I going?" The noblest minds of the race have struggled with these questions to no avail. Did the answer lie somewhere hidden like a jewel it would surely have been uncovered, for the most penetrating minds of the race have searched for it everywhere in the region of human experience. Yet the answers remain as securely hidden as if they did not exist. Why is man lost philosophically? Because he is lost morally and spiritually. He cannot answer the questions life presents to his intellect because the light of God has gone out in his soul. The fearful indictment the Holy Ghost brings against mankind is summed up count by count in the opening s of Romans and the conduct of every man from earliest recorded history is evidence enough to sustain the indictment. Apart from the Scriptures we have no sure philosophy: apart from Jesus Christ we have no true knowledge of God; apart from the inliving Spirit we have no ability to live lives morally pleasing to God!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4710.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:15:38 AM
NOTHING BUT SWEETNESS
By A.W. Tozer

      Let me caution you about the attitudes of some of the bubbly "happy! happy!" people in our congregations who will insist that the Word of God can never be anything but honey sweet! Fellow believers, when we digest, absorb and soak up the Word of the Lord, it becomes part and parcel of our daily lives. It is our delight. It is indeed honey and sweetness. But as we share that same Word in our witness to lost men and women, we will know something of bitterness and hostility, even enmity. It will follow then in experience, that Christian believers who are intent upon being faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ may not always find sweetness and light in their contacts with evil, rebellious people. We need to pray for men and women in our churches who have determined to set their own agendas-to live their lives as they please! They have determined to manage the influences of the Word of God in their lives.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4711.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 01:16:58 AM
THOUGHTS ON COMMUNION
By A.W. Tozer

      What a sweet comfort to us that our Lord Jesus Christ was once known in the breaking of the bread. In earlier Christian times, believers called the Communion "the medicine of immortality," and God gave them the desire to pray: Be known to us in breaking bread, But do not then depart; Savior, abide with us and spread Thy table in our heart. Some churches have a teaching that you will find God only at their table-and that you leave God there when you leave. I am so glad that God has given us light. We may take the Presence of the table with us. We may take the Bread of life with us as we go. Then sup with us in love divine, Thy body and Thy blood; That living bread and heavenly wine Be our immortal food! In approaching the table of our Lord, we dare not forget the cost to our elder Brother, the Man who was from heaven. He is our Savior; He is our Passover!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4712.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 12:12:50 AM
THE BREATH OF GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      Two of the great realities in our midst are surely the promised Presence of God and the testimony of His eternal Word! By the "Word of God" I do not refer only to the book you hold in your hand-paper and letters, pages and ink-sewed together with silk thread. By the Word of God I do mean the expression of the mind of God: the mighty, world-filling breath of God! Most of the things men and women talk about cannot be counted among the great realities of life. In October, people talk a great deal about the World Series as a great reality, but by December they have forgotten who pitched and who struck out. People spend their entire lives in the pursuit of those things that can only perish and fade away. But when it is all over, they are still going to be faced with the reality of the eternal Word of God, the revelation of Truth which God has given us! Think of the changes that would come if humans would suddenly stop and hear the Word of God!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4713.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 12:13:49 AM
LIFE FLOWS FROM GOD
By A.W. Tozer

       Without doubt, we have suffered the loss of many spiritual treasures because we have let slip the simple truth that the miracle of the perpetuation of life is in God! Be assured that God did not create life and toss it from Him like some petulant artist disappointed with his work. All life is in Him and out of Him, flowing from Him and returning to Him again, a moving indivisible sea of which He is the fountainhead. That eternal life which was with the Father is now the possession of believing men and women, and that life is not God's gift only-but His very Self! The regeneration of a believing soul is but a recapitulation of all His work done from the moment of creation. So, redemption is not a strange work which God for a moment turned aside to do: rather it is His same work performed in a new field, the field of human catastrophe!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4714.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 12:15:45 AM
LET US TAKE IT PERSONALLY
By A.W. Tozer

      What a difference it makes when we humans cease being general and become pointed and personal in our approach to God! We then come to see that all that God did was for each of us. It was for me that holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. For me Christ died-and when He arose on the third day it was for me. When the promised Holy Spirit came it was to continue in me the work He had been doing for me, since the morning of the Creation! So, I have every right to claim all of the riches of the Godhead in mercy given. What a blessed thought-that an infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children! He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others. All that He is and all that He has done is for us and for all who share the common salvation.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4715.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 12:16:42 AM
CONFUSED ABOUT WORSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

      To really know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to love and worship Him! As God's people, we are so often confused that we could be known as God's poor, stumbling, bumbling people, for we are most prone to think of worship as something we do when we go to church on Sunday! We call it God's house. We have dedicated it to Him. So, we continue with the confused idea that it must be the only place where we can worship Him. We come to the Lord's house, made of brick and stone and wood. We are used to hearing the call to worship: "The Lord is in His holy temple-let us kneel before Him!" This is on Sunday and in church-very nice! But on Monday, as we go about our different duties, are we aware of the continuing Presence of God? The Lord desires still to be in His holy temple, wherever we are; for each of us is a temple in whom dwells the Holy Spirit of God!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4716.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 12:17:43 AM
LET THE DAY DAWN
By A.W. Tozer

      The Bible tells us that when a person becomes a Christian, it is as though the sun has come up and the day has dawned. Then his experience along the path should be like the glowing light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day! This brings us to a question: if all Christians are alike in standing and state, why did Jesus point out three distinctions in the Christian life-"some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold"? If we are all alike and have all "arrived" at the same place and state, why did the Apostle Paul tell the Philippian Christians "I have suffered the loss of all things, that I may know Him and if by any means, I might attain unto that superior resurrection"? I am of the opinion that we cannot experience that which we have not believed. I still think we must instruct and urge men and women, toiling along in average and common Christian ways, to move forward and claim spiritual victory they have not yet known.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4717.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 09:56:04 PM
EVERYONE MAY COME
By A.W. Tozer

      There is a strange beauty in the ways of God with men. He sends salvation to the world in the person of a Man and sends that Man to walk the byways, saying, "If any man will come after Me!" No fanfare; no tramp of marching feet! A kindly Stranger walks through the earth, and so quiet is His voice that it is sometimes lost in the hurly-burly; but it is the last voice of God, and until we become quiet to hear it, we have no authentic message. "If any man," He says, and teaches at once the universal inclusiveness of His invitation and the freedom of the human will. Everyone may come; no one need come, and whoever does come, comes because he chooses to. Every man thus holds his future in his hand. Not the dominant world leader only, but the inarticulate man lost in anonymity is "a man of destiny!" He decides which way his soul shall go. He chooses, and destiny waits on the nod of his head. He decides, and hell enlarges itself, or heaven prepares another mansion! So much of Himself has God given to man!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4718.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:21:48 PM
WHERE IS THE RADIANCE?
By A.W. Tozer

      I keep looking, but with little success, for a distinguishing radiance in life and testimony among our evangelical Christians. Instead of an inner witness, too many professing Christians are depending upon logical conclusions drawn from Bible texts. They have no witness of an encounter with God, no awareness of inner change! I believe that where there is a divine act within the soul, there will be a corresponding awareness. This act of God is its own evidence: it addresses itself directly to the spiritual consciousness. Thankfully, there are elements that are always the same among men and women who have had a personal meeting with God. There is the compelling sense of God Himself; of His Person and of His Presence. From there on, the permanent results will be evident in the life and walk of the person touched as long as he or she lives!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:22:43 PM
MORE THAN PARDON
By A.W. Tozer

      It is a fact that the New Testament message of good news, "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures," embraces a great deal more than an offer of free pardon. Surely it is a message of pardon-and for that may God be praised-but it is also a message of repentance! It is a message of atonement-but it is also a message of temperance and righteousness and godliness in this present world! It tells us that we must accept a Savior-but it tells us also that we must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts! The gospel message includes the idea of amendment-of separation from the world, of cross-carrying and loyalty to the kingdom of God even unto death! These are all corollaries of the gospel and not the gospel itself; but they are part and parcel of the total message which we are commissioned to declare. No man has authority to divide the truth and preach only a part of it. To do so is to weaken it and render it without effect!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:23:27 PM
GIFTS AND GRACES
By A.W. Tozer

       I go back often to Genesis 24 for the illustration and the figure in the Old Testament reminding us of the adornments of grace and beauty that will mark the believing Body of Christ. Abraham sent his trusted servant to his former homeland to select a bride for Isaac. The adornment of Rebekah's beauty consisted of jewels and the raiment that came as gifts of love from the bridegroom whom she had not yet seen. It is a reminder of what God is doing in our midst right now. Abraham typifies God the Father; Isaac, our Lord Jesus Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom. The servant who went with the gifts into the far country to claim a bride for Isaac speaks well of the Holy Spirit, our Teacher and Comforter. He gives us, one by one, the gifts and the graces of the Holy Spirit that will be our real beauty in His sight. Thus we are being prepared, and when we meet our coming Lord and King, our adornment will be our God-given graces!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:24:11 PM
"THUS SAITH THE LORD"
By A.W. Tozer

      In a time when everything in the world seems to be related to vanity, God is depending on His believing children to demonstrate that He is the great Reality; that we are made by God and for Him! The answer to the question, "Where did I come from?" can never be better answered than by the Christian mother who tells her child, "God made you!" The great store of knowledge in today's world cannot improve on that simple answer! The scientist can tell us the secrets of how matter operates, but the origin of matter lies in deep silence, refusing to give an answer to man's question. It is important for Christian believers to be able to stand firmly and positively in this declaration: "Thus saith the Lord!" Our chief business is not to argue or to persuade our generation. With our positive declaration of God's Word and revelation, we make God responsible for the outcome. No one can know enough to go beyond this!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:25:17 PM
THE NEED FOR REVERENCE
By A.W. Tozer

       Many persons who have been raised in our churches no longer think in terms of reverence, which seems to indicate that they doubt God's presence is there! Much of the blame must be placed on the growing acceptance of a worldly secularism that seems much more appealing than any real desire for the spiritual life that is pleasing to God. We secularize God; we secularize the gospel of Christ and we secularize worship! No great and spiritually minded men of God are going to come out of such churches, nor any great spiritual movement of believing prayer and revival. If God is to be honored and revered and truly worshiped, He may have to sweep us away and start somewhere else! Let us confess that there is a necessity for true worship among us. If God is who He says He is and if we are the believing people of God we claim to be, we must worship Him! In my own assessment, for men and women to lose the awareness of God in our midst is a loss too terrible ever to be appraised!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:26:12 PM
MORE THAN A NAME
By A.W. Tozer

      There have always been professing Christians who argue and insist: "I am all right-I worship in the name of Jesus." They seem to believe that worship of God is based on a formula. They seem to think there is a kind of magic in saying the name of Jesus! Study the Bible carefully with the help of the Holy Spirit and you will find that the name and the nature of Jesus are one. It is not enough to know how to spell Jesus' name! If we have come to be like Him in nature, if we have come to the place of being able to ask in accordance with His will, He will give us the good things we desire and need. We worship God as the result of a new birth from above in which God has been pleased to give us more than a name. He has given us a nature transformed, and Peter expresses that truth in this way: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.(2 Peter 1:4)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:27:02 PM
GLORY TO GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      When the Holy Spirit comes among us with His anointing, we become a worshiping people! Now, that does not mean that all Christians everywhere must all worship alike - but that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit believers everywhere are united in their praises to God. When Jesus came into Jerusalem presenting Himself as Messiah there was a great multitude and there was a great noise. Very often our worship is audible, but I do not believe it is necessarily true that we are worshiping God when we are making a lot of racket. But I think there is a word for those who are cultured, quiet, self-possessed, poised and sophisticated. If they are embarrassed in church when some happy Christian says, "Amen!" they may actually be in need of some spiritual enlightenment. If some believer's "Glory to God!" really bothers you, it may be because you do not know the kind of spiritual blessing and delight the Holy Spirit is waiting to provide among God's worshiping saints. I can only speak for myself, but I want to be among those who worship!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:29:46 PM
BETTER FARTHER ON
By A.W. Tozer

      Truth that is not experienced is no better than error, and may be fully as dangerous. Remember that the scribes who sat in Moses' seat were not the victims of error; they were the victims of failure to experience the truth they taught! We should see that one of the greatest foes of the Christian is religious complacency. The man who believes that he has "arrived" will not go any further; and the present neat habit of quoting a text to prove we have arrived may be a dangerous one if in truth we have no actual inward experience of the text. The great saints of the past have all had yearning hearts. Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching. May we offer this word of exhortation: pray on, fight on, sing on! Press on into the deep things of God. Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:31:06 PM
BETTER FARTHER ON
By A.W. Tozer

      Truth that is not experienced is no better than error, and may be fully as dangerous. Remember that the scribes who sat in Moses' seat were not the victims of error; they were the victims of failure to experience the truth they taught! We should see that one of the greatest foes of the Christian is religious complacency. The man who believes that he has "arrived" will not go any further; and the present neat habit of quoting a text to prove we have arrived may be a dangerous one if in truth we have no actual inward experience of the text. The great saints of the past have all had yearning hearts. Their longing after God all but consumed them; it propelled them onward and upward to heights toward which less ardent Christians look with languid eye and entertain no hope of reaching. May we offer this word of exhortation: pray on, fight on, sing on! Press on into the deep things of God. Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:33:26 PM
THE SECRET WORKING OF GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      I do believe in the secret and mysterious working of God in the human breast. I must believe it after finding the forgiving and converting grace of God in the Savior, Jesus Christ. My father and mother held high human standards, but completely without any thought of God. My parents appeared to be without any spark of desire after God; attitudes that were cold, earthy, profane. Can you tell me why, then, at the age of 17, as a boy surrounded by unbelief-l00 percent-I could find my way to my mother's attic, kneel on my knees, and give my heart and life in committal to Jesus Christ? I cannot tell you why. I can only say that I know there is such a thing as the secret workings of God within the human being who has a sensitivity to hear the call of God. In my own case, I do have the testimony that my conversion to Jesus Christ was as real as any man's conversion has ever been! My fellow man, if the Spirit of God is still tugging at your heart, thank God-and follow the light!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:34:49 PM
MERCY: A BOUNDLESS SEA
By A.W. Tozer

      A human being is never really aware of the great boundless sea of the mercy of God until by faith he comes across the threshold of the kingdom of God and recognizes it and identifies it! My father was 60 years old when he bowed before Jesus Christ and was born again. That was a near lifetime in which he had sinned and lied and cursed. But to him, the mercy of God that took him to heaven was no greater than the mercy of God that had endured and kept him for 60 years. I recall the story of an ancient rabbi who consented to take a weary old traveler into his house for a night of rest. In conversation, the rabbi discovered the visitor was almost 100 years old and a confirmed atheist. Infuriated, the rabbi arose, opened the door and ordered the man out into the night. Then, sitting down by his candle and Old Testament, it seemed he heard a voice, God's voice: "I have endured that sinner for almost a century. Could you not endure him for a night?" The rabbi ran out and overtaking the old man, brought him back to the hospitality of his home for the night.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:37:36 PM
MERCY: A BOUNDLESS SEA
By A.W. Tozer

      A human being is never really aware of the great boundless sea of the mercy of God until by faith he comes across the threshold of the kingdom of God and recognizes it and identifies it! My father was 60 years old when he bowed before Jesus Christ and was born again. That was a near lifetime in which he had sinned and lied and cursed. But to him, the mercy of God that took him to heaven was no greater than the mercy of God that had endured and kept him for 60 years. I recall the story of an ancient rabbi who consented to take a weary old traveler into his house for a night of rest. In conversation, the rabbi discovered the visitor was almost 100 years old and a confirmed atheist. Infuriated, the rabbi arose, opened the door and ordered the man out into the night. Then, sitting down by his candle and Old Testament, it seemed he heard a voice, God's voice: "I have endured that sinner for almost a century. Could you not endure him for a night?" The rabbi ran out and overtaking the old man, brought him back to the hospitality of his home for the night.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:39:00 PM
GIVE GOD THE CONTROL
By A.W. Tozer

       I know that I am being repetitious - but this needs to be said again and again: our Lord will not save those whom He cannot command! The lifetime God has given us down here is a lifetime of decisions. Each person makes his own decisions as to the eternal world he is going to inhabit. We must decide to take Jesus for what He is - the anointed Savior and Lord who is King of kings and Lord of all lords! He would not be who He is if He saved us and called us without the understanding that He can also guide us and control our lives. The root of sin is rebellion against God, and hell is the Alcatraz for the unconstituted rebels who refuse to surrender to the will of God. There are many arguments about the reality of hell. A man might endure fire and brimstone and worm - but the essence of hell and judgment for a moral creature is to know and be conscious that he is where he is because he is a rebel! Hell will be the eternal domain of all the disobedient rebels who have said, "I owe God nothing!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:40:36 PM
REVIVAL-AND RENEWAL
By A.W. Tozer

      I hope some of you will agree with me that it is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them! If we have any spiritual concerns, our most pressing obligation is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church. Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest; not a little better than but worse than the seed from which it sprang. Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed. Why is it easier to talk about revival than to experience it? Because followers of Christ must become personally and vitally involved in the death and resurrection of Christ. And this requires repentance, prayer, watchfulness, self-denial, detachment from the world, humility, obedience and cross-carrying!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 01:49:18 AM
DO YOU LOVE BEAUTY?
By A.W. Tozer

      When we look closely at this world system and society, we see the terrible and ugly scars of sin. Sin has obscenely scarred and defaced this world, taking away its harmony and symmetry and beauty. That is the negative picture. Thank God for the positive promise and prospect that heaven is the place of all loveliness, all harmony and beauty. These are not idle words. If you love beautiful things, you had better stay out of hell, for hell will be the quintessence of all that is morally ugly and obscene. Hell will be the ugliest place in all of creation! It is a fact that earth lies between all that is ugly in hell and all that is beautiful in heaven. As long as we are living here, we will have to consider the extreme-much that is good and much that is bad! As believers, we are held firm in the knowledge that the eternal Son came to save us and deliver us to a beautiful heaven and everlasting fellowship with God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 01:51:25 AM
IF JESUS CAME TODAY
By A.W. Tozer

      People have asked me if our present generation would gladly accept Jesus if He came at this time, instead of 2,000 years ago. I have to believe that history does repeat itself! In our own day, many who want to follow the Christian traditions still balk and reject a thorough-going spiritual housecleaning within their own lives. When Jesus came, many realized that it would mean probable financial loss for them to step out and follow Christ. Also, many of those men and women who considered the claims of Christ in His day knew that following Him would call for abrupt and drastic changes in their patterns of living. The proud and selfish aspects of their lives would have been disturbed. Beyond that, there was an almost complete disdain for the inward spiritual life which Jesus taught as a necessity for mankind; that it is the pure in heart who will see God! I am afraid that humanity's choice would still be the same today. People are still more in love with money and pride and pleasure than they are with God and His salvation!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 01:52:15 AM
THE WORD MADE FLESH
By A.W. Tozer

      I have given much thought and contemplation to the sweetest and tenderest of all of the mysteries in God's revelation to man-the Incarnation! Jesus, the Christ, is the Eternal One, for in the fullness of time He humbles Himself John's description is plain: the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. I confess that I would have liked to have seen the baby Jesus. But the glorified Jesus yonder at the right hand of the Majesty on high, was the baby Jesus once cradled in the manger straw. Taking a body of humiliation, He was still the Creator who made the wood of that manger, made the straw, and was Creator of all the beasts that were there. In truth, He made the little town of Bethlehem and all that it was. He also made the star that lingered over the scene that night. He had come into His own world, His Father's world. Everything we touch and handle belongs to Him. So we have come to love Him and adore Him and honor Him!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 01:55:01 AM
CHRISTMAS IS REAL
By A.W. Tozer

      The birth of Christ was a divine declaration, an eternal statement to a race of fallen men and women. The Advent of Christ clearly established: First, that God is real. The heavens were opened and another world than this came into view. Second, that human life is essentially spiritual. With the emergence into human flesh of the Eternal Word of the Father, the fact of man's divine origin is confirmed. Third, that God indeed had spoken by the prophets. The coming of the Messiah-Savior into the world confirmed the veracity of the Old Testament Scripture. Fourth, that man is lost but not abandoned. Had men not been lost no Savior would have been required. Had they been abandoned no Savior would have come. Finally, that this world is not the end. We are made for two worlds and as surely as we now inhabit the one we shall also inhabit the other!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 01:55:35 AM
JOY AND WONDER
By A.W. Tozer

       It is tragic that men and women everywhere are losing the sense of wonder, confessing now only one interest in life-and that is utility! Even Christmas Day has been degraded. We ignore the beautiful and the majestic, asking only "How can I use it? How much profit will it bring?" The believing children of God once upon a time saw God in everything. They were enraptured with everything before them. There was no common hill-they were all the hills of God! There was no common cloud-they were the chariots of God! They saw God in everything: in our day we never look up in happy surprise! But let me tell you that it has been a never-failing delight throughout my years to watch little children on Christmas morning. The gifts may be humble, but the child's burst of spontaneous delight and wonder is genuine and rewarding. That incredulous look in the child's face - everything is full of wonder and beauty! Sad, indeed, for adults to lose the wonder in worship - for worship is wonder and wonder is worship!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 01:56:08 AM
THE HAPPY MORN
By A.W. Tozer

      When we sing, "The Light of the world is Jesus," there should be a glow on our faces that would make the world believe indeed that we really mean it! The Incarnation meant something vast and beautiful for John Milton-and he celebrated the coming of Jesus into the world with one of the most beautiful and moving expressions ever written by a man: This is the month, and this the happy morn, Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King, Of wedded maid, and Virgin mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring. That glorious form, that Light insufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of majesty, He laid aside, and here with us to be, Forsook the courts of everlasting Day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. Oh! run; prevent them with thy humble ode, And lay it lowly at His blessed feet, Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet And join thy voices with the Angel quire, From out His secret altar touched with hallowed fire!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 02:08:13 AM
CHRIST'S WORLD OF NATURE
By A.W. Tozer

      Jesus Christ came into our world in the fullness of time, and His own world, the world of nature, received Him, even though His own people received Him not! It is my own feeling that when Jesus came, all of nature went out to greet Him. The star led the wise men from the East. The cattle in the stable stall in Bethlehem did not bother Him. His own things in created nature received Him. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan believed that when Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, He was there with the wild beasts for 40 days and nights. Dr. Morgan held that there had been a wrong conception, as if Jesus needed angelic protection from the animals. Jesus was perfectly safe there. He was nature's Creator and Lord. Jesus was in total harmony with nature and I am of the opinion that the deeper our Christian commitment becomes, the more likely we will find ourselves in tune and in harmony with the natural world around us!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 02:08:50 AM
BETTER THAN GOLD
By A.W. Tozer

      Every Christian believer should be aware that our God has given us definite promises of an amazing inheritance to be realized in the eternal! The blessings and riches of our divine inheritance are not riches that will come to us for anything that is worthy or superior in ourselves; but will come because of our relationship in faith to the One who is the fount of every blessing. We must remember that an inheritance has not actually been earned. Such bequests come from One who owns everything and gives to another whom He delights to honor and who can establish his rightful claim. Inheritance is a right resulting from a relationship. In this case, the right belongs to the children of God by virtue of the fact that their identification as children of God by faith in the eternal Son of God has been established and is in the heavenly records! The apostle said of us: "Men and women cannot imagine or even dream of all the things which God has prepared for those who love Him!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 02:09:22 AM
CHRIST'S PICTURE EVERYWHERE
By A.W. Tozer

      We try to sympathize with the writer John as he attempts to describe heavenly creatures in human terms in the book of Revelation. He knew and we know that it was impossible for God to fully reveal Himself and the heavenly glories to a man. John tries to describe for us the four "living creatures" in Revelation 4. The first was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had the face of a man; the fourth was like a soaring eagle. Did you know that for centuries Christians have seen those same "faces" in the four gospels of the New Testament? God has put Jesus Christ's picture everywhere! Matthew's is the gospel of the King. Mark's, the gospel of the suffering Servant. Luke's, the gospel of the Son of Man. John's, the gospel of the Son of God. Four loving, adoring, worshiping beings, faithfully and forever devoted to praising God! Make no mistake about it: the imagery is plainly the gospel of Christ. He is what Christianity is all about!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 02:10:08 AM
THE LORD OF ALL BEAUTY
By A.W. Tozer

      Think with me about beauty-and about this matchless One who is the Lord of all beauty, our Savior! God has surely deposited something within our human beings that is capable of understanding and appreciating beauty - the love of harmonious forms, appreciation of colors and beautiful sounds. Brother, these are only the external counterparts of a deeper and more enduring beauty-that which we call moral beauty. It has been the uniqueness and the perfection of Christ's moral beauty that have charmed even those who claimed to be His enemies throughout the centuries of history. We do not have any record of Hitler saying anything against the moral perfection of Jesus. One of the great philosophers, Nietzsche, objected to Paul's theology of justification by faith, but he was strangely moved within himself by the perfection of moral beauty found in the life and character of Jesus, the Christ. We should thank God for the promise of heaven being the place of supreme beauty-and the One who is all-beautiful is there!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 02:10:43 AM
GOD'S SOVEREIGN PLAN
By A.W. Tozer

      Many people continue to live in daily fear that the world "is coming to an end." Only in the Scriptures do we have the description and prediction of the age-ending heavenly and earthly events when our Lord and Savior will be universally acknowledged as King of kings and Lord of lords. God's revelation makes it plain that in "that day" all will acclaim Him "victor!" Human society, generally, refuses to recognize God's sovereignty or His plan for His redeemed people. But no human being or world government will have any control in that fiery day of judgement yet to come. John's vision of things to come tells us clearly and openly that at the appropriate time this world will be taken away from men and placed in the hands of the only Man who has the wisdom and authority to rightly govern. That Man is the eternal Son of God, the worthy Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 02:24:06 AM
THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      I hope that if I am remembered at all it will be for this reason: I have spent my efforts and my energies trying to turn the direction of the people away from the external elements of religion to those that are internal and spiritual. I have tried to take away some of the clouds in the hope that men and women would be able to view God in His glory. I would like to see this sense of glory recaptured throughout the church-too many Christians do not expect to experience any of the glory until they see Him face to face! Within our Christian fellowship and worship, we must recapture the Bible concepts of the perfection of our God Most High! We have lost the sense and the wonder of His awe-fullness, His perfection, His beauty. Oh, I feel that we should preach it, sing it, write about it, talk about it and tell it until we have recaptured the concept of the Majesty of God! Only that can be beautiful ultimately which is holy-and we who belong to Jesus Christ should know the true delight of worshiping God in the beauty of His holiness!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4743.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 02:25:07 AM
YES, EVERYTHING IS WRONG... UNTIL JESUS MAKES IT RIGHT
By A.W. Tozer

       Men and women without God are helpless and hopeless human beings. We do well to remember that sin is to the human nature what cancer is to the human body! Who can argue with the fact that sin has ruined us? Our feverish activity is only one sign of what is wrong with us - sin has plunged us into the depths and so marked us with mortality that we have become brother to the clay-but God never meant it to be so. I recall being invited to speak at a summer conference where much of the emphasis is upon fun and amusement and jokes, something like Hollywood, I suppose. After my sessions there, the pastor-director told me frankly of his wife's reaction: "Honey, after listening to Dr. Tozer, can it be true that there isn't anything good in this world?" Well, I know she had a Bible in her house and I consider her query one of the foolish questions of our times. Of course the world makes its own argument that there are things that can be considered good on the human level-but they belong to us only for a brief day. Nothing is divinely good until it bears the imprint of our Lord Jesus Christ! Men and women may argue and make excuses, but it does not change the fact that in our human society we are completely surrounded by three marks of the ancient curse: everything is recent, temporal and transient! That is why the Holy Spirit whispers faithfully, reminding us of the Christ of God, eternity walking in flesh, God Almighty come to live among us and to save-actually to give us eternity!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4744.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 11:52:24 PM
IN THE BEGINNING
By A.W. Tozer

      None of us can approach a consideration of the eternal nature and Person of Jesus Christ without sensing and confessing our human inadequacy in the face of the divine revelation. John, in his gospel, provides a beautiful portrait of the eternal Christ, starting with those stark, incredible words: "In the beginning!', My brethren, that is where we start with the understanding and the revelation of Christianity! Many others have made a variety of claims but only our Christ is the Christ of God. Certainly it was not Buddha and not Mohammed; not Joseph Smith, not Mrs. Eddy and not Father Divine! All of these and countless others like them had beginnings-but they all had their endings, too. What an incredible difference! Our Christian life commences with the eternal Son of God. This is our Lord Jesus Christ: the Word who was with the Father in the beginning; the Word who was God; and the Word who is God! This is the only one who can assure us: "No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me!"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4745.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 01:11:23 AM
MAN HAS LOST GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search and struggle throughout his lifetime. He does not really know what he is doing here. He does not know where he is going. The sad commentary is that everything he is doing is being done on borrowed time, borrowed money and borrowed strength-and he already knows that in the end he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many humans that they have lost God somewhere along the way. Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave-reflecting only his own sinfulness. Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that love has gone from man's heart. Beyond that, light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbled on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4746.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 01:12:48 AM
SAVIOR AND LORD
By A.W. Tozer

      God chose His only begotten Son as the channel for His grace and truth, for John witnesses that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ!" The Law was given by Moses-but that was all that Moses could do. He could only "command" righteousness. In contrast, only Jesus Christ produces righteousness. All that Moses could do was to forbid us to sin. In contrast, Jesus Christ came to save us from sin. Moses could not save anyone-but Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord. Grace came through Jesus Christ before Mary wept in the manger stall in Bethlehem. It was the grace of God in Christ that saved the human race from extinction when our first parents sinned in the Garden. It is plain in history that God forgave Israel time and time again. It was the grace of God in Christ prior to the Incarnation that made God say: "I have risen early in the morning and stretched out my hands to you!"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4747.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 27, 2006, 02:53:43 AM
OUR CHARTER IS FROM GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      While we are right to thank God in appreciation for all of the great and good men in the history of the Christian church, we actually "follow" none of them. Our charter goes farther back and is from a higher source. They were rightly looked upon as leaders, but they were all servants of God, even as you and I are. Luther sowed. Wesley watered. Finney reaped-but they were only servants of the living God. In our local assemblies, we are part of the church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and perpetuated by the mystery of the new birth. Therefore, our assembly is that of Christian believers gathered unto a Name to worship and adore the Presence. So, in that sense, the strain is gone. The strain and pressure to abide by traditional religious forms all begin to pale in importance as we function in faith as the people of God who glorify His Name and honor His Presence! If all of this is true-and everything within me witnesses that it is-we may insist that God is able to do for us all that He did in the days of the apostles. There has been no revocation of our charter!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4748.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 03:13:28 AM
YES, GOD LOVES US
By A.W. Tozer

      If we are to have any satisfying and lasting understanding of life, it must be divinely given. It begins with the confession that it is indeed the God who has revealed Himself to us who is the central pillar bearing up the universe. Believing that, we then go on to acknowledge that we have discovered His great eternal purpose for men and women made in His own image. I heard a brilliant Canadian author being interviewed on the radio concerning world conditions, and he said: "I confess that our biggest mistake is the fond belief that we humans are special pets of Almighty God and that God has a special fondness for us as people." We have a good answer: man as he was originally created is God's beloved. Man in that sense is the beloved of the universe. God said, "I have made man in My image and man is to be above all other creatures. Redeemed man is to be even above the angels in the heavens. He is to enter into My presence pardoned and unashamed, to worship me and to look on My face while the ages roll on!" No wonder we believe that God is the only certain foundation!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4749.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 09:48:40 PM
RICHES OF GRACE
By A.W. Tozer

      Would it startle you if I dared to say that the living God has never done anything in His universe apart from Jesus Christ? Christians seem to be woefully unaware of the full meaning and measure of the grace of God. Why should we question God's provision when the Holy Spirit tells us through the Apostle John that the Word who became flesh is "full of grace and truth"? Brethren, the stars in their courses, the frogs that croak beside the lake, the angels in heaven above and men and women on earth below-all came out of the channel we call the eternal Word! In the book of Revelation, John bears record of the whole universe joining to give praise to the Lamb that was slain. Under the earth and on the earth, and above the earth John heard creatures praising Jesus Christ, all joining in a great chorus: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing!" Yes, surely the entire universe is beneficiary of God's rich grace in Jesus Christ!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4750.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 09:48:58 PM
BENEFITS OF GRACE
By A.W. Tozer

      Only a believing Christian can testify, "I am a sinner-saved by the grace of God!" But that is not the whole story. All that we have is cut of His grace. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, is the open channel through whom God moves to provide all the benefits He gives, both to saints and to sinners-yes, even to sinners! Even though you may still be unconverted and going your own way, you have received much out of the ocean of His fullness. You have received the pulsing life that beats in your bosom. You have received the brilliant mind and the brain without which you could not function. You have received a memory that strings the events you cherish as a jeweler strings pearls into a necklace. When we say to an unbelieving man, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," we are actually saying to him: "Believe on the One who sustains you and upholds you and who has given you life. Believe in the One who pities you and spares you and keeps you. Believe on the One out of whom you came!"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4751.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 10:06:11 PM
GOD'S GRACIOUS ACT
By A.W. Tozer

      We do well to remember that mankind is only one order of God's beings or creatures. So we wonder: How could the Infinite ever become finite? And: How could the Limitless One deliberately impose limitations upon Himself? In the book of Hebrews we learn to our amazement that God took not upon Him the nature of angels, but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham. We would suppose that God in stepping down would step down just as little as possible. But instead He came down to the lowest order and took upon Himself the nature of Abraham-the seed of Abraham. I like what John Wesley said concerning this mysterious act of God in stooping down to tabernacle with us: we should be sure to distinguish the act from the method by which the act is performed. Do not reject a fact because we do not know how it was done, Wesley advised. With the saints of all ages, we do well just to throw up our hands and confess: "Oh Lord, Thou knowest!"

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4752.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 10:08:29 PM
UNITED WITH CHRIST
By A.W. Tozer

      The Spirit of God has impelled me to preach and write much about the believer's conscious union with Christ-a union that must be felt and experienced. I will never be through talking about the union of the soul with the Savior, the conscious union of the believer's heart with Jesus. Remember, I am not talking about a "theological union" only. I am speaking also of a conscious union, a union that is felt and experienced. I have never been ashamed to tell my congregations that I believe in feelings. I surely believe in what Jonathan Edwards termed "religious affections." That is man's perspective. I am aware also that from God's perspective there are qualities in the Divine Being that can only be known by the heart; never by the intellect! Long ago John wrote: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16). So it is best for us to confess that as humans we have difficulty in understanding what God has said when He says that He loves us!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4753.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 10:10:04 PM
DEALING WITH SIN
By A.W. Tozer

      Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free, unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not a serious matter and that God cares very little about it! They make it seem that God is only concerned with our escaping the consequences. The gospel, then, in practical application, means little more than a way to escape the fruits of our past! But the heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and has seen the dread whiteness of the Most High God will never believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is a message of good news. To remit a man's past without transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his own heart. To that kind of thing God will be no party! For to offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him most!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4754.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 10:11:34 PM
LOVE WITHOUT MEASURE
By A.W. Tozer

      I once wrote something about how God loves us and how dear we are to Him. I was not sure I should put it down on paper-but God knows what I meant. I wrote: "The only eccentricity that I can discover in the heart of God is the fact that a God such as He is should love sinners such as we are!" On this earth a mother will love the son who has betrayed her and shamed her and is now on his way to a life in prison. That seems to be a natural thing for a mother. But there is nothing natural about this love of God. It is a divine thing. It is forced out by the inward pressure within the heart of the God of all grace. That is why He waits for us, puts up with us, desires to lead us on-He loves us! My brethren, this should be our greatest encouragement in view of all that we know about ourselves: God loves us without measure, and He is so keenly interested in our spiritual growth and progress that He stands by in faithfulness to teach and instruct and discipline us as His own dear children!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4755.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 10:13:04 PM
THE WONDER OF REDEMPTION
By A.W. Tozer

      My brethren in the Christian faith, stand with me in defense of this basic doctrine: The living God did not degrade Himself in the Incarnation. When the Word was made flesh, there was no compromise on God's part! It is plain in the ancient Athanasian Creed that the early church fathers were cautious at this point of doctrine. They would not allow us to believe that God, in the Incarnation, became flesh by a coming down of the Deity into flesh, but rather by the taking of mankind into God. That is the wonder of redemption! In the past, the mythical gods of the nations were not strangers to compromise. But the holy God who is God, our heavenly Father, could never compromise Himself! He remained ever God and everything else remained not God. That gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and dwelt among us. This much, then, we can know about the acts of God-He will never back out of His bargain. This amazing union of man with God is effected unto perpetuity!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4756.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 10:14:41 PM
OUR LIFE IS IN CHRIST
By A.W. Tozer

       Certainly not all of the mystery of the Godhead can be known by man-but just as certainly, all that men can know of God in this life is revealed in Jesus Christ! When the Apostle Paul said with yearning, "That I may know Him," he was not speaking of intellectual knowledge. Paul was speaking of the reality of an experience of knowing God personally and consciously, spirit touching spirit and heart touching heart. We know that people spend a lot of time talking about a deeper Christian life-but few seem to want to know and love God for Himself. The precious fact is that God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life, and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship. This means that there is less of me and more of God-thus my spiritual life deepens and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4757.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 01, 2006, 01:18:28 AM
GOD SETS NO LIMIT
By A.W. Tozer

       Do you know that there are Bible "interpreters" now who believe they can set rules as to how much we can have of God? However, the Lord Himself has promised that as far as He is concerned, He is willing to keep the candles of my soul brightly burning! So, my heart tells me to ignore the modern scribes whose interpretations, 1 fear, are forcing the Spirit, the blessed Dove, to fold His wings and be silent. I turn rather to one of Dr. A.B. Simpson's hymns rarely sung now, probably because very few believers have this experience of which he wrote: I take the hand of love divine, I count each precious promise mine With this eternal countersign - I take - He undertakes! I take Thee, blessed Lord, I give myself to Thee; And Thou, according to Thy Word Dost undertake for me!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4758.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 03, 2006, 11:04:29 PM
EXPLORE GOD'S WORD
By A.W. Tozer

      What a strange paradox! The atheistic free-thinker rants and raves about the Bible being a "dangerous" book at the very same time that the Word of God is speaking life to my soul! Strange indeed that some humans have the idea that the Word of God can only be approached with shivering fears. But that is true only of those who love their sin and hate their Savior. The blessed truth is that if I hate my sin and love my Savior, the Word of God is a wonderful revelation, indeed, and a trustworthy guide. We need to be aware always that if we do not keep the Word of God on our side, we will be miserable in our souls continually. It is up to us. What do we sincerely will to do with God and His revealed Word? Years ago, the saintly George Mueller said he had read the Bible hundreds of times, and then he added: "with meditation!" Let us see to it that we read the Word. More than that, we should actually explore it!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4759.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 05, 2006, 01:54:31 AM
FAITH AND OBEDIENCE
By A.W. Tozer

      What is our answer to the many confused persons who keep asking: "How can we know that we have come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ?" First, we stand together on the basic truth that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. A second fact is that men and women are saved by faith in Christ, alone; without works and without our merit. However, the fact that Christ came to save sinners is not enough-that fact in itself cannot save us. Now, in our day, the issues of believing faith and the gift of eternal life are clouded and confused by an "easy acceptance" that has been fatal to millions who may have stopped short in matters of faith and obedience. Faith is believing and receiving, as in Acts 16:31: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved;" and as in John 1:12: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name."

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4760.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 06, 2006, 07:02:13 PM
SALVATION'S PRICE
By A.W. Tozer

      Too many Christian leaders, acting like enthusiastic promoters, are teaching that the essence of faith is this: "Come to Jesus-it will cost you nothing!" The price has all been paid - "it will cost you nothing!" Brethren, that is a dangerous half-truth. There is always a price connected with salvation and with discipleship. God's grace is free, no doubt about that. No one in the wide world can make any human payment towards the plan of salvation or the forgiveness of sins. I take issue on Bible grounds with the statement that "everyone in the world has faith - all you have to do is turn your faith loose." That is truly a misconception of what the Bible teaches about men and God and faith. Actually, faith is a rare and wonderful plant that lives and grows only in the penitent soul. The teaching that every one has faith is simply a form of humanism in the guise of Christianity. I warn you that any faith that belongs to everybody is not the faith that saves. It is not that faith which is a gift of God to the broken and contrite heart!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4761.shtml)


Title: GOD'S FAITHFUL VOICE
Post by: Shammu on July 08, 2006, 02:33:59 AM
GOD'S FAITHFUL VOICE
By A.W. Tozer

      In a day when judgments are soon to come upon the earth, we are often warned by doctors that we eat too much-and that we worry too much. More of us suffer from mental illness than suffer from major physical illnesses. In our self-centered lives, even those who are professing believers are prone to think they will hear the trumpets of woe in time to do something about all this. But at that time, it will be too late! The voice of God is a quiet voice. The voice of God's love and grace is constant-never strident, never compulsive. God has sent His messengers to every generation. He has spoken urgently and faithfully through His prophets; through the concerns of preachers and evangelists; even through the sweet voices of the gospel singers. Further, God has spoken through witnessing men and women: plain, sincere, loving men and women transformed by a spiritual birth which is from above. This is the voice of God we hear in this day of grace-the voice of the Savior calling wandering sinners home.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4762.shtml)


Title: GUIDANCE IS BY THE SPIRIT
Post by: Shammu on July 09, 2006, 03:31:55 AM
GUIDANCE IS BY THE SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      We can always trust the moving and the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and experiences, but we cannot always trust our human leanings and our fleshly and carnal desires. That calls for another word of balance. We know that the emotional life is a proper and noble part of our total personality. But by its very nature, it is of secondary importance, for religion lies in the will, and so does righteousness. God never intended that such a being as mankind should become the mere plaything of his or her feelings. The only good that God recognizes is the willed good. The only valid holiness is a willed holiness. That is why I am always a little suspicious of the overly bubbly Christian who talks too much about himself or herself-and not enough about Jesus. That is also why I am more than a little concerned about the professing Christian whose experience does not seem to have resulted in a true inner longing to be more like Jesus every day in thought, word and deed!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4763.shtml)


Title: MAJESTY-AND MEEKNESS
Post by: Shammu on July 12, 2006, 01:56:03 AM
MAJESTY-AND MEEKNESS
By A.W. Tozer

      When the prophets try to describe for me the attributes, the graces, the worthiness of the God who appeared to them and dealt with them, I feel that I can kneel down and follow their admonition: "He is thy Lord-worship thou Him!" They described Him as radiantly beautiful and fair. They said that He was royal and that He was gracious. They described Him as a mysterious being, and yet they noted His meekness. The meekness was His humanity. The majesty was His deity. You find them everlastingly united in Him. So meek that He nursed at His mother's breast, cried like any baby and needed all the human care that every child needs. But He was also God, and in His majesty He stood before Herod and before Pilate. When He returns, coming down from the sky, it will be in His majesty, the majesty of God; yet it will be in the majesty of the Man who is God! This is our Lord Jesus Christ. Before His foes He stands in majesty. Before His friends, He stands in meekness!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4764.shtml)


Title: BRINGING US TO GLORY
Post by: Shammu on July 13, 2006, 01:32:54 AM
BRINGING US TO GLORY
By A.W. Tozer

      As Christian believers (I am assuming you are a believer), you and I know how we have been changed and regenerated and assured of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning death. On the other hand, where this good news of salvation by faith is not known, religion becomes an actual bondage. If Christianity is known only as a religious institution, it may well become merely a legalistic system of religion, and the hope of eternal life becomes a delusion. I have said this much about reality and assurance to counter the shock you may feel when I add that God wants to fully prepare you in your daily Christian life so that you will be ready indeed for heaven! Many of us have been in God's household for a long time. Remember that God has been trying to do something special within our beings day after day, year after year. Why? Because His purpose is to bring many sons - and daughters too - unto glory!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4765.shtml)


Title: SPIRITUAL READINESS
Post by: Shammu on July 13, 2006, 11:14:17 PM
SPIRITUAL READINESS
By A.W. Tozer

      When the Bible says that God is calling a special people out of the nations to bear the name of His eternal Son, I believe it - and His name is Jesus! Our pious forefathers believed in spiritual preparation, and they said so. They saw themselves as a bride being prepared to meet the Bridegroom. They regarded this earth as the dressing room to outfit themselves for heaven. The evangelical church has come through a period when nearly everyone has believed that there is just one prerequisite to readiness: being born again. We have made being born again almost like receiving a pass to a special event-when Jesus returns we whip out the pass to prove our readiness. Frankly, I do not think it will be like that. I do not believe that all professed believers are automatically ready to meet the Lord. Our Savior Himself was joined by Peter and John and Paul in warning and pleading that we should live and watch and pray, so to be ready for Jesus' coming.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4766.shtml)


Title: JOURNEY OF THE HEART
Post by: Shammu on July 15, 2006, 11:58:15 PM
JOURNEY OF THE HEART
By A.W. Tozer

      I object to the charge that "Tozer preaches experience." I preach Christ, the Savior-that is my calling! But I am positive about the validity, the reality and the value of genuine Christian experience. We can talk to Jesus just as we talk to our other friends. As a boy, I was not a Christian. I did not have the privilege of growing up in a home where Christ was known and loved. God spoke to me through a street preacher who quoted the word of Jesus, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That invitation let me know that Jesus is still calling "Come now!" I went home and up into the attic. There in earnest prayer I gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ. My feet had taken me home and into the attic. But it was my heart that went to Jesus! Within my heart I consented to go to Jesus. I have been a Christian ever since that moment.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4767.shtml)


Title: WE GET AROUND IT
Post by: Shammu on July 20, 2006, 03:47:04 AM
WE GET AROUND IT
By A.W. Tozer

      The Lordship of Jesus is not quite forgotten among Christians, but it has been relegated to our hymn book, where all responsibility toward it may be comfortably discharged in a glow of pleasant religious emotion. The idea that the Man Christ Jesus has absolute and final authority over all its members in every detail of their lives is simply not accepted as true by the rank and file of evangelical Christians. To avoid the necessity of either obeying or rejecting the plain instruction of our Lord in the New Testament, we take refuge in a liberal interpretation of them. We find ways to avoid the sharp point of obedience, comfort carnality and make the words of Christ of none effect. And the essence of it all is that "Christ simply could not have meant what He said." Dare we admit that His teachings are accepted even theoretically only after they have been weakened by "interpretation"? Dare we confess that even in our public worship, the influence of the Lord is very small? We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere!

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4768.shtml)


Title: MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:14:20 PM
MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH
By A.W. Tozer

      Not all of the pooled efforts of any church can make a Christian out of a lost man! The Christian life begins with the individual; a soul has a saving encounter with God and the new life is born. All else being equal, every individual. Christian will find in the communion of a local church the most perfect atmosphere for the fullest development of his spiritual life. There he will also find the best arena for the largest exercise of those gifts and powers with which God may have endowed him. Unfortunately, the word "church" has taken on meanings which it did not originally have. The meaning of the word for the true Christian was fixed by our Lord and His apostles, and no man and no angel has authority to change it! The universal Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and the ground of the Truth. Without doubt, the most important body on earth is the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood!


Title: A BELIEVING REMNANT
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:15:23 PM
A BELIEVING REMNANT
By A.W. Tozer

      What is God trying to do with His believing people?-the Bible calls us a remnant according to grace, believers taken out of the great, teeming swarm of so-called religious people in today's world. I am inclined to join others in wondering if the Lord is postponing His coming because He is trying to get His Bride ready? For years it has been the popular idea in evangelical Christianity that the whole body of believers in Christ would rise like a flock of frightened birds when the Lord comes. But A.B. Simpson and William MacArthur and others in the past generation said, "Oh no! The Lord will take with Him those who are prepared and ready for His coming!" I do not presume to give an answer satisfying to everyone in our churches. But I know that many Christians are too smug about this, saying in effect: "I am converted to Christ through grace, so I can live as I please!" Of some things we cannot be dogmatic; but we know this for sure-God has no halfway house between heaven and hell where He takes us to fumigate us!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:16:24 PM
CHRIST WILL RULE
By A.W. Tozer

      I am not surprised that I still meet people who do not believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to earth. In fact, some of them, armed with their own Bibles and interpretations, are insistent on setting me "straight." One gentleman has written saying that I have it all wrong, and that Paul did not mean what I had said he meant, as I applied Paul's statement to everyday life. I took time to write a reply: "When it comes to saying what he meant, Paul's batting average has been pretty good up to now. So, I will string along with what Paul plainly, clearly said." I did not figure I needed someone to straighten me out-particularly someone who had decided the Bible does not mean what it says. No one is going to argue me out of my faith in what God has revealed and what God has said. As far as I am concerned, it is a fact that Jesus is coming again! The question I do raise is this: Are we prepared spiritually for His coming? Are we tolerating conditions in our midst that will cause us embarrassment when He does come?


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:17:04 PM
A PRAYER OF CONCERN
By A.W. Tozer

      Gracious Father in heaven, I am a pastor in the flock of God and I confess that I am a troubled man. It is too late in my ministry for me to be engaged week after week with men and women who do not hear Thy pleading voice. O Lord, we often wonder if Thou wilt be forced to turn from those who have heard all of the Bible truths over and over again, in order to find willing and responsive listeners elsewhere? We recognize that Thou hast given us plain warnings in Thy Word. We remember all too well that the Jews of Jesus' day held stubbornly to their attitudes of presumption: "We are Abraham's descendents. We know who we are. If God is going to bless anyone, He is going to bless us." Yet at that very time those same self-serving men were planning to kill their promised Messiah, the eternal Son whom Thou hadst sent in the fullness of time. We pray earnestly, 0 God, that we may not be found among those with hardened hearts, no longer able to hear Thy voice.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:17:43 PM
The Last Chapter
By A.W. Tozer

      The four Gospels tell the story of the life and ministry of Jesus, and in so doing, they follow accurately the ordinary course of biography, giving the facts of His birth, growth, work, death and burial. That is the way with biography: the very word itself suggests it, for it comes from bios, life, and graphein, to write, and means the written history of a person's life. So says Noah Webster. Now, when we look at the Gospels we note an odd--and wonderful--thing. An extra chapter is added. Why? Biography, by its own definition, must confine itself to the record of the life of an individual. That part of the book which deals with the family tree is not biography, but history, and that part which follows the record of the subject's death is not biography either. It may be appraisal, or eulogy, or criticism, but not biography, for the reason that the "bios" is gone: the subject is dead. The part that tells of his death is properly the last chapter. The only place in world literature where this order is broken is in the four Gospels. They record the story of the man Jesus from birth to death, and end like every other book of biography has ended since the art of writing was invented. . . . They all agree: Jesus was dead. The life about which they had been writing was gone. The biography was ended. Then, for the only time in this history of human thought, a biographer adds to his book a new section which is authentic biography and begins to write a chapter to follow the last chapter. . . .


Title: The Chapter after the Last
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:18:21 PM
The Chapter after the Last
By A.W. Tozer

      Matthew says, "And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb." Mark says, "And he [Joseph] bought fine linen, and took him [Jesus] down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock." Luke writes, "And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid." John says, ". . . There was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, . . . There laid they Jesus." They all agree: Jesus was dead. The life about which they had been writing was gone, The biography was ended. Then for the only time in this history of human thought, a biographer adds to his book a new section which is authentic biography and begins to write a chapter to follow the last chapter. This time the story did not end with a funeral. The Subject, whose story should have ended at death, was once again back among men to challenge new writers to try to find enough paper and enough ink to write the rest of the story of the life that can never end. Whatever is written of Him now is written of a living man. He was dead, but He is alive forevermore.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:20:03 PM
The Period Becomes a Comma
By A.W. Tozer

      He was dead, but He is alive forevermore. That such a thing could be was intimated by the miracles of restoration which our Lord performed during His earthly ministry. The widow's son was brought back to life for a brief time; at our Lord's gentle call Jairus's little daughter rose from her bed of death; and Lazarus, at Christ's command, came forth bound hand and foot. These were but vague disclosures of what was to come, and were at best only temporary suspensions of the inexorable law which demands that death shall always follow life--death complete and final. For these all died again, and the rule of biography was upheld. Each ended in a sepulcher at last. And that sepulcher was the period at the end of the last chapter. What a perpetual wonder it is, then, that the biography of Jesus had to be resumed. Luke added not merely another chapter, but a whole book. The book of Acts was a logical necessity. "He showed himself alive after his passion," writes Luke. The rest of the New Testament gives us some idea of what He is doing now, and prophecy reveals a little of what He will be doing through the ages to come.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:20:53 PM
The Unending Chapter
By A.W. Tozer

      That next chapter after the last is the source of all the Christian's hope, for it assures us that our Lord has put death in its place and has delivered us from the ancient curse. Death did not end the activities of our Lord; it did not even interrupt them, for while His body lay in Joseph's new tomb, He was preaching to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18-20). And after three days, His spirit was reunited with His body and the new chapter began, the chapter which can have no ending. Had Christ not risen from the dead, His life, beautiful as it was, would have been a human tragedy. Since He did in fact rise, His life has been shown to be an unrelieved triumph. The blood, the pain, the rejection, the agony of dying, the cold, stiff body and the colder tomb--these belong to the former days. The days that are now are days of hope and life and everlasting freedom. What is true of Christ is true also of all who believe in Him. How many saints since New Testament times have lived and hoped and labored and worshiped, only to grow old and bent and to drop at last, weak and helpless, into the open grave. If that was for them the end, then we Christians would be of all men most miserable. But it was not the end. For all of God's true children there will be another chapter, a chapter that will begin with the resurrection and go on as long as eternity endures.


Title: The Psychology of Impermanence
Post by: Shammu on July 25, 2006, 07:21:51 PM
The Psychology of Impermanence
By A.W. Tozer

      Time may show that one of the greatest weaknesses in our modern civilization has been the acceptance of quantity rather than quality as the goal after which to strive. This is particularly evident in the United States. Costly buildings are constantly being erected with no expectation that they shall last more than one short generation. . . . Not only in our architecture but almost everywhere else is this psychology of impermanence found. A beauty salon ad recently defined a term which has long needed clarification. It read: "Permanent Waves. Guaranteed to last three months." So, permanence is the quality of lasting three months! These may be extreme cases, but they illustrate the transiency of men's hopes and the brevity of their dreams apart from God. The church also is suffering from a left-handed acceptance of this philosophy of impermanence. Christianity is resting under the blight of degraded values. And it all stems from a too-eager desire to impress, to gain fleeting attention, to appear well in comparison with some world-beater who happens for the time to have the ear or the eye of the public. This is so foreign to the Scriptures that we wonder how Bible-loving Christians can be deceived by it. The Word of God ignores size and quantity and lays all its stress upon quality. Christ, more than any other man, was followed by the crowds, yet after giving them such help as they were able to receive, He quietly turned from them and deposited His enduring truths in the breasts of His chosen 12. He refused a quick shortcut to the throne and chose instead the long painful way of the cross. He rejected the offers of the multitude and rested His success upon those eternal qualities which He was able to plant in the hearts of a modest number of redeemed men. The ages have thanked God that He did.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 31, 2006, 05:48:55 PM
The Contemporary vs. the Eternal
By A.W. Tozer

      Pastors and churches in our hectic times are harassed by the temptation to seek size at any cost and to secure by inflation what they cannot gain by legitimate growth. The mixed multitude cries for quantity and will not forgive a minister who insists upon solid values and permanence. Many a man of God is being subjected to cruel pressure by the ill-taught members of his flock who scorn his slow methods and demand quick results and a popular following regardless of quality. These children play in the marketplaces and cannot overlook the affront we do them by our refusal to dance when they whistle or to weep when they out of caprice pipe a sad tune. They are greedy for thrills, and since they dare no longer seek them in the theater, they demand to have them brought into the church. We who follow Christ are men and women of eternity. We must put no confidence in the passing scenes of the disappearing world. We must resist every attempt of Satan to palm off upon us the values that belong to mortality. Nothing less than forever is long enough for us. We view with amused sadness the frenetic scramble of the world to gain a brief moment in the sun. "The book of the month," for instance, has a strange sound to one who has dwelt with God and taken his values from the Ancient of Days. "The man of the year" cannot impress those men and women who are making their plans for that long eternity when days and years have passed away and time is no more.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4778.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 31, 2006, 05:50:20 PM
Growing Oaks or Ears of Popcorn
By A.W. Tozer

      The church must claim again her ancient dowry of everlastingness. She must begin again to deal with ages and millenniums rather then with days and years. She must not count numbers but test foundations. She must work for permanence rather than for appearance. Her children must seek those enduring things that have been touched with immortality. The shallow brook of popular religion chatters on its nervous way and thinks the ocean too quiet and dull because it lies deep in its mighty bed and is unaffected by the latest shower. Faith in one of its aspects moves mountains; in another it gives patience to see the promises afar off and to wait quietly for their fulfillment. Insistence upon an immediate answer to every request of the soul is an evidence of religious infantilism. It takes God longer to grow an oak than to grow an ear of popcorn. It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run--and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4779.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 31, 2006, 05:51:32 PM
Concentrating on Things that Really Matter
By A.W. Tozer

      In the Christian life also we find this pattern repeated: a few important things and a world of burdensome but unimportant ones. The Spirit-taught Christian must look past the multiplicity of incidental things and find the few that really matter. And let it be repeated for our encouragement, they are few in number and surprisingly easy to identify. The Scriptures make perfectly clear what they are: the fact of God, the Person and work of Christ, faith and obedience, hope and love. These along with a few more constitute the essence of the truth which we must know and love. Christ summed up the moral law as love to God and man. Salvation He made to rest upon faith in God and in the One whom He had sent. Paul simplified the wonders of the spiritual life in the words, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." The temptation to forget the few spiritual essentials and to go wandering off after unimportant things is very strong, especially to Christians of a certain curious type of mind. Such persons find the great majors of the faith of our fathers altogether too tame for them. Their souls loathe that light bread; their appetites crave the gamy tang of fresh-killed meat. They take great pride in their reputation as being mighty hunters before the Lord, and any time we look out we may see them returning from the chase with some new mystery hanging limply over their shoulder. Usually the game they bring down is something on which there is a biblical closed season. Some vague hint in the Scriptures, some obscure verse about which the translators disagree, some marginal note for which there is not much scholarly authority: these are their favorite meat. They are especially skillful at propounding notions which have never been a part of the Christian heritage of truth. Their enthusiasm mounts with the uncertainty of their position, and their dogmatism grows firmer in proportion to the mystery which surrounds their subject.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4780.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on July 31, 2006, 05:52:54 PM
Heart Health Food or Just Tasty Snacks
By A.W. Tozer

      Dr. Samuel Johnson, the famous English sage, once said that one of the surest evidences of intellectual immaturity is the desire to startle people. Yet there are Christians who have been fed upon the odd, the strange and the curious so long and so exclusively that they have become wholly unfitted spiritually to receive or to appreciate sound doctrine. They live to be startled by something new or thrilled by something wonderful. They will believe anything so long as it is just a little away from the time-honored beliefs of sober Christian men. A serious discourse calling for repentance, humbleness of mind and holiness of life is impatiently dismissed as old-fashioned, dull and lacking in "audience appeal." Yet these things are just the ones that rank highest on the list of things we need to hear, and by them we shall all be judged in that great day of Christ. A church fed on excitement is no New Testament church at all. The desire for surface stimulation is a sure mark of the fallen nature, the very thing Christ died to deliver us from. A curious crowd of baptized worldlings waiting each Sunday for the quasi-religious needle to give them a lift bears no relation whatsoever to a true assembly of Christian believers. And that its members protest their undying faith in the Bible does not change things any. "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4781.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 05, 2006, 10:43:07 PM
Staying with the Clear Teaching of Scripture
By A.W. Tozer

      Every believer as well as every minister of Christ must decide whether he will put his emphasis upon the majors or the minors. He must decide whether he will stay by the sober truths which constitute the beating heart of the Scriptures or turn his attention to those marginal doctrines which always bring division and which, at their best, could not help us much on our way to the Celestial City. No man has any moral right to propound any teaching about which there is not full agreement among Bible Christians until he has made himself familiar with church history and with the development of Christian doctrine through the centuries. The historic approach is best. After we have discovered what holy men believed, what great reformers and saints taught, what the purest souls and mightiest workers held to be important for holy living and dying--then we are in a fair position to appraise our own teaching. Humility is the only state of mind in which to approach the Scriptures. The Spirit will teach the humble soul those things that make for his salvation and for a holy walk and fruitful service here below. And little else matters.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4782.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 05, 2006, 10:44:17 PM
The Illogic of Complaining
By A.W. Tozer

      Among those sins most exquisitely fitted to injure the soul and destroy the testimony, few can equal the sin of complaining. Yet the habit is so widespread that we hardly notice it among us. The complaining heart never lacks for occasion. It can always find reason enough to be unhappy. The object of its censure may be almost anything: the weather, the church, the difficulties of the way, other Christians or even God Himself. A complaining Christian puts himself in a position morally untenable. The simple logic of his professed discipleship is against him with an unanswerable argument. Its reasoning runs like this: First, he is a Christian because he chose to be. There are no conscripts in the army of God. He is, therefore, in the awkward position of complaining against the very conditions he brought himself into by his own free choice. Secondly, he can quit any time he desires. No Christian wears a chain on his leg. Yet he still continues on, grumbling as he goes, and for such conduct he has no defense.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4783.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 05, 2006, 10:45:22 PM
Costs of Complaining
By A.W. Tozer

      The complainer is further embarassed by the moral company in which he finds himself. His is a spiritual affinity with some pretty shady characters: Cain, Korah, the sulky elder brother, the petulant Jews of the Book of Malachi who answered every fatherly admonition of God with an ill-humored "Wherefore have we? Wherein have we?" These are but a few faces that stand out in the picture of the disgruntled followers of the religious way. And the complaining Christian, if he but looks closely, will see his own face peering out at him from the background. Lastly, the believer who complains against the difficulties of the way proves that he has never felt or known the sorrows which broke over the head of Christ when He was here among men. After one look at Gethsemane or Calvary, the Christian can never again believe that his own path is a hard one. We dare not compare our trifling pains with the sublime passion endured for our salvation. Any comparison would itself be the supreme argument against our complaints, for what sorrow is like unto His? After saying all this we are yet sure that no one can be reasoned out of the habit of complaining. That habit is more than a habit--it is a disease of the soul, and as such, it will never yield to mere logic. The only cure is cleansing in the blood of the Lamb.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4784.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 05, 2006, 10:46:22 PM
Daring to Stand for Truth
By A.W. Tozer

      The nearer we draw to the heart of God the less taste we will have for controversy. The peace we know in God's bosom is so sweet that it is but natural that we want to keep it unbroken to enjoy as fully and as long as possible. The Spirit-filled Christian is never a good fighter. He is at too many disadvantages. The enemy is always better at invective than he will allow himself to be. The devil has all the picturesque epithets, and his followers have no conscience about using them. The Christian is always more at home, blessing than he is opposing. He is, moreover, much thinner-skinned than his adversaries. He shrinks from an angry countenance and draws back from bitter words. They are symbols of a world he has long ago forsaken for the quiet of the kingdom of God where love and good will prevail. All this is in his favor, for it marks him out as a man in whom there is no hate and who earnestly desires to live at peace with all men. In spite of his sincere longing for peace, however, there will be times when he dare not allow himself to enjoy it. There are times when it is a sin to be at peace. There are circumstances when there is nothing to do but to stand up and vigorously oppose. To wink at iniquity for the sake of peace is not a proof of superior spirituality; it is rather a sign of a reprehensible timidity which dare not oppose sin for fear of the consequences. For it will cost us heavily to stand for the right when the wrong is in the majority, which is 100 percent of the time.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4785.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 05, 2006, 10:47:36 PM
Standing for Truth
By A.W. Tozer

      We have developed in recent times a peace-loving, soft-spoken, tame and harmless brand of Christian of whom the world has no fear and for whom it has little respect. We are careful, for instance, never to speak in public against any of the false cults lest we be thought intolerant. We fear to talk against the destructive sins of modern civilization for fear someone will brand us as bigoted and narrow. Little by little we have been forced off the hard earth into a religious cloud-land where we are permitted to wing our harmless way around, like swallows at sundown, saying nothing that might stir the ire of the sons of this world. That Neo-Christianity, which seems for the time to be the most popular (and is certainly the most aggressive), is very careful not to oppose sin. It wins its crowds by amusing them and its converts by hiding from them the full implications of the Christian message. It carries on its projects after the ballyhoo methods of American business. Well might we paraphrase Wordsworth and cry, "Elijah, thou shouldst be living at this hour; America has need of thee." We stand in desperate need of a few men like Elijah who will dare to face up to the brazen sinners who dictate our every way of life. Sin in the full proportions of a revolution or a plague has all but destroyed our civilization while church people have played like children in the marketplace. What has happened to the spirit of the American Christian? Has our gold become dim? Have we lost the spirit of discernment till we can no longer recognize our captors? How much longer will we hide in caves while Ahab and Jezebel continue to pollute the temple and ravage the land? Surely we should give this some serious thought and prayer before it is too late--if indeed it is not too late already.

A.W. Tozer (http://articles.christiansunite.com/article4786.shtml)


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:45:46 PM
When Fish Catch the Fisherman
By A.W. Tozer

      History shows clearly enough that true spirituality has never at any time been the possession of the masses. In any given period since the fall of the human race, only a few persons ever discerned the right way or walked in God's law. God's truth has never been popular. Wherever Christianity becomes popular, it is not on its way to die--it has already died. Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets. When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong. At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded. To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous. The historic church, while she was a hated minority group, had a moral power that made her terrible to evil and invincible before her foes. When the Roman masses, without change of heart, were made Christian by baptism, Christianity gained popularity and lost her spiritual glow. From there she went on to adopt the ways of Rome and to follow her pagan religions. The fish caught the fisherman, and what started out to be the conversion of Rome became finally the conversion of the church. From that ignominious captivity, the church has never been fully delivered.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:46:36 PM
In the World But Not of It
By A.W. Tozer

      We are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it. Our glory lies in a spiritual withdrawal from all that builds on dust. The bee finds no honey while crawling around the hive. Honey is in the flower far away where there is quiet and peace and the sun and the flowing stream; there the bee must go to find it. The Christian will find slim pickings where professed believers play and pray all in one breath. He may be compelled sometimes to travel alone or at least to go with the ostracized few. To belong to the despised minority may be the price he must pay for power. But power is cheap at any price.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:47:17 PM
Making the Most of Today
By A.W. Tozer

       We have little sympathy for the psychology expressed in the various "Back To" movements among Christians today. Our direction is not back, but forward. Few acts are as futile as sitting down and singing "Backward, turn backward, O Time, in thy flight." We cannot turn the clock back. We cannot bring back better days. And it is not necessary or desirable that we should. If by means of some fantastic "time machine" one of us were permitted to go backward and visit some favorite period of the past, he would in all probability find the experience extremely disappointing. He would find himself a kind of anachronism, wholly out of place and thoroughly unhappy. To each one it is given to occupy his own spot in history. He must, like David, do the will of God by serving his own generation. It is in his own day that he must meet God in satisfying encounter. It is in his today, not in some pensive yesterday, that he must explore the riches of divine grace, do his allotted work and win his crown. Psychologists attribute certain abnormal mental conditions to an unconscious desire to escape the responsibilities of adult life by returning to the quiet and security of the prenatal state. Our habit of trying to recapture the spiritual glow of some better time by going backward creates a suspicion that we have lost the will to fight and are retiring to a safer spot behind the lines where we can sit down in peace to dream of armies defeated and battles won.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:48:42 PM
Let Us Draw Near Today
By A.W. Tozer

       Today is our day. No one at any time has ever had any spiritual graces that we at this time cannot enjoy if we will meet the terms on which they are given. If these times are morally darker, they but provide a background against which we can shine the brighter. Our God is the God of today as well as of yesterday, and we may be sure that wherever our tomorrows may carry us, our faithful God will be with us as He was with Abraham and David and Paul. Those great men did not need us then, and we cannot have them with us now. Amen. So be it. And God be praised. We cannot have them, but we can have that which is infinitely better--we can have their God and Father, and we can have their Savior, and we can have the same blessed Holy Spirit that made them great.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:49:35 PM
Let's Go On!
By A.W. Tozer

      The will of God is always the proper goal for every one of us. Where God is must be the place of desire. Any motion toward God is a forward motion. Even repentance is not a retreat toward the past but a decided march into a more glorious future. Restitution is not a return to yesterday but a step into a blessed tomorrow. There is such a thing as going backward in the spiritual life. There is such a thing as a retreat from a spiritual position once held by us as individual Christians. And there is such a thing as denominations and missionary societies making a wholesale withdrawal from ground once won at tremendous cost. If we find that we have gone back, then we should immediately reverse the direction and again go forward. The great truths of superior spiritual experiences, of high levels of personal living, of rapturous communion with the Three Persons of the Godhead, of victory over the flesh, of the gifts and power of the Spirit: what has happened to these? Once they marked us out and made us peculiar. What about it today? These are fair questions and they demand an answer. If candid self-examination reveals a departure from the green pastures where once our fathers grazed, what then? Let there be no wasting of time in a futile mooning over the past. Rather let us arise and go! Let us go forward to a new and better place in God. The land lies before us. Let us go in and take it.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:50:16 PM
Keeping the Message of the Bible Central
By A.W. Tozer

      The Bible is the most important book in the world, and for Christians it is just about the only book--certainly the only book that should claim the place of honor in the public worship of God. We are, we trust, duly grateful for every good spiritual book written since the close of the New Testament canon. We do not undervalue the devotional book or the carefully prepared theological work, but when saints meet in communion there should be but one book, the Bible. The place given to the Scriptures by the different churches may be learned from the very architecture of the building in which their congregations gather. The ritualistic church builds itself around the altar. Toward that altar all eyes are directed and around that altar various and sundry choirs are ranged, to chant or respond or sing as the occasion may demand. The typical Protestant church is quite different. Its center of interest is the pulpit, and upon that pulpit rests a copy of the Bible printed in the language of the people. Preachers may come and preachers may go, but that old pulpit Bible remains. There it lies while generations pass, a source of light in the world's darkness, a fountain of pure water in the world's barren desert. And that minister is considered the best who can expound its sweet mysteries. Lack of oratorical gifts will be forgiven if the man of God will but open the Book and give his hearers to eat of the heavenly manna.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:51:46 PM
The Word of God
By A.W. Tozer

      Of course we of this generation cannot know by firsthand experience how the Word of God was read in other times. But it would be hard to conceive of our fathers having done a poorer job than we do when it comes to the public reading of the Scriptures. Most of us read the Scriptures so badly that a good performance draws attention by its rarity. It could be argued that since everyone these days owns his own copy of the Scriptures, the need for the public reading of the Word is not as great as formerly. If that is true, then let us not bother to read the Scriptures at all in our churches. But if we are going to read the Word publicly, then it is incumbent upon us to read it well. A mumbled, badly articulated and unintelligent reading of the Sacred Scriptures will do more than we think to give the listeners the idea that the Word is not important. We do not, however, concur in the belief that because the Word has attained such wide circulation we should not read it in our public meetings. We should by all means read it, and we should make the reading a memorable experience for those who hear. Every man who is honored with the leadership of public worship should learn to read well. And do not imagine that anyone who can read at all can read well. Even learned men break down here. We are all familiar with those public figures who can talk fluently on almost any subject but flunk out miserably when they try to quote the Scriptures. Reading the Bible well is something not picked up overnight.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:52:23 PM
Public Bible-Reading as Part of Worship
By A.W. Tozer

      To read the Bible well in public we must first love it. The voice, if it is free, unconsciously follows the emotional tone. Reverence cannot be simulated. No one who does not feel the deep solemnity of the Holy Word can properly express it. God will not allow His Book to become the plaything of the rhetorician. That is why we instinctively draw back from every simulated tone in the reading of the Scriptures. The radio announcer's artificial unction cannot hide the absence of the real thing. The man who stands to declaim the Scriptures like a schoolboy reciting a passage from Hamlet can only leave his hearers with a feeling of disappointment. They know they have been cheated, though most of them could not tell just how. Again, to read the Bible well, one must know what the words mean and allow them to mean just that, without putting any body English on the passage to make it take a turn of meaning not found in the text. Probably the hardest part of learning to read well is eliminating ourselves. We read best when we get ourselves out of the transaction and let God talk through the imperfect medium of our voice. The beginner should read aloud whole books of the Bible in the privacy of his own room. In that way he can learn to hear his own voice and will know how he sounds to others. Let him consult a pronouncing Bible to learn the correct pronunciations of the names and places of the Bible. Let him cultivate the habit of reading slowly and distinctly with the reverence and dignity proper to the subject matter. Surely Protestants deserve a better sort of Scripture reading than they are now getting in our churches. And we who do the reading are the only ones who can give it to them.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:53:10 PM
Loving God and Our Neighbor
By A.W. Tozer

      The whole of true religion can be summed up in the spiritual love of Jesus. To love God and to love our neighbor was said by our Lord to be the fulfilling of the law and the prophets. All Christians believe that God reveals Himself as Christ; so the love of Jesus is in truth the love of God. Love as experienced by human beings may be on either of two levels, the human or the divine. These are not the same. They differ not only in intensity and elevation but in kind. Human love is undoubtedly the best thing left to the human race. Though it is often perverted and sometimes degraded, it is still Adam's best product, and without it, life on earth would be unendurable. Let us imagine what the world would be like if every trace of human love were suddenly removed. The heart recoils from the contemplation of such a horror. Without love, earth would not differ from hell except for the difference of location. Let us treasure what is left of love among the sons of men. It is not perfect, but it makes life bearable and even sweet here below. But human love is not divine love and should never be confused with it. Among the sentimental religionists, the two are accepted as being the very same and no distinctions are made. This is a great moral blunder and one that leads to spiritual frustration and disappointment. If we are to think clearly and pray rightly, we must recognize the difference between love that is merely human and that other love which cometh down from above. Charles Wesley knew the difference and made it clear in his famous lines: Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven, to earth come down. Here all grades and degrees of human love are acknowledged, and the true love which comes down from heaven is placed above them as far as the heaven is above the earth. This is not only good poetry, it is good theology as well.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:53:44 PM
"Spiritual" Love
By A.W. Tozer

      The human heart can love the human Jesus as it can love the human Lincoln, but the spiritual love of Jesus is something altogether different from and infinitely superior to the purest love the human heart can know. Indeed it is not possible to love Jesus rightly except by the Holy Spirit. Only the Third Person of the Trinity can love the Second Person in a manner pleasing to the Father. The spiritual love of Jesus is nothing else but the Spirit in us loving Christ the Eternal Son. Christ, after the flesh, receives a great deal of fawning attention from the liberal and the modernist, but love that is not the outflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not true spiritual love and cannot be acceptable to God. We do Christ no honor when we do no more than to give Him the best of our human love. Even though we love Him better than we love any other man, still it is not enough if He merely wins first place in competition with Socrates or Walt Whitman. He is not rightly loved until He is loved as very God of very God, and the Spirit within us does the loving. There is much in present-day gospel circles that illustrates the distinction we are pointing out. A great many loud protestations of love for Christ leave the discerning heart with the impression that they are but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. Innumerable sweet love ballads are sung to Jesus by persons who have never known the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit or felt the shock that comes with a true sight of the sinful pollution of nature.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 19, 2006, 07:54:21 PM
Living as Light in the World
By A.W. Tozer

      Whether or not the Christian should separate himself from the world is not open to debate. The question has been settled for him by the Sacred Scriptures, an authority from which there can be no appeal. The New Testament is very plain: "They are not of the world," said our Lord, "even as I am not of the world." James wrote, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." John said, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Such teaching as this would appear to be plain enough, and there should be no doubt about what is intended. But we must never underestimate the ability of the human mind to get itself lost on a paved highway in broad daylight. Some well-intentioned souls have managed to get themselves confused about their relation to the world and have sought to escape it by hiding from it. They read into the biblical command to separate from the world the idea of complete withdrawal from all human activities and seek peace of heart by cutting themselves off, as far as possible, from the great stream of human life and thought. And that is not good.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 28, 2006, 02:11:39 AM
Living as Relatives to Humankind
By A.W. Tozer

      We human beings were made for each other, and what any of us is doing at any time cannot be a matter of indifference to the rest of us. On the human plane all men are brothers. The Son of Man never denied this sweet tie with humankind. Over a stubborn and sinful Jerusalem He frankly shed tears and, in the hour of death, prayed for men who were so blind as to nail their God on a tree. And Paul, who burned always to be like his Lord, wept over the unbelieving Israel with an anguish that goaded him to an utterance so daring as to cause the ages to wonder: "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Peace of heart that is won by refusing to bear the common yoke of human sympathy is a peace unworthy of a Christian. To seek tranquility by stopping our ears to the cries of human pain is to make ourselves not Christians but a kind of degenerate stoic having no relation either to stoicism or Christianity. We Christians should never try to escape from the burdens and woes of life among men. The hermit and the anchorite sound good in poetry, but stripped of their artificial romance, they are not good examples of what the followers of Christ should be. True peace comes not by a retreat from the world but by the overpowering presence of Christ in the heart. "Christ in you" is the answer to our cry for peace. The Salvation Army lassie distributing gospel literature in a saloon is a better example of the separated life than a prim and cold-faced saint who has long ago fled the world to take refuge in the barren caverns of her soul.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 28, 2006, 02:12:28 AM
Living as Good Samaritans
By A.W. Tozer

      The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this: The world's pleasures and the world's treasures henceforth have no appeal for me. I reckon myself crucified to the world and the world crucified to me. But the multitudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my human tears. I want no blessing that I cannot share. I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept. I scorn a happiness that I must purchase with ignorance. I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellow men. I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam's sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam's tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave or up into God's heaven mourning for the lost and the perishing. And thus and thus will I do as God enables me. Amen


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on August 28, 2006, 02:13:26 AM
Wrestling with those Unanswerable Questions
By A.W. Tozer

      All of us at some time in our life become suddenly aware that we are in a strange place called the world. We do not remember coming here and we are not sure when or how we are going to leave. A score of pressing questions fill our minds. We must have the answers. Where did we come from? What are we? Why are we here? Where do we go next? What does God require of us? How can we find the heaven of peace? Such questions as these insist upon an answer. But we have no answer. Then we approach someone who looks as if he might know. We eagerly put our question, but we get only a shake of the head and the usual, "I'm sorry. I'm a stranger here myself." At first we are frightfully disappointed, for we had hoped someone might know. There are the great stone buildings covered with ivy where the best brains of the world hold forth day after day. There are the great libraries piled with solemn books, each filled with learned words. But the desired answer is nowhere. A few attempt to direct us, but prove by their own bewilderment that they know as little as we do about the whole thing. The philosopher seeks, but never finds. The scientist searches, but finds no data to help us beyond the last hour and the narrow house and the shroud. The poet soars on stubby wings, but soon comes down again, tired and confused. Each one has the same answer: "I'm sorry. . . . I'm a stranger here myself."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 12:58:49 AM
God's Word Gives Light
By A.W. Tozer

      "I'm sorry. . . . I'm a stranger here myself." That is the only honest answer. Others are sometimes given, but they are never valid answers. They spring out of pride or error or uncritical and wishful thinking, and they are not to be trusted. It is no good asking for information of another who is as ignorant as ourselves. We are all strangers in a strange world. Is our state hopeless then? Is no answer to be had? Must we live in a world we do not understand and go out into a future of dark uncertainty? No, thank God, things are not as bad as that. There is an answer. We can find light. Our questions have been answered. "From a child," wrote Paul to Timothy, "thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." It is the universal testimony of the saints of the ages that when the light of the Scriptures enters, the darkness of spiritual ignorance vanishes. God's Word giveth light. It has answer for every qestion that matters. The merely curious question it ignores, but every real inquiry made by the sincere heart is met with full light. It is important that we search the Scriptures daily, and more important still that we approach them with faith and humility, bowing our hearts to their instructions and commands. Then through faith in Christ we cease to be strangers and become sons of God.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 12:59:24 AM
Distinguishing What is Caesar's and What is God's
By A.W. Tozer

      One thing must be kept in mind: We Christians are Christians first and everything else after that. Our first alliegiance is to the kingdom of God. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are grateful for political freedom. We thank God for democracy as a way of life. But we never forget that we are sons of God and citizens of another city whose builder and maker is God. For this reason, we must not identify the gospel with any political system or make Christianity to be synonymous with any form of government, however noble. Christ stands alone, above and outside of every ideology devised by man. He does not join any of our parties or take sides with any of our great men except as they may come over on His side and try to follow Him in righteousness and true holiness. Then He is for them, but only as individuals, never as leaders of some political faction. The true Christian will be loyal to his country and obedient to those in authority, but he will never fall into the error of confusing his own national culture with Christianity. Christianity is bigger than any country, loftier than any civilization, broader than any human ideology.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:02:01 AM
Everyone's Savior
By A.W. Tozer

      It may shock some people to be told that Christ is not an American. Nor was He a Jew merely. He was born of the seed of Abraham of the line of David, and His mother was a Jewess of the tribe of Judah. Still Christ is vastly more than a Jew. His dearest name for himself was "the Son of man." He came through the Jewish race, but he came to the human race. He is Everyman's countryman and Everyman's contemporary. He is building a kingdom of all nations and tribes and tongues and peoples. He has no favorites, "but in every nation he that fearest him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Let us remember that the gospel is a divine thing. It receives no virtue from any of man's religions or philosophies. It came down to us out of heaven, a separate thing, like Peter's sheet, wholly on its own. It is something given of God. It operates in the individual heart wherever that heart may be found. Any form of human government, however lofty, deals with the citizen only as long as he lives. At the graveside it bids him adieu. It may have made his journey a little easier, and, if so, all lovers of the human race will thank God for that. But in the cool earth, slaves and free men lie down together. Then what matter the talk and the turmoil? Who was right and who was wrong in this or that political squabble doesn't matter to the dead. Judgment and sin and heaven and hell are all that matter then. So, let's keep cool, and let's think like Christians. Christ will be standing upright, tall and immortal, after the tumult and the shouting dies and the captains and the kings lie stretched side by side, the "cause" that made them famous forgotten and their whole significance reduced to a paragraph in a history book.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:02:35 AM
OUR GOD: ALL SUFFICIENT
By A.W. Tozer

       Have we modern men and women never given thought or meditation concerning the eternal nature of God? Who are we to imagine that we are "bailing out" the living God when we drop a $10 bill in the Sunday offering plate? Let us thank God for the reality of His causeless existence. Our God only is all sufficient, uncreated, unborn, the living and eternal and self-existent God! I refer often to the great worshiping heart of Frederick William Faber, who in these words celebrated his vision of God's eternal self-existence: Father! the sweetest, dearest Name, That men or angels know! Fountain of life, that had no fount From which itself could flow. Thy vastness is not young or old, Thy life hath never grown; No time can measure out Thy days, No space can make Thy throne!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:03:11 AM
SHARING GOD'S NATURE
By A.W. Tozer

      Our heavenly Father disciplines us for our own good, "that we may share in His holiness." God's motives are always loving! I have known people who seemed to be terrified by God's loving desire that we should reflect His own holiness and goodness. As God's faithful children, we should be attracted to holiness, for holiness Godlikeness-likeness to God! God encourages every Christian believer to follow after holiness. We know who we are and we know who God is. He does not ask us to be God and He does not ask us to produce the holiness that only He Himself knows. Only God is holy absolutely: all other beings can be holy only in relative degrees. Actually, it is amazing and wonderful that God should promise us the privilege of sharing in His nature. He remembers we were made of dust. So He tells us what is in His being as He thinks of us: "It is My desire that you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Me. I want you to be more like Jesus, My eternal Son, every day you live!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:04:49 AM
GOD REVEALS HIMSELF
By A.W. Tozer

      I often wonder how so many people can live with a continuing hope that they will in some way be able to commune with God through their intellectual capacities. When will they realize that if they could possibly "discover" God they realize that with the intellect, they would be equal to God? Isaiah is a dramatic example of God's revelation of Himself to mankind. Isaiah could have tried for a million years to reach God by means of his intellect. But brainpower is not the means by which we find God! Brethren, it is true that all of us would still be far from God if He had not graciously and in love revealed Himself to us. In the space of a short second of time, the Lord who loves us can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of a man or woman. It is only then that an Isaiah, or any one of us, can say with humble assurance, "I know Him!" A committed Christian, then, should have upon him an element that is beyond psychology-beyond all natural laws and into spiritual laws!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:05:22 AM
JESUS SAID HE WAS GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      The more we study the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when He lived on earth among us, the more certain we are about who He is. Some critics have scoffed: "Jesus did not claim to be God. He only said He was the Son of Man." It is true that Jesus used the term, "Son of Man" frequently. But He testified boldly, even among those who were His sworn enemies, that He was God. He said with great forcefulness that He had come from the Father in heaven and that He was equal with the Father. Bible-believing Christians stand together on this. They may differ about the mode of baptism, church policy or the return of the Lord. But they agree on the deity of the eternal Son. Jesus Christ is of one substance with the Father-begotten, not created (Nicene Creed). In our defense of this truth we must be very careful and old-belligerent, if need be! Christ is the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of God's Person!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:05:56 AM
TRUTH IS A PERSON
By A.W. Tozer

      Let me say boldly that it is not the difficulty of discovering truth, but the unwillingness to obey it, that makes it so rare among men. Our Lord said, "I am the Truth." And again He said, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Truth, therefore, is not hard to find for the very reason that it is seeking us! So we learn that Truth is not a thing for which we must search, but a Person to whom we must hearken! In the New Testament, multitudes came to Jesus for physical help, but only rarely did one seek Him out to learn the Truth. The whole picture in the gospels is one of a seeking Savior, not one of seeking men. The Truth was hunting for those who would receive it, and relatively few did, for "many are called, but few are chosen."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:07:10 AM
CHRIST IS NOT DIVIDED
By A.W. Tozer

      Much of our full gospel literature and much of our preaching tend to perpetuate a misunderstanding of what the Bible says about obedience and Christian discipleship. I think the following is a fair statement of what I was taught in my early Christian experience and before I began to pray and study and anguish over the whole matter: "We are saved by accepting Christ as our Savior." "We are sanctified by accepting Christ as our Lord." "We may do the first without doing the second." What a tragedy that in our day we often hear the gospel appeal made in this way: "Come to Jesus! You do not have to obey anyone. You do not have to give up anything. Just come to Him and believe in Him as Savior!" The fact that we hear this everywhere does not make it right! To urge men and women to believe in a divided Christ is bad teaching-for no one can receive a half or a third or a quarter of the divine Person of Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:07:43 AM
WHO HEARS THE CALL OF GOD?
By A.W. Tozer

      Who can deny that there are certain persons who, though still unconverted, nevertheless differ from the crowd, marked out of God, stricken with an interior wound and susceptible to the call of God? In the prayer of Jesus in John 17:1lb, He said: "Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me." Surely no man is ever the same after God has laid His hand upon him. He will have certain marks, perhaps some not easy to detect. First might be a deep reverence for divine things. A sense of the sacred must be present or there can be no receptivity to God and truth. Another mark is great moral sensitivity. When God begins to work in a man to bring him to salvation He makes him acutely sensitive to evil. Another mark of the Spirit's working is a mighty moral discontent. It does take a work of God in a man to sour him on the world and to turn him against himself; yet until this has happened he is psychologically unable to repent and believe!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:08:16 AM
WHO WILL COME TO JESUS?
By A.W. Tozer

      God's invitation to men is broad but not unqualified. The words "whosoever will may come" throw the door open, indeed, but the church is carrying the gospel invitation far beyond its proper bounds, turning it into something more human and less divine than that found in the sacred Scriptures. What we tend to overlook is that the word "whosoever" never stands by itself. Always its meaning is modified by the word "believe" or "will" or "come." According to the teachings of Christ no one will or can come and believe unless there has been done within him a prevenient work of God enabling him to do so. In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus teaches as that no one can come of himself; he must first be drawn by the Father. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," Jesus said. Before any man or woman can be saved, he or she must feel a consuming spiritual hunger. Where a hungry heart is found, we may be sure that God was there first-"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16).


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:08:57 AM
CHRIST CAME TO SAVE
By A.W. Tozer

      Millions who have rejected the Christian gospel have generally been too busy and too involved to ask themselves a simple question: "What really is God's intention toward me?" They could have found the plain and simple answer given by the Apostle John: "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved." This is a gravely significant message from the heart of God Himself! Yet, even in the full light it provides, people are indifferent. Upon our eyes there seems to have fallen a strange dimness; within our ears, a strange dullness. It is a wonder, and a terrible responsibility, that we should have this message in our possession and be so little stirred about it! I confess that it is very hard for me to accept the fact that it is now very rare for anyone to come into the house of God, silently confessing: "Dear Lord, I am ready and willing to hear what you will speak to me today!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:09:29 AM
WE ARE NOT ORPHANS
By A.W. Tozer

       I once wrote in an editorial that Christian believers are not orphans in this world, making the point that the divine Shepherd goes before us and that we travel an appointed way. A reader wrote to question my allusion to our traveling an "appointed" way, asking: "I was brought up a Methodist. In your comments, do you mean this to be foreordination? That is what the Presbyterians believe. Just what did you mean?" I replied that I had not meant to go down that deep into doctrine-that I had not been thinking of foreordination, predestination or the eternal decrees. "I was just satisfied that if a consecrated Christian will put himself in the hands of God, even the accidents may be turned into blessings," I told him. Anyway, I am sure the Methodist brother can go to sleep at night knowing that he does not have to become a Presbyterian to be certain that God is looking after him!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:10:08 AM
THINK LIKE GOD THINKS
By A.W. Tozer

      If God knows that your intention is to worship Him with every part of your being, He has promised to cooperate with you. On His side is the love and grace, the promises and the atonement, the constant help and the presence of the Holy Spirit. On your side there is determination, seeking, yielding, believing. Your heart becomes a chamber, a sanctuary, a shrine in which there may be continuous, unbroken fellowship and communion with God. Your worship rises to God moment by moment! We have all found that God will not dwell in spiteful and proud and selfish thoughts. He treasures our pure and loving thoughts, our meek and charitable and kindly thoughts. They are the thoughts like His own! As God dwells in your thoughts, you will be worshiping-and God will be accepting. He will. be smelling the incense of your high intentions even when the cares of life are intense and there is activity all around you. This leaves us no argument. We know what God wants us to be. He wants us to be worshipers!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:10:44 AM
OUR HIGHEST HAPPINESS
By A.W. Tozer

      Let me call it to your attention that the happiness of all moral creatures lies in the giving of obedience to God, the Creator. The psalmist cries out in Psalm 103:20: "Bless the Lord, ye his angels; that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." The angels in heaven find their complete freedom and highest happiness in obeying the commandments of God. They do not find it a tyranny-they find it a delight! Here is something that we should know and realize: heaven is a place of surrender to the whole will of God and it is heaven because it is such a place. I thank God that heaven is the world of God's obedient children. Whatever else we may say of its pearly gates, golden streets and jasper walls, heaven is heaven because children of the Most High God find they are in their normal sphere as obedient moral beings.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:11:21 AM
ACTIVITY IS NOT ENOUGH
By A.W. Tozer

      Those who try to give warnings to the Christian church are never very popular. Still, I must voice the caution that our craze for "activity" brings very few enriching benefits into our Christian circles. Look into the churches, and you will find groups of half-saved, half-sanctified, carnal people who know more about social niceties than they do about the New Testament. It is a fact that many of our church folks are activists engaged in many religious journeys-but they do not seem to move up any closer to Jesus in heart and in spirit. This modern religious emphasis on activity reminds me of the Japanese mice I have seen in the pet store windows. They are called waltzing mice-but they do not waltz. They just run continually! Many in our churches hope to have a part in "something big and exciting." But God calls us back-back to the simplicity of the faith; back to the simplicity of Jesus Christ and His unchanging Person!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 22, 2006, 01:11:55 AM
PLAYING AT RELIGION
By A.W. Tozer

      When our faith becomes obedience to our Savior, then it is true faith, indeed! The difficulty we modem Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instruction. Our problem is to get the consent of our world-loving minds to make Jesus Lord in fact, as well as in word. For it is one thing to say, "Lord, Lord," and quite another thing to obey the Lord's commandments. We may sing "Crown Him Lord of all," and rejoice in the tones of the loud organ and the deep melody in harmonious voices, but still we have done nothing until we have left the world and set our faces toward the City of God in hard practical reality. The world's spirit is strong and it can play at religion with every appearance of sincerity. It can have fits of conscience (particularly during Lent)! It will contribute to charitable causes and campaigns on behalf of the poor, but all with its own condition: "Let Christ keep His distance and never assert His Lordship." This it positively will not endure!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 24, 2006, 01:50:50 AM
WE SEE GOD'S PURPOSE
By A.W. Tozer

      We trust the Word of God-and the inspired revelation makes it plain to the believing Christian that all things in the universe have derived their form from Christ, the eternal Son! We are assured that even as an architect-builder gathers the necessary materials needed to fashion the structure he has designed, so God will ultimately gather all things together under one head, even Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10). Everything in the universe has received its meaning by the power of His word; each has maintained its place and order through Him. Jesus Christ is God creating! Jesus Christ is God redeeming! Jesus Christ is God completing and harmonizing! Jesus Christ is God bringing together all things after the counsel of His own will! I can only hope that as we grow and mature and delight in our faith we are beginning to gain a new appreciation of God's great eternal purpose!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on September 26, 2006, 12:44:02 AM
MAN'S WASTED POTENTIAL
By A.W. Tozer

      God has made it plain that hell is a real place-a final abode for people who do not want to love God and serve Him! The sadness and the tragedy of this fact is that these are human beings, all dear to God because He created them in His own image. Of nothing else in the Creation is it said that it was created in the likeness of God! Because fallen and perishing man is still nearer to God's likeness than any other creature on earth, God offers him conversion regeneration and forgiveness. It was surely because of this great potential in the human personality that the eternal Word could become flesh and dwell among us. We are assured in many ways in the Scriptures that God the Creator does not waste human personality but it is surely one of the stark tragedies of life that human personality can waste itself! A man by his own sin may waste himself, which is to waste and lose that which on earth is most like God. The man who dies out of Christ is said to be lost, and hardly a word in our language expresses his condition with greater accuracy!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:21:13 AM
WE WERE OUTCASTS, TOO
By A.W. Tozer

      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!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:22:02 AM
EVERY HINDRANCE REMOVED
By A.W. Tozer

      There are many legal and governmental reasons why lost men and women should not go to heaven! It should not be difficult for us to acknowledge that a holy and righteous God must run His universe according to holy law - and we do not belong there because we have broken every one of those holy laws in some way! Therefore, there must be an effective redemption, a justification of some kind if we are to have God and He is to have us! Thank God, it has been done! The New Testament language is as plain as can be-in Christ through His death and resurrection, every legal hindrance has been met and satisfied: taken away! There is nothing that can keep us from assurance except our own selves. Let us quit trying to think our way in, to reason our way in. The only way to get in is to believe Him with our hearts forevermore!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:23:43 AM
GOD'S HIGHEST WILL
By A.W. Tozer

      Let us consider three simple things reinforced in the Word of God for those who would discern God's highest will. First, be willing to put away known sin! Second, separate yourself from all of the attractions of the world, the flesh and the devil! Finally, offer yourself to your God and Savior in believing faith! God has never yet turned away an honest, sincere person who has come to know the eternal value of the atonement and the peace that is promised through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The only person who will never be cleansed and made whole is the one who insists he or she needs no remedy. The person who comes in faith to God and confesses, "I am unclean; I am sin-sick; I am blind," will find mercy and righteousness and life. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior, the Cleanser. He is the Purifier, the Healer. He is the Sight-giver and the Life-giver. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:24:18 AM
WE HAVE IT ALL
By A.W. Tozer

      How much time have you spent in your Christian life meditating on the plain instruction from our Savior?-"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." The God who has revealed Himself to needy men and women wants us to know that when we have Him, we have everything - we have all the rest! Any of us who have experienced a life and ministry of faith can tell how the Lord has met our need even for food and the essentials of life. Brethren, we ought to learn, and learn it soon, that it is much better to have God first and have God Himself, even if we have only a thin dime, than to have all the riches and all the influence in this world and not have God with it! Let us go on to know Him and to love Him more dearly; not for His gifts and benefits but for the pure joy of His presence. Thus we will fulfill the purpose for which He created us and redeemed us!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:24:48 AM
OUR INDIVIDUAL WORTH
By A.W. Tozer

      Our lost race has always been prone to discount and reject the wonderful fact of the individual factor in the love of God. Far, far too many men and women in this world are convinced that God's love for the world is just one big lump - and the individual is not involved. We have only to look around us with serious observation to confirm the fact that the devil has been successful in planting his lie that no one cares for the individual person. Even in nature around us, there appears to be very little individual concern. The burden of concern is always for the species. But Jesus did not preach to the multitudes as though they were a faceless crowd. He preached to them as individuals, and with a knowledge of the burdens and the needs of each one. Our Savior did not come into the world to deal with statistics! Each of us must come with full confidence that it is a personal word God has spoken to us in Christ, that "whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:26:20 AM
THE SPIRIT ILLUMINATES
By A.W. Tozer

      When we study the New Testament record, we see plainly that Christ's conflict was with the theological rationalists of His day. John's gospel record is actually a long, inspired, passionately-outpoured account trying to save us from evangelical rationalism-the doctrine that says the text is enough. Divine revelation is the ground upon which we stand. The Bible is the book of God and I stand for it with all my heart; but before I can be saved, there must be illumination, penitence, renewal, inward deliverance. In our Christendom, we have tried to ease many people into the kingdom but they have never been renewed within their own beings. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that their faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God! There is a difference. We must insist that conversion to Christ is a miraculous act of God by the Holy Spirit-it must be wrought in the Spirit. There must be an inward illumination!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:27:08 AM
GIVE TIME TO GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      I have often wished that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short easy lessons; but such wishes are vain. No shortcut exists! God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. It is well that we accept the hard truth now: the man who would know God must give time to Him! He must count no time wasted which is spent in the cultivation of His acquaintance. He must give himself to meditation and prayer hours on end. So did the saints of old, the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets and the believing members of the holy Church in all generations. And so must we if we would follow in their train! May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the kingdom like little children through the marketplace, chattering about everything but pausing to learn the true value of nothing?


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:27:49 AM
"NOW IT IS THE LORD"
By A.W. Tozer

      Is it possible to become so enamored of God's good gifts that we fail to worship Him, the Giver? Dr. Albert B. Simpson, the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, invited to preach in a Bible conference in England discovered on his arrival that he was to follow two other Bible teachers. All three had been given the same topic, "Sanctification." From the pulpit, the first speaker made clear his position that sanctification means eradication-the old carnal nature is removed. The second, a suppressionist, advised: "Sit on the lid and keep the old nature down!" Dr. Simpson in his turn quietly told his audience that he could only present Jesus Christ Himself as God's answer. "Jesus Christ is your Sanctifier, your all and in all! God wants you to get your eyes away from the gifts. He wants your gaze to be on the Giver-Christ Himself," he said. This is a wonderful word for those who would worship rightly: Once it was the blessing; Now it is the Lord!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:28:50 AM
"BE STILL AND KNOW"
By A.W. Tozer

      Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified "gold rush." Almost every book on prayer deals with the "get" element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of our space. Christians should never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful, by comparison. We should be aware that there is a kind of school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. "Be still and know," said the psalmist. It might well be a revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a time-a time to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:30:52 AM
THE END OF THE AGE
By A.W. Tozer

      Everywhere around us we are experiencing a great new wave of humanity's interest in spiritism and devil worship. I must take this as one of the signs that God's age of grace and mercy is approaching the end point. It tells us that the time may be near when God proclaims: "I have seen enough of mankind's sin and rebellion. It is time for the trumpets of judgment to sound!" If we are willing to add the appeals from the book of Revelation to the weight of the other Scriptures, we discover God saying to us that the earth on which we live is not self-explanatory and certainly not self-sufficient. Although the earth on which we spin is largely populated by a rebel race, it had a divine origin. Now God is about to enforce His claim upon it and judge those who are usurpers. He is saying that there is another and better world, another kingdom, that is always keeping an eye on the world we inhabit!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:31:41 AM
PRAYER FOR ANOINTING
By A.W. Tozer

      It is time, 0 God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pasture, and the sheep are torn and scattered. False shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me, anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet - not a promoter, not a religious manager. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Lay Thy terror upon me, 0 God, and drive me to the place of prayer, where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Teach me self-discipline, that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:32:12 AM
BEGIN WITH GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      I am really sad for the great throngs of men and women who have never known the satisfaction of believing what God says about all of the good things He has created-and everything having its purpose! This is an area in which you must begin with God. Then you begin to understand everything in its proper context. All things fit into shape and form when you begin with God! In Christian circles, there is now an undue deference to intellectual knowledge and accomplishment. I insist that it ought to be balanced out. We appreciate the efforts and hours that go into academic progress, but we must always keep God's wisdom and God's admonitions in mind. Search and study as we will and we discover that we have only learned fragments of truth. On the other hand, the newest Christian believer has already learned many marvelous things at the center of truth. He has met and knows God! That is the primary issue, my brother and sister. That is why we earnestly invite men and women to become converted, taking Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:33:40 AM
THE GODHEAD-FOREVER ONE
By A.W. Tozer

      When Christ Jesus died on that unholy, fly-infested cross for mankind, He never divided the Godhead! We are assured from the earliest church fathers that the Father in heaven, His eternal Son, and the Holy Ghost are forever One-inseparable, indivisible-and can never be anything else. Not all of Nero's swords could ever cut down through the substance of the Godhead to cut off the Father from the Son. It was Mary's son who cried out, "Why hast Thou forsaken me?" It was the human body which God had given Him. It was the sacrifice that cried-the lamb about to die! The Son of Man knew himself forsaken. God dumped that vast, filthy, slimy mass of human sin on the soul of the Savior-and then backed away. Believe it that the ancient and timeless Deity was never separated. He was still in the bosom of the Father when He cried, "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit!" Little wonder that we are amazed and marvel every day at the wonder of the ancient theology of the Christian church!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:34:28 AM
GLORY OF THE TRINITY
By A.W. Tozer

       The more I read my Bible, the more I believe in the triune God! With the prophet Isaiah, I am stirred by the vision of the heavenly creatures, the seraphim around the throne of God, engrossed in their worship and praise. I have often wondered why the rabbis and saints and hymnists of the olden times did not come to the knowledge of the Trinity just from the seraphims' chorus: "Holy! Holy! Holy!" I am a trinitarian-I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, begotten of Him before all ages. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified. Isaiah was an astonished man. He could only manage this witness: "Mine eyes have seen the King!,, Only the King of glory can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of a man, so that an Isaiah or any other man or woman, can say with humility but with assurance, "I know Him!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:35:16 AM
PREACH A WHOLE CHRIST
By A.W. Tozer

       I reject the human insistence among us that Christ may sustain a divided relationship toward us in this life. I am aware that this is now so commonly preached that to oppose it or object to it means that you are sticking your neck out and you had best be prepared for what comes. But, I am forced to ask: how can we insist and teach that our Lord Jesus Christ can be our Savior without being our Lord? How can so many continue to teach that we can be saved without any thought of obedience to our Sovereign Lord? I am satisfied in my own heart that when a man or a woman believes on the Lord Jesus Christ he or she must believe on the whole Lord Jesus Christ-not making any reservation! How can a teaching be justified when it encourages sinners to use Jesus as a Savior in their time of need, without owing Him obedience and allegiance? I believe we need to return to preaching a whole Christ to our needy world!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:36:29 AM
LORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
By A.W. Tozer

      In the midst of all the confusions of our day, it is important that we find out that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all righteousness and the Lord of all wisdom. Righteousness is not a word easily acceptable to lost men and women in a lost world. Outside of the Word of God, there is no book or treatise that can give us a satisfying answer about righteousness, because the only One who is Lord of all righteousness is our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. He is the only One in all the universe who perfectly loved righteousness and hated iniquity. Our great High Priest and Mediator is the righteous and holy One-Jesus Christ, our risen Lord. He is not only righteous, He is the Lord of all righteousness! Then, there is His wisdom. The sum total of the deep and eternal wisdom of the ages lies in Jesus Christ as a treasure hidden away. All the deep purposes of God reside in Him because His perfect wisdom enables Him to plan far ahead! Thus history itself becomes the slow development of His purposes.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:37:13 AM
THE GOSPEL WARNING
By A.W. Tozer

      We who rejoice in the blessings that have come to us through the Savior, need to bear in mind that the gospel is not good news only! The message of the Cross is good news indeed for the penitent, but to those who obey not the gospel it carries an overtone of warning. The Spirit's ministry to the impenitent world is to tell of sin and righteousness and judgment. For sinners who want to cease being willful sinners and become obedient children of God, the gospel message is one of unqualified peace, but it is by its very nature also an arbiter of the future destinies of man. Actually, the message of the gospel may be received in either of two ways: in word only without power, or in word with power. The truth received in power shifts the bases of life from Adam to Christ-a new and different Spirit enters the personality and makes the believing man new in every department of his being!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2006, 06:38:15 AM
THE ETERNAL VERITY
By A.W. Tozer

      There is a great deal of discussion now taking place about the lack of spiritual power in our Christian churches. What about the New Testament patterns? Brethren, the apostolic method was to provide a foundation of good, sound biblical reasons for following the Savior, for our willingness to let the Spirit of God display the great Christian virtues in our lives. That is why we come in faith and rejoicing to the eternal verity of Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!" This proclamation gives significance to every other section of teaching and exhortation in the letter to the Hebrews. In this verse is truth that is morally and spiritually dynamic if we will exercise the faith and the will to demonstrate it in our needy world. I think this fact, this truth that Jesus Christ wants to be known in His church as the ever-living, never-changing Lord of all, could bring back again the power and testimony of the early church!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2006, 04:00:09 PM
WE KNOW WHAT WE BELIEVE
By A.W. Tozer

      The hope of the Christian church still lies in the purity of her theology, that is, her beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other. It is a fact that positive beliefs are not popular these days. I sense that the modern efforts to popularize the Christian faith have been extremely damaging to that faith. The purpose has been to simplify truth for the masses by using the language of the masses instead of the language of the church. It has not succeeded, but has added to rather than diminished religious confusion. A mistaken desire to maintain a spirit of tolerance among all races and religions has produced a breed of Janus-like Christians with built-in swivels, remarkable only for their ability to turn in any direction gracefully! Our Christian beliefs have been revealed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the sacred Scriptures. Everything there is clear-cut and accurate. We dare not be less than accurate in our treatment of anything so precious!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:21:00 PM
"AUTOMATIC" SAINTS?
By A.W. Tozer

      Not everyone agrees with me that full qualification for eternity is not instant or automatic or painless. I can only hope that you are wise enough, desirous enough and spiritual enough to face up to the truth that every day is another day of spiritual preparation, another day of testing and discipline with our heavenly destination in mind. I hope, too, that you may begin to understand why many evangelical churches are in such a mess. It has become popular to preach a painless Christianity and automatic saintliness. It has become a part of our "instant" culture-"just pour a little water on it, stir mildly, pick up a gospel tract, and you are on your Christian way!" "Lo," we are told, "this is Bible Christianity!,' "It is nothing of the sort!" To depend upon that kind of a formula is to experience only the outer fringe, the edge of what Christianity really is. For when the new birth is real and the wonder of regeneration has taken place, then comes the lifetime of preparation with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:22:56 PM
NORMAL-OR NOMINAL?
By A.W. Tozer

      Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in the whole world? If so, count yourself among "normal" Christians, rather than among "nominal" Christians! My old dictionary gives this definition as the meaning of nominal: Existing in name only, not real or actual; hence so small, slight, as to be hardly worth the name. With that as a definition, those who know they are Christians "in name only" should never make the pretense of being normal Christians. Thankfully those who are "normal" are constantly being drawn to praise and worship, charmed by the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus. I cannot understand how anyone can profess to be a follower and a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes. Those divine attributes faithfully attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:24:23 PM
THE GREAT PHYSICIAN
By A.W. Tozer

      If you are a discouraged and defeated Christian believer, you may have accepted the rationalization that your condition is "normal for all Christians." You may now be content with the position that the progressive, victorious Christian life may be suitable for a few Christian - but not for you! You have been to Bible conferences; you have been to the altar-but the blessings are for someone else. Now, that attitude on the part of Christian believers is neither modesty nor meekness. It is a chronic discouragement resulting from unbelief. It is rather like those who have been sick for so long that they no longer believe they can get well. Jesus is still saying, as He said to the man lying by the gate at the Jerusalem pool, "Do you want to be made whole?" Jesus made him whole-because of his desire! His need was great, but he had never lapsed into that state of chronic discouragement.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:25:25 PM
WISDOM FROM GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      The thinking of our generation often reflects a willingness to exchange a high view of God's eternity for a short-term concept called "here and now." Technology is presumed to be paramount but the answers science gives us are short-term answers. The scientists may be able to keep us alive for a few extra years but believing Christians know some things that Einstein did not know! For instance, we know why we are here. We can say why we were born. We also know what we believe about the value of things eternal. We are thankful that we have found the promise from the God of all grace that deals with the long-term and the eternal. We belong to a company of the plain people who believe the truth revealed in the Bible. Actually, the wisest person in the world is the person who knows the most about God; the person who realizes that the answer to creation and life and eternity is a theological answer-not a scientific answer!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:26:04 PM
WORSHIP-AND WORK
By A.W. Tozer

      I must take issue with those in the churches who insist that the worshiping saints do not get anything done but worship! Such an attitude reveals that they have not done their homework. The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God. Listen to me! Practically every great deed done in the church of Christ all the way back to the apostles was done by people blazing with the radiant worship of their God! The great hospitals and the mental institutions have grown out of the hearts of worshiping and compassionate disciples. It is true, also, that wherever the church has come out of her lethargy and into the tides of revival and spiritual renewal, always the worshipers were back of it. A survey of church history will prove that it was those who were the yearning worshipers who also became the great workers and the selfless servants. If we give ourselves to God's call for worship, everyone will do more for the Savior than they are doing now!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:26:36 PM
"TEARS OF JOY - AMEN!"
By A.W. Tozer

      We need not be afraid of a genuine visitation of the Spirit of God! Blaise Pascal, the famed 17th-century French scientist and philosopher, experienced in his lifetime a personal, overwhelming encounter with God that changed his life. Those who attended him at his death found a worn, creased paper in his clothing, close to his heart; apparently a reminder of what he had felt and sensed in God's very presence. In Pascal's own hand it read: From about half-past ten at night, to about half after midnight-fire! 0 God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob - not the God of philosophers or the wise. The God of Jesus Christ who can be known only in the ways of the Gospel. Security. Feeling. Peace. Joy. Tears of joy-Amen! Were these the expressions of a fanatic, an extremist? No; it was the ecstatic utterance of a yielded man during two awesome hours in the presence of God. The astonished Pascal could only describe the visitation in one word-"Fire!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:27:28 PM
EXCEPT YE REPENT
By A.W. Tozer

      There are many compelling lessons to be drawn from the Scriptures and one of the clearest is that sinful and rebellious people can never be forced into repentance. The same act that may cause one person to repent and believe will cause others to hate and despise God! The same Bible sermon that brings the person to tearful submission at an altar of prayer will send others out with pride and a resolve to have their own human way. Students of the Scriptures are aware that the Old Testament prophets and the writing apostles of New Testament times foresaw and proclaimed God's coming day of judgment-the consummate settling of accounts between the Sovereign God and his rebellious and sinful creation. How desperately we would like to believe that in the face of coming judgment, all lost men and women will cry out to God, but such will not be the case: "The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent" (Revelation 9:20).


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:28:12 PM
RESPONSE TO THE WORD
By A.W. Tozer

      Men and women who read and study the Scriptures for their literary beauty alone have missed the whole purpose for which they were given. God's Word is not to be enjoyed as one might "enjoy" a Beethoven symphony or a poem by Wordsworth. The reason: the Bible demands immediate action, faith, surrender, committal. Until it has secured these, it has done nothing positive for the reader, but it has increased his responsibility and deepened the judgment that must follow. The Bible was called forth by the fall of man. It is the voice of God calling men home from the wilds of sin; it is a road map for returning prodigals. It is instruction in righteousness, light in darkness, information about God and man and life and death and heaven and hell. Further, the destiny of each individual depends upon the response to that Voice in the Word!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:29:03 PM
THE CROWD TURNS BACK
By A.W. Tozer

      Our Lord Jesus Christ called men to follow Him, but He plainly taught that "no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father" (John 6:65). It is not surprising that many of His early followers, upon hearing these words, went back and walked no more with Him. Such teaching cannot but be deeply disturbing to the natural mind. It takes from sinful men much of the power of self-determination. It cuts the ground out from under their self-help and throws them back upon the sovereign good pleasure of God-and that is precisely where they do not want to be! These statements by our Lord run contrary to the current assumptions of popular Christianity. Men are willing to be saved by grace, but to preserve their self-esteem, they must hold that the desire to be saved originated with them. Most Christians today seem afraid to talk about these plain words of Jesus concerning the sovereign operation of God-so they use the simple trick of ignoring them!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:29:40 PM
MONEY IS NOT TRUTH
By A.W. Tozer

       It is a fact in human history that men and women have never in any great numbers sought after truth. The young people who stream from our halls of learning each year confess to having no more than a passing and academic interest in truth. The majority admit that they go to college only to improve their social standing and increase their earning power. So, the average American will confess that he most wants success in his chosen field; and he wants success both for prestige and for financial security. The ominous thing about all this is that everything men and women want can be bought with money, and it would be difficult to think of an indictment more terrible than that! Real seekers after truth are almost as rare as albino deer! Why? Because truth is a glorious but hard master. Jesus said, "I am the Truth," and followed Truth straight to the Cross. The Truth seeker must follow Him there and that is the reason few men seek the Truth!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:30:17 PM
TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH
By A.W. Tozer

      It is sad indeed to know that there are Christian leaders among us who are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men and women to give to God only that which costs them nothing! The contemporary moral climate does not favor a faith as tough and fibrous as that taught by our Lord and His apostles. Christ calls men to carry His cross; we call them to have fun in His name! He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords! He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers! When will believers learn that to love righteousness it is necessary to hate sin? That to accept Christ it is necessary to reject self? That a friend of the world is an enemy of God? Let us not be shocked by the suggestion that there are disadvantages to the life in Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:30:53 PM
POUR YOURSELF OUT
By A.W. Tozer

      Science declares that nature abhors a vacuum. It should be happy knowledge to us, then, that the same principle is true in the kingdom of God-when you empty yourself, God Almighty rushes in! The Creator God who fills the universe and overflows into immensity can never be surrounded by that little thing we call our brain, our mind, our intellect. Never can we rise to face God by what we are and by what we know! Only by love and faith are we lifted thus to know Him and adore Him! What a happy hour it becomes when we are drawn out of ourselves, and into that vacuum rushes the blessed Presence. How wonderful in our humanity to sense the reality of the Holy Spirit's invitation: "Pour yourself out! Give yourself to Me! Empty yourself! Bring your empty earthen vessels! Come in meekness like a child!" Drawn out of ourselves by the Holy Spirit of God-for who knows the things of God but the Holy Spirit? We are delivered from ourselves when we finally seek God for Himself alone!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2006, 11:31:47 PM
GOD'S OVERCOMERS
By A.W. Tozer

      I insist that if we are burdened with genuine concern, we have the responsibility of examining the true spiritual condition of men and women within the church's ranks. We do live in a time of soft, easy Christianity. It is an era marked by a polite "nibbling" around the edges of the Word of God. There is a mindset within present day Christianity that supposes one should get into trouble or suffer embarrassment for Christ's sake! My brethren, what does it mean to be loyal to Jesus Christ? To confess that Jesus Himself is more important to us than anything else in the world? Many find it hard to understand how large numbers of Christian believers could have died for their faith in our own generation! With a sense of distant admiration, we call them simple-hearted nationals. God calls them overcomers! Professing Christians in our North American churches can hardly comprehend so costly a price for the faith we take for granted. Material prosperity and popular acceptance have sapped the vitality of our Christian witness!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 15, 2006, 12:29:06 AM
HERE FOR OUR TIME
By A.W. Tozer

      Just as those who lived in the past had the privilege of being God's people of faith then, so do we in our own day! It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spirit-filled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insights given to Paul. All of the former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation. A Bible proverb says that it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion. You may wish to be Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, but remember they have been asleep for centuries, and you are still around! You can witness for our Lord today! You can still pray! You can still give of your substance to help those who are in need! In this, your own generation, give God all your love, all your devotion. You do not know what holy, happy secret God may want to whisper to your responsive heart!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 16, 2006, 12:53:24 AM
"BORN OF GOD!"
By A.W. Tozer

      I think most of us remember with assurance the words of the Charles Wesley hymn which was his own personal testimony: His Spirit answers to the blood, And tells me I am born of God! Wesley testified here and in many other hymns to an inner illumination! When I became a Christian, no one had to come to me and tell me what Wesley meant. That is why Jesus taught that whosoever is willing to do His will shall have a revelation in his own heart. He shall have an inward revelation that tells him he is a child of God. Too many persons try to make Jesus Christ a convenience. They reduce Him simply to a Big Friend who will help us when we are in trouble. That is not biblical Christianity! Jesus Christ is Lord, and when an individual comes in repentance and faith, the truth flashes in. For the first time he finds himself saying, "I will do the will of the Lord, even if I die for it!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 16, 2006, 12:53:57 AM
CONVICTION AND PAIN
By A.W. Tozer

      I consider it a good sign that some people are still asking questions like these in our churches: "What should happen in a genuine conversion to Christ?" and "What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?" If I am asked, my answer is this: "There ought to be a real and genuine cry of pain!" That is why I am not impressed with the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card. There should be a birth within, a birth from above. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy God! Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain concerning our sin, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be. The man whom God will use must be undone, humble and pliable. He must be, like the astonished Isaiah, a man who has seen the King in His beauty!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 16, 2006, 12:54:42 AM
BREAK WITH THIS WORLD
By A.W. Tozer

      I dare to say that Christians who have genuinely come to love and trust Jesus Christ have also renounced this world and have chosen a new model after which to pattern their lives. Further, we should say that this is the aspect of the Christian life that most people do not like. They want comfort. They want blessing. They want peace. But they recoil from this radical, revolutionary break with the world. To follow Christ in this rough and thorough-going way is too much for them! Actually, the true Christian dissents from the world because he knows that it cannot make good on its promises. As Christ's believing disciple, he is not left without a "norm" to which he seeks to be adjusted. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the norm, the ideally perfect model, and the worshiping soul yearns to be like Him. Indeed, the whole drive behind the Christian life is the longing to be conformed to the image of Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on November 16, 2006, 12:55:17 AM
THE WORLDLY "VIRUS"
By A.W. Tozer

      As Christian believers, we must stand together against some things. So, if you hear anyone saying that A.W. Tozer preaches a good deal that is negative, just smile and agree: "That is because he preaches the Bible!" Here are some of the things we oppose: we are against the many modern idols that have been allowed to creep into the churches; we are against the "unauthorized fire" that is being offered on the altars of the Lord; we are against the modern gods that are being adopted in our sanctuaries. We are against the world's ways and its false values. We are against the world's follies and its vain pleasures. We are against this world's greed and sinful ambitions. We are against this world's vices and its carnal habits. We believe this spells out clearly the Bible truth of separation. God asks us to stand boldly against anything or anyone who hurts or hinders this New Testament body of Christians. Where the church is not healed it will wither. The Word of God is the antibiotic that alone can destroy the virus that would plague the life of the church!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:14:33 PM
LET FEAR BECOME TRUST
By A.W. Tozer

      What can we do but pray for the throngs of defiant men and women who believe that their humanistic view of life is all-sufficient? They believe that they are responsible "captains" of their own souls. The sad fact is that even while they are joining in the age-old rejection of Jesus Christ-"We will not have this Man to rule over us"-they still are beset with fears within. The present competitive world and its selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can sympathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of the world's store of nuclear weapons. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty and omnipotence and faithfulness of the living God. Although the material world has never understood it, our faith is well-placed in the Scriptures! Those who take God's Word seriously are convinced of an actual heavenly realm as real as this world we inhabit!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:16:27 PM
OUR FUTURE REWARDS
By A.W. Tozer

      Our motives in the Christian life should be both right and genuine. God is the Faithful One. We are to love Him and serve Him because He is God-not because of the gracious things He does for us or for the rewards He promises us! However, it should be said that God does not expect us to forget or ignore the gracious future promises He has made to us. It is a glorious truth that if we believe God and honor His Word, if we walk by faith in love and obedience, there will be eternal rewards for each of us in that great coming day. The rewards will differ. Wisdom and knowledge and love reside in Him who is our God. He will make the right judgments for His people. I for one will not be surprised if some of God's faithful people serving Him today should rise as high and shine as brightly as the heroes of faith listed in the book of Hebrews. I say that in all truthfulness because I do not think that all of the heroes of faith are dead and gone!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:17:56 PM
WHICH CROSS DO WE CARRY?
By A.W. Tozer

      One of the strange things under the sun is a "crossless" Christianity. The cross of Christendom is a "no-cross," an ecclesiastical symbol. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is a place of death! Let each one be careful which cross he carries! Thousands turn away from Jesus Christ because they will not meet His conditions. He watches them as they go, for He loves them, but He will make no concessions. Admit one soul into the kingdom by compromise and that kingdom is no longer secure. Christ will be Lord, or He will be Judge. Every man must decide whether he will take Him as Lord now, or face Him as Judge then! "If any man will . . . let him follow me." Some will rise and go after Him, but others give no heed to His voice. So the gulf opens between man and man, between those who will and those who will not. The Man, the kindly Stranger who walked this earth, is His own proof. He will not put Himself again on trial; He will not argue. But the morning of the judgment will confirm what men in the twilight have decided!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:19:27 PM
POWER OF THE CROSS
By A.W. Tozer

       Only a person with a perfect knowledge of mankind could have dared to set forth the terms of discipleship that our Lord Jesus Christ expects of His followers. Only the Lord of men could have risked the effect of such rigorous demands: "Let him deny himself!" Can the Lord lay down such severe rules at the door of His kingdom? He can-and He does! If He is to save the man, He must save him from himself. It is the "himself" which has enslaved and corrupted the man. Deliverance comes only by denial of that self. No man in his own strength can shed the chains with which self has bound him, but in the next breath the Lord reveals the source of the power which is to set the soul free: "Let him take up his cross." The cross was an instrument of death-slaying a man was its only function. "Let him take his cross," said Jesus, and thus he will know deliverance from himself!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:21:02 PM
THE PRESENCE OF GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      The spiritual giants of old were those who at some time became acutely conscious of the presence of God. They maintained that consciousness for the rest of their lives. How otherwise can the saints and prophets be explained? How otherwise can we account for the amazing power for good they have exercised over countless generations? Is it not that indeed they had become friends of God? Is it not that they walked in conscious communion with the real Presence and addressed their prayers to God with the artless conviction that they were truly addressing Someone actually there? Let me say it again, for certainly it is no secret: we do God honor in believing what He has said about Himself and coming boldly to His throne of grace than by hiding in a self-conscious humility! Those unlikely men chosen by our Lord as His closest disciples might well have hesitated to claim friendship with Christ. But Jesus said to them, "You are my friends!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:21:51 PM
GOD HAS A REMEDY
By A.W. Tozer

      Seekers and inquirers have often voiced this deep question of concern: "Why does God forgive? and how does God forgive sin?" There is plain teaching throughout the Old and New Testaments concerning God's willingness to forgive and forget. Yet there are segments of the Christian church which appear to be poorly taught concerning God's clear remedy, through the atonement of Christ, for the believer who has yielded to temptation and failed his Lord. God knows that sin is the dark shadow standing between Him and His highest creation, man. God is more willing to remove that shadow than we are to have it removed! He wants to forgive and that desire is a part of God's character. In the sacrificial death of a lamb in the Old Testament, God was telling us that one day a perfect Lamb would come to actually take away sin. That is how and why God forgives sin now. In John's words: "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:1-2a).


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:24:40 PM
SPIRITUAL UNANIMITY
By A.W. Tozer

      The Holy Spirit knew what He was doing when He moved the Apostle Peter to write to the early Christian church about the reality of being "of one mind" in their fellowship. Peter was not asking all the brothers and sisters to settle for some kind of regulated uniformity. He was recommending a spiritual unanimity-which means that the Spirit of God making Christ real within our beings will also give us a unity in certain qualities and disposition. Peter leaves little doubt about the fruits of genuine Christian unanimity within: "Be alike in compassion. Be alike in loving. Be alike in pity. Be alike in courtesy. Be alike in forgiving!" Then he sums it all up: "Finally, be ye all of one mind!" God's love shed abroad in our heart compassion and love which can only be found in Jesus Christ-these are the only elements of true unity among men and women today!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:26:27 PM
HOPE-OR DESPAIR?
By A.W. Tozer

      John the Baptist gave his questioners a brief sentence that I have called the "hope and the despair" of mankind. He told them that "a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." John was not referring to men's gifts. He was speaking of spiritual truth. Divine truth is of the nature of the Holy Spirit, and for that reason it can be received only by spiritual revelation. In his New Testament letters, the Apostle Paul declares again and again the inability of human reason to discover or comprehend divine truth. In that inability we see human despair. John the Baptist said, " . . . except it be given him from heaven"-and this is our hope! These words do certainly mean that there is such a thing as a gift of knowing, a gift that comes from heaven. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit of truth would come and teach them all things. Jesus also prayed: "I thank thee, 0 Father, because thou hast hid these things from the wise, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Luke 10:21).


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:27:32 PM
THE EASTER TRIUMPH
By A.W. Tozer

       I do not mind telling you that within me I find the Easter message and the reality of the Resurrection more beautiful and glorious than the Christmas scene. Christmas tells us that Jesus was born; that He was born for the humiliation of suffering and death and atonement. But Easter is the radiant and glory-filled celebration of Christ's mighty triumph over the grave and death and hell! When Easter comes, our voices are raised in the triumphant chorus: The three sad days had quickly sped; He rises glorious from the dead! There is the real beauty! This is more than the beauty of color; more than the beauty of outline or form; more than the beauty of physical proportion. In the living Christ is the perfection of all beauty; and because He lives, we too shall live in the presence of His beauty and the beauties of heaven, forever!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:29:00 PM
RESURRECTION POWER
By A.W. Tozer

      Let us be confident, Christian brethren, that our power does not lie in the manger at Bethlehem nor in the relics of the Cross. True spiritual power resides in the victory of the mighty, resurrected Lord of glory, who could pronounce after spoiling death: "All power is given me in heaven and in earth." The power of the Christian believer lies in the Savior's triumph of eternal glory! Christ's resurrection brought about a startling change of direction for the believers. Sadness and fear and mourning marked the direction of their religion before they knew that Jesus was raised from the dead-their direction was towards the grave. When they heard the angelic witness, "He is risen, as He said," the direction immediately shifted away from the tomb "He is risen, indeed!" If this is not the meaning of Easter, the Christian church is involved only in a shallow one-day festival each year. Thankfully, the resurrection morning was only the beginning of a great, vast outreach that has never ended-and will not end until our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:29:50 PM
RESURRECTION: A FACT
By A.W. Tozer

       The resurrection of Christ and the fact of the empty tomb are not a part of this world's complex and continuing mythologies. This is not a Santa Claus tale-it is history and it is a reality! The true church of Jesus Christ is necessarily founded upon the belief and the truth that there was a real death, a real tomb and a real stone! But, thank God, there was a sovereign Father in heaven, an angel sent to roll the stone away and a living Savior in a resurrected and glorified body, able to proclaim to His disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth!" Brethren, He died for us, but ever since the hour of the resurrection, He has been the mighty Jesus, the mighty Christ, the mighty Lord! Our business is to thank God with tearful reverence for the Cross, but to go on to a right understanding of what the resurrection meant both to God and to men. We understand and acknowledge that the Resurrection has placed a glorious crown upon all of Christ's sufferings!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:31:05 PM
EASTER-AND MISSIONS
By A.W. Tozer

      Do we really believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is something more than making us the "happiest fellows in the Easter parade"? Are we just to listen to the bright cantata and join in singing, "Up from the Grave He Arose," smell the flowers and go home and forget it? No, certainly not! It is truth and a promise with a specific moral application. The resurrection certainly commands us with all the authority of sovereign obligation-the missionary obligation! I cannot give in to the devil's principal., deceitful tactic which makes so many Christians satisfied with an "Easter celebration" instead of experiencing the power of Christ's resurrection. It is the devil's business to keep Christians mourning and weeping with pity beside the cross instead of demonstrating that Jesus Christ is risen, indeed. When will the Christian church rise up, depending on His promise and power, and get on the offensive for the risen and ascended Savior?


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:31:51 PM
"I WILL NOT FORSAKE YOU!"
By A.W. Tozer

      Men without God suffer alone and die alone in times of war and in other circumstances of life. All alone! But it can never be said that any true soldier of the Cross of Jesus Christ, no man or woman as missionary or messenger of the Truth has ever gone out to a ministry alone! There have been many Christian martyrs, but not one of them was on that mission field all alone. Jesus Christ keeps His promise of taking them by the hand and leading them triumphantly through to the world beyond. We can sum it up by noting that Jesus Christ asks us only to surrender to His lordship and obey His commands. When the Spirit of God deals with our young people about their own missionary responsibility, Christ assures them of His presence and power as they prepare to go: "All power is given unto Me! I am no longer in the grave. I will protect you. I will support you. I will go ahead of you. I will give you effectiveness for your witness and ministry. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations "I will never leave you nor forsake you!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:32:31 PM
LEANING TOWARD HERESY
By A.W. Tozer

      When large numbers of adherents in the Christian churches come to believe that God is different from what He actually is, that concept becomes heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind! When the Christian church surrenders her once lofty concept of God and substitutes for it ideas so low, so ignoble as to be utterly unworthy, her situation is tragic indeed. Into the life and the practices of the church comes a whole new philosophy; and the sense of the divine Presence and the majesty of God is no longer known. Although "morality" is no longer a popular word in our world, it is apparent that such low and unworthy concepts of God's Person actually constitute a moral calamity for professed believers in great segments of Christianity. The records of both sacred and secular history show that low views of God will surely destroy the appeal of the Christian for all who hold them! To all sinners, Jesus said, "You must be born again-from above!" He knew that the gods begotten in the shadowy thoughts of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true and living God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:33:09 PM
TO SIN IS TO REBEL
By A.W. Tozer

      Some of you will object to my saying this, but it is my opinion that in Christianity we have over-emphasized the psychology of the lost sinner's condition. We spend time describing the sinner's woes and the great burden he carries until we almost forget the principal fact that the sinner is actually a rebel against properly constituted authority! That is what makes sin SIN! We are rebels, we are sons of disobedience. Sin is the breaking of the Law and we are fugitives from the just laws of God while we are sinners. We are fugitives from divine judgment. But thankfully, the plan of salvation reverses that, and restores the original relationship, so that the first thing the returning sinner does is confess: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight and I am no more worthy to be called Thy son. Make me as one of Thy hired servants!" Thus, in repentance, we reverse that relationship and we fully submit to the Word of God and the will of God, as obedient children!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:34:04 PM
THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
By A.W. Tozer

      Many of the great evangelists who have touched the world for God, including such men as Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney, have declared that the church is being betrayed by those who insist on Christianity being made "too easy." Jesus laid down the terms of Christian discipleship and there are some among us who criticize: "Those words of Jesus sound harsh and cruel." This is where we stand: receiving Jesus Christ into your life means that you have made an attachment to the Person of Christ that is revolutionary, in that it reverses the life and transforms it completely! It is complete in that it leaves no part of the life unaffected. It exempts no area of the life of the total man. By faith and through grace, you have now formed an exclusive relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ. All of your other relationships are now conditioned and determined by your one relationship to your Savior. To receive Jesus Christ, then, is to attach ourselves in faith to His holy person, to live or die, forever! He must be first and last and all!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:35:12 PM
RUNNING LIFE'S RACE
By A.W. Tozer

      The writer to the Hebrews gives us good New Testament counsel: "Let us run the race with patience." The Holy Spirit here describes Christian believers as runners on the track, participants in the race which is the Christian life. He provides both strong warning and loving encouragement, for there is always the danger of losing the race, but there is also the victor's reward awaiting those who run with patience and endurance. So, there are important things each of us should know and understand about our struggles as the faithful people of God. For instance, it is a fact that the Christian race is a contest. But in no sense is it a competition between believers or between churches! As we live the life of faith, we Christians are never to be in competition with other Christians. The Bible makes this very plain! Christian churches are never told to carry on their proclamation of the Savior in a spirit of competition with other Jesus-churches. The Holy Spirit tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus not on others who are also running the race!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:35:58 PM
ARE WE MIRED DOWN?
By A.W. Tozer

      God will speak to us if we read and study and obey the Word of God! But when He does speak, we should speak back to Him in prayer and devotion. Otherwise, we are among the Christians who are mired down right where we are. Many in our congregations have grown older and yet are not one inch farther up the mountain than on that day when the sun first arose on them in conversion. In fact, some are not even as far advanced along the way with God as they were a few years ago. If these things are true, I can only conclude that there are "common" Christians, men and women who no longer hear the Lord speaking to them as they should. Can they really think that this half-way Christian life is the best that we can know? In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little? It is a tragedy of our time that so many are settling for less than the Lord is willing to give!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:36:53 PM
MEDIOCRE CHRISTIANITY
By A.W. Tozer

      Read your New Testament again and you will agree that mediocrity in the Christian life is not the highest that Jesus offers. Certainly God is not honored by our arrested spiritual development - our permanent half-way spiritual condition. We all know that the Bible tells us that we honor God by going on to full maturity in Christ! Why, then, do we settle for those little pleasures that tickle the saintlets and charm the fancy of the carnal? It is because we once heard a call to take up the cross and instead of following toward the heights, we bargained with the Lord like a street huckster! We felt an urge to be spent for Christ, but instead of going on, we started asking questions. We began to bicker and bargain with God about His standards for spiritual attainment. This is plain truth-not about unbelieving "liberals"-but about those who have been born again and who dare to ask, "Lord, what will it cost me?"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:37:27 PM
INSTRUCT-THEN EXHORT
By A.W. Tozer

      The godly men of old through whom the Scriptures came to us were faithful in their exhortations to personal faith and godliness, characteristic of the early church. The apostolic method of teaching, instructing and encouraging was based on solid and fundamental Christian doctrine. This was Paul's method in his New Testament letters. First he gives his readers the scriptural reasons for certain Christian actions and attributes. He provides the basis and reason-then he exhorts the readers to respond appropriately. We do not know if Paul was the human writer to the Hebrews, but the method of exhortation is like Paul's. We are assured that Christ is greater than Moses and greater than the angels and that He purchased mankind's salvation. Then the exhortation: if all of these things are true, then we should keep on loving one another, keep on praying for one another. It is a good and gracious argument: because we have reasons for doing something, we ought to do it without delay and without reservation!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2006, 10:38:13 PM
KNOWING HIS PRESENCE
By A.W. Tozer

       Do not try to short-circuit God's plans for your discipleship. and spiritual maturity here. If you and I were already prepared for heaven in the moment of our conversion, God would have taken us home instantly! We must remember that God exists in Himself. His holy nature is such that we cannot comprehend Him with our minds. He is of a substance not shared by any other being. Hence, God can be known only as He reveals Himself! I have found this to be a fact: every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest Presence of God. This mysterious yet gracious Presence is the air of life eternal. It is the music of existence, the poetry of the Christian life. It is the beauty and wonder of being one of Christ's own-a sinner born again, regenerated, created anew to bring glory to God! To live surrounded by this sense of God is not only beautiful and desirable, but it is imperative!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:01:53 PM
COME AS YOU ARE
By A.W. Tozer

      Let me say this to any of you who are still trying to add up your human merits-look away in faith to the Lord of abundant mercy! Fixing yourself over and trying to straighten yourself out will never be sufficient-you must come to Jesus as you are! Our Lord told about two men who went up into the temple to pray. One said, "God, here I am-all fixed up. Every hair is in place!" The other said, "Oh God, I just crawled in off Skid Row. Have mercy on me!" God forgave the Skid Row bum, but sent the other man away, hardened and unrepentant and unforgiven. We come to Him just as we are but in humble repentance. When the human spirit comes to God knowing that anything it receives will be out of God's mercy, then repentance has done its proper work! God promises to forgive and forget and to take that man into His heart and teach him that all of God's kindnesses are due to His mercy. What more can a sinner ask?


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:03:39 PM
SEEKING AFTER TRUTH
By A.W. Tozer

      We live in a mixed-up kind of world in which many people are not at all sure of what they believe or what they ought to believe. Some churches advertise that way-you do not have to believe anything: "just be a seeker after truth." Some actually settle for poetry, siding with Edwin Markham who "saw his bright hand sending signals from the sun." I, for one, never had any such signals from God. We have Bibles everywhere and the gospel is preached faithfully. Yet men and women seek God in old altars and tombs-in dark and dusty places, and finally wind up believing that God is sending signals from the sun. Some folks get mad at me when I say that this kind of "seeking after truth" needs to be exposed. We need to double our efforts in telling the world that God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.It must be the Truth of God and the Spirit of God! Far from being an optional luxury in our Christian lives, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit is a necessity!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:05:00 PM
SPIRITUAL TESTING
By A.W. Tozer

      In the scriptural accounts, there are many examples of men and women being tested, and I think it is plain that the Holy Spirit rarely tells a believer that he is about to be tested. Abraham was being tested when the Lord asked him to take his only son up into the mountain. He thought he was being ordered. He did not know he was being tested. Peter was unconsciously tested. Paul was tested and tried. There does come a time when we have heard enough truth and the Holy Spirit says, "Today this disciple is going to be tested." The people of Israel in their time of testing came to Kadesh-Barnea and instead of crossing into the promised land, they said, "We will not go over!" God simply let them make their own test and they flunked it! Are there any among us who have an honest desire to be Christlike? We should all be aware that every day is a day of testing. Some come to their own Kadesh-Barnea and turn back. What a solemn thought: that many of the persons whom God is testing will flunk the test!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:06:08 PM
GLORIOUS CONTRADICTIONS
By A.W. Tozer

      God has revealed so many glorious contradictions in the lives and conduct of genuine Christian believers that it is small wonder that we are such an amazement to this world. The Christian is dead and yet he lives forever. He died to himself and yet he lives in Christ. The Christian saves his own life by losing it and he is in danger of losing it by trying to save it. It is strange but true that the Christian is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is strongest. When he gets down on his knees thinking he is weak, he is always strong. The Christian is in least danger when he is fearful and trusting God and in the most danger when he feels the most self-confident. He is most sinless when he feels the most sinful and he is the most sinful when he feels the most sinless. The Christian actually has the most when he is giving away the most; and in all of these ways, the Christian is simply putting into daily practice the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, his Savior and Lord!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:07:14 PM
CONFESSING OUR LOVE
By A.W. Tozer

      Consider with me the appealing Old Testament story of the beautiful young woman in the Song of Solomon. Deeply in love with the young shepherd, she is also actively sought out by the king, who demands her favor. She remains loyal to the simple shepherd, who gathers lilies and comes to seek her and calls to her through the lattice. In many ways, this is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus, of His love and care for His Bride, the Church. In the scriptural account, she does turn her loved one away with simple excuses. But condemned in heart, she rises to go out and search for him. As she seeks, she is asked: "What is he above others that you should seek him?" "Oh, he is altogether lovely," she replies. "He came and called for me, and I had not the heart to go!" But at last she is able to confess, "I have found him whom my soul loveth!" He had been grieved but He was not far away. So it is with our Beloved-He is very near to us and He awaits our seeking!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:08:01 PM
"AS I WAS, SO I WILL BE!"
By A.W. Tozer

      For all things, God is the great Antecedent! Because He is, we are and everything else is. We cannot think rightly of God until we begin to think of Him as always being there-and being there first! Joshua had this to learn. He had been so long the servant of God's servant Moses, and had with such assurance received God's word at his mouth, that Moses and the God of Moses had become blended in his thinking; so blended that he could hardly separate the two thoughts. By association they always appeared together in his mind. Now Moses is dead and lest the young Joshua be struck down with despair God spoke to assure him: "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee!" Moses was dead, but the God of Moses still lived! Nothing had changed and nothing had been lost, for nothing of God dies when a man of God dies. "As I was-so I will be." Only the Eternal God could say this!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:09:05 PM
THE WALK OF FAITH
By A.W. Tozer

      There are spiritual lessons for every Christian believer in the life of godly Enoch, seventh generation from Adam through Adam's third son, Seth. We are impressed that he could resist the devil and find fellowship with his Creator-God, for he lived in a worldly society headed for destruction. Enoch's daily walk was a walk of faith, a walk of fellowship with God. The Scriptures are trying to assure us that if Enoch could live and walk with God by faith in the midst of his sinful generation, we likewise should be able to follow his example because the human race is the same and God is the same! Beyond that, Enoch reminds us that the quality and boldness of our faith will be the measure of our preparation for the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. We walk by faith as Enoch did, and although it is now 20 centuries after Christ's sojourn on earth, we hold firmly to the New Testament promise that our risen Lord will return to earth again!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:10:20 PM
ENOCH ESCAPED DEATH
By A.W. Tozer

      The Genesis record concerning Enoch should speak to us of our own troubled times-for that is the purpose of the Word of God. It should be our concern that we hear and that we obey! The faith and deportment of the man Enoch compose a vivid picture a powerful object lesson to encourage every believer in his or her faith. There is only one conclusion to be drawn - Enoch was translated into the presence of God because of his faith, and thus he escaped death! It is my strong conviction that Enoch's experience of translation is a type, or preview, of the coming rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ, described in the Scriptures. It is evident that there was no funeral for Enoch. Perhaps members of his family did not fully understand his walk with God, but they could answer with the facts! "He is gone! We thought he was extreme in his beliefs but now he is gone, and we are still here in a troubled world!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:11:15 PM
A MAN SENT FROM GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      The Bible record is very plain when it assures us that John the Baptist was a man sent from God. Our generation would probably decide that such a man ought to be downright proud of the fact that God had sent him. We would urge him to write a book. Seminary leaders would line up to schedule him as guest lecturer. Actually, John the Baptist would never have fit into the contemporary religious scene in our day - never! He did not keep his suit pressed. He was not careful about choosing words that would not offend. He did not quote beautiful passages from the poets. The doctors of psychiatry would have quick advice for him: "John, you really need to get adjusted to the times and to society!" "Adjust"-that is a modern word I have come to hate. It was never an expression used to speak about human beings until we forgot that man has a soul. Now we have weird guys with mental "screwdrivers" adjusting one person a little tighter and another a little looser. John needed no adjustment. He gladly stepped down, so that all eyes could turn to Jesus, the Lamb of God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:11:59 PM
DEMONSTRATE YOUR FAITH
By A.W. Tozer

      We know of many who have been deceived into believing that the learning and the memorizing of Christian doctrine is all-sufficient. They actually think that somehow they are better off for having learned the doctrines of religion. God actually asks of us what He asked of Noah long ago! "Demonstrate your faith in God in your everyday life!" It is evident that God did not say to Noah, "I am depending on you to hold the proper orthodox doctrines. Everything will be just fine if you stand up for the right doctrines." I have read a statement by Martin Lloyd-Jones, the English preacher and writer, in which he said: "It is perilously close to being sinful for any person to learn doctrine for doctrine's sake." I agree with his conclusion that doctrine is always best when it is incarnated-when it is seen fleshed out in the lives of godly men and women. Our God Himself appeared at His very best when He came into our world and lived in our flesh!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:13:18 PM
PRAYER OF A SERVANT
By A.W. Tozer

      Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou hast called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Lord my Lord, Thou hast stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou hast ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master and it is n6t to be expected that they will receive me, the servant. My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weaknesses nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine but Thine. Thou hast said, "I know thee; I ordained thee; I sanctified thee." Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord; Thy will, not mine be done.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:14:26 PM
YOUR DEVOTIONAL LIFE
By A.W. Tozer

       Too many of us object, perhaps unconsciously, to the rather evident fact that the maintenance of the devotional mood is indispensable to success in the Christian life. And what is the devotional mood? It is nothing else than constant awareness of God's enfolding presence, the holding of inward conversations with Christ and private worship of God in spirit and in truth! To establish our hearts in the devotional mood we must abide in Christ, walk in the Spirit, pray without ceasing and meditate in the Word of God day and night. Of course this implies separation from the world and obedience to the will of God, as we are able to understand it. No matter how we may argue, true holiness and spiritual power are not qualities that can be once received and thereafter forgotten, as one might wind a clock or take a vitamin pill. Every advance in the spiritual life must be made against the determined resistance of the world, the flesh and the devil!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:15:20 PM
PRACTICING THE TRUTH
By A.W. Tozer

      Christians habitually weep and pray over beautiful truth, only to draw back from that same truth when it comes to the difficult job of putting it into practice! Actually, the average church simply does not dare to check its practices against biblical precepts. It tolerates things that are diametrically opposed to the will of God, and if the matter is pointed out to its leaders, they will defend its unscriptural practices with a casuistry equal to the verbal dodgings of the Roman moralists. Can it be that there is no vital connection between the emotional and the volitional departments of life? Since Christ makes His appeal directly to the will, are we justified in wondering whether or not these divided souls have ever made a true commitment to the Lord? Or whether they have been inwardly renewed? It does appear that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right! Jesus Himself left a warning: "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Revelation 3:lb).


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:16:05 PM
AN EXCLUSIVE ATTACHMENT
By A.W. Tozer

       I am not in the business of trying to downgrade any other believer's efforts to win souls. I am just of the opinion that we are often too casual and there are too many tricks that can be used to make soul winning encounters completely "painless" and at "no cost" and without any "inconvenience." Some of the unsaved with whom we deal on the "quick and easy" basis have such little preparation and are so ignorant of the plan of salvation that they would be willing to bow their heads and "accept" Buddha or Zoroaster if they thought they could get rid of us in that way. To "accept Christ" in anything like a saving relationship is to have an attachment to the Person of Christ that is revolutionary, complete and exclusive! It is more than joining some group that you like. It is more than having enjoyable social fellowship with other nice people. You give your heart and life and soul to Jesus Christ-and He becomes the center of your transformed life!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:16:57 PM
A BIRTH FROM ABOVE
By A.W. Tozer

      This may sound like heresy in some quarters, but I have come to this conclusion-that there are far too many among us who have thought that they accepted Christ, but nothing has come of it within their own lives and desires and habits! This kind of philosophy in soul-winning-the idea that it is "the easiest thing in the world to accept Jesus"-permits the man or woman to accept Christ by an impulse of the mind or of the emotions. It allows us to gulp twice and sense an emotional feeling that has come over us, and then say, "I have accepted Christ." These are spiritual matters about which we must be legitimately honest and in which we must seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit. These are things about which we cannot afford to be wrong; to be wrong is still to be lost and far from God. Let us never forget that the Word of God stresses the importance of conviction and concern and repentance when it comes to conversion, spiritual regeneration, being born from above by the Spirit of God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:17:52 PM
SPIRITUAL CONFIRMATION
By A.W. Tozer

      The human personality has a right to be consciously aware of a meeting with God. There will be a spiritual confirmation, an inward knowledge or witness! This kind of confirmation and witness was taught and treasured by the great souls throughout the ages. Conscious awareness of the presence of God! I defy any theologian or teacher to take that away from the believing church of Jesus Christ! But be assured they will try. And I refer not just to the liberal teachers. God has given us the Bible for a reason - so it can lead us to meet God in Jesus Christ, in a clear, sharp encounter that will burn on in our hearts forever and ever. When the Bible has led us to God and we have experienced God in the crisis of encounter, then the Bible has done its first work. That it will continue to do God's work in our Christian lives should be evident!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:18:36 PM
THE ETHICS OF JESUS
By A.W. Tozer

      The teachings of Jesus belong to the Church, not to society, for in society is sin, and sin is hostility to God! Christ did not teach that He would impose His teachings upon the fallen world. He called His disciples to Him and taught them, and everywhere throughout His teachings there is the overt or implied idea that His followers will constitute an unpopular minority group in an actively hostile world. The divine procedure is to go into the world of fallen men, preach to them the necessity to repent and become disciples of Christ and, after making disciples, to teach them "the ethics of Jesus," which Christ called "all things which I have commanded you." The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man or woman in the miracle of the new birth. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit. Christ lives again in His redeemed followers the life He lived in Judea, for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:19:29 PM
FAITH AND EXPERIENCE
By A.W. Tozer

      I insist that the effective preaching of Jesus Christ, rightly understood, will produce Christian experience in Christian believers. Moreover, if preaching does not produce spiritual experience and maturing in the believer, that preaching is not being faithful to the Christ revealed in the Scriptures. Let me say it again another way: the Christ of the Bible is not rightly known until there is an experience of Him within the believer, for our Savior and Lord offers Himself to human experience. When Jesus says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," it is an invitation to a spiritual experience. He is saying, "Will you consent to come? Have you added determination to your consent? Then come; come now!" Yes, our Lord gives Himself to us in experience. David says in Psalm 34: "0 taste and see that the Lord is good." I think David said exactly what he meant. Surely the Holy Spirit was saying through David: "You have taste buds in your soul for tasting, for experiencing spiritual things. Taste and experience that God is good!"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:20:27 PM
WE ARE NOT ALL ALIKE
By A.W. Tozer

      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!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2006, 09:22:07 PM
QUESTIONS WE ASK
By A.W. Tozer

      I am convinced that anyone who brings up the question of consequences in the Christian life is only a mediocre and common Christian! I have known some who were interested in the deeper life, but began asking questions: "What will it cost me-in terms of time, in money, in effort, in the matter of my friendships?" Others ask of the Lord when He calls them to move forward: "Will it be safe?" This question comes out of our constant bleating about security and our everlasting desire for safety above all else. A third question that we want Him to answer is: "Will it be convenient?" What must our Lord think of us if His work and His witness depend upon the security and the safety and the convenience of His people? No element of sacrifice, no bother, no disturbance-so we are not getting anywhere with God! We have stopped and pitched our tent halfway between the swamp and the peak. We are mediocre Christians!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:37:32 AM
BEYOND EMPTY PROFESSION
By A.W. Tozer

      Preaching from the pulpit about the Christian "deeper life" does not automatically produce a deeper life church and congregation. The profession of men and women that they believe in "the deeper Christian life" is no assurance that their fellowship is actually a deeper life church. The deeper spiritual life many people say they want is not a message; it is not a sermon; it is not a profession. I am a pastor and I think I major in telling the truth. It is true that it is about time we stop coddling and apologizing for congregations that have reputations for being deeper life churches. The deeper spiritual life is not something just to be talked about - it is a quiet enjoyment of daily blessing and peace and victory that is lived day by day; beyond empty profession and without any two-faced circumstances!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:38:18 AM
CONFESS CHRIST'S LORDSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

      I think it is a completely wrong concept in Christian circles to look upon Jesus as a kind of divine nurse to whom we can go when sin has made us sick, and after He has helped us, to say, "Goodbye, Jesus"-and go on our own way. Suppose I go into a hospital in need of a blood transfusion. After the staff has ministered to me and given their services, do I just slip out with a cheery "goodbye"-as though I owe them nothing and it was kind of them to help me in my time of need? That may sound far out to you, but it draws a picture of attitudes among us today. But the Bible never in any way gives us such a concept of salvation. Nowhere are we ever led to believe that we can use Jesus as a Savior and not own Him as our Lord. He is the Lord and as the Lord He saves us, because He has all of the offices of Savior, Christ, High Priest, and Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption! He is all of these-and all of these are embodied in Him as Christ, the Lord!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:38:53 AM
HOW DO WE LISTEN?
By A.W. Tozer

       The living God has spoken to lost mankind in a variety of ways. The general response among us has been, "We did not hear His voice. We did not hear anything." John recorded in his gospel the reactions of an audience of people who heard God speak audibly. When Jesus talked of His coming death, asking God to glorify His name through it, "a voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and will glorify it again':" (John 12:28). And what were the reactions of the bystanders? "The crowd that was there heard it and said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him" (John 12:29). People prefer their own logic, their own powers of reason. even when God speaks, they refuse to recognize His voice. They will not confess that God has spoken through Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. When He confronts them with their sin, they consult a psychiatrist and hope they can get their personalities "properly adjusted." But in a coming day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:39:29 AM
UNCLEAN BY COMPARISON
By A.W. Tozer

      In the Old Testament, whenever the living God revealed Himself in some way to humankind, terror and amazement were the reactions. People saw themselves as guilty and unclean by comparison! In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes the overwhelming nature of his encounter with the Lord of glory. Although a believer and an apostle, John sank down in abject humility and fear when the risen, glorified Lord Jesus appeared before him on Patmos. Our glorified Lord did not condemn John. He knew that John's weakness was the reaction to revealed divine strength. He knew that John's sense of unworthiness was the instant reaction to absolute holiness. Along with John, every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest Presence of God. Jesus at once reassured John, stooping to place a nail-pierced hand on the prostrate apostle, and saying: "Do not be afraid. I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and hades."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:40:03 AM
GOD KNOWS THE HYPOCRITES
By A.W. Tozer

      I do not consider that it is my place as a Christian to stand around making judgments and calling other people "hypocrites." Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only man I know who was holy and perfect enough to call the religious leaders of the day hypocrites. I am just a man with faults and shortcomings of my own, and I must always consider myself lest I be tempted! I preach to my own congregation about our faults and our failings, with the warning that some of our professions of blessing and victory may get into the area of "umntentional hypocrisy." Through the grace of God and the kindness of our spiritual ancestors we may have spiritual light that some others do not have-but in all honesty, we are wretchedly far below what we should be in living up to it, day by day. It helps us to be honest and frank and humble to know that the great God Almighty knows the secrets of every person's heart!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:41:31 AM
MORE THAN RELIGION
By A.W. Tozer

      Contrary to much that is being said and practiced in churches, true worship is not something that we "do" in the hope of appearing to be religious! True worship must be a constant and consistent attitude or state of mind within the believer, a sustained and blessed acknowledgement of love and admiration. If we have this awareness in our own lives and experience, then it is evident that we are not just waiting for Sunday to come to church and worship. Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instinct that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition! That response within our beings, a response to the forgiveness and pardon and regeneration, signals the miracle of the heavenly birth-without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. Thus the primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through the washing of regeneration.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:42:12 AM
HONOR GOD'S SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      I think there are great numbers of Christian believers who ought to go home and go into their places of prayer and apologize to God for their demeaning attitudes toward the Holy Spirit of God. Included in their numbers are Bible teachers who are guilty of leading us astray. They have dared to teach Christians that the Holy Spirit will never speak of His own person or position, as though the third Person of the Godhead may be ignored and His ministry downgraded! Jesus said, "[When He comes] He shall not speak of himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak" (John 16:13b). Jesus was actually telling His disciples: The Comforter will not come to stand on His own, to speak on His own authority. He will guide you into all truth-He will speak and act on the authority of the divine Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you do not yield and honor the Holy Spirit, your lives will not show forth the blessed fruits of the Spirit!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:42:51 AM
RESPONDING TO THE SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      Are we raising a whole generation of young men and women without any sensitivity to the voice of God's Holy Spirit? I am on record, and I will be as long as I live, that I would rather lose a leg and hobble along throughout the rest of my life than to lose my sensitivity to God and to His voice and to spiritual things! Oh, how I want to keep that sensitivity within me-within my soul! I am thinking about a great throng of men and women raised in Christian homes. They have been brought up in Sunday school. They probably cut their first baby tooth on the edge of a hymn book when the mother was not watching. Still, to this day, they are not right with God. Some have made a kind of profession but have never been able to delight themselves in the Lord. The reason? They have lost sensitivity to the message and the voice of God. If the Holy Spirit cannot move something within their beings every day they are not going to be effective Christians-if they are Christians at all!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:43:33 AM
WHEN PENTECOST CAME
By A.W. Tozer

      As we read the New Testament, we find a very simple and very plain and very forceful truth-the Holy Spirit makes a difference! Consider the early disciples-Jesus Himself had taught them for more than three years-the greatest Bible school! But still He had to caution them and encourage them not to depend on their own wisdom and strength: "Tarry ye . . . until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49b). He promised that they would receive the Person of the Holy Spirit to carry out His plan of world evangelization. After Pentecost, the Spirit brought them a new and vivid consciousness of the actual Presence of God. He gave them the gifts of divine joy and peace. He gave them great and continuing delight in prayer and communion with God! Finally, we recall that before Pentecost the disciples could only ask questions. After Pentecost, throughout the record in the book of Acts, they stood in the authority of the Spirit and answered all of the questions of the people concerning God's plan of salvation through the crucified and risen Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:45:21 AM
THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      The miraculous events wrought in Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost indicated to the disciples that Jesus Christ, the Messiah-Savior, had indeed taken His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high. With Jewish critics all around, Peter lifted his voice and said that all who were in Jerusalem on that day were seeing the fulfillment of prophecy-the words of Jesus that He would send the Holy Spirit after His death and resurrection and exaltation. "Therefore," Peter cried, "let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Many, many have failed to note Peter's Pentecostal emphasis: the important thing in God's plan was the fact that Jesus had been exalted in heaven, and that His glorification there had been the signal for the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. What a lesson! The Spirit does not have to be begged - He comes when the Savior is honored and exalted!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:46:08 AM
THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      The miraculous events wrought in Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost indicated to the disciples that Jesus Christ, the Messiah-Savior, had indeed taken His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high. With Jewish critics all around, Peter lifted his voice and said that all who were in Jerusalem on that day were seeing the fulfillment of prophecy-the words of Jesus that He would send the Holy Spirit after His death and resurrection and exaltation. "Therefore," Peter cried, "let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Many, many have failed to note Peter's Pentecostal emphasis: the important thing in God's plan was the fact that Jesus had been exalted in heaven, and that His glorification there had been the signal for the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. What a lesson! The Spirit does not have to be begged - He comes when the Savior is honored and exalted!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:46:57 AM
GOD IS SOVEREIGN
By A.W. Tozer

      Oh, how I wish that I could adequately set forth the glory of the One who is worthy to be the object of our worship! I do believe that if our new converts-the babes in Christ-could be made to see His thousand attributes and even partially comprehend His being, they would become faint with a yearning desire to worship and honor and acknowledge Him, now and forever! I know that many discouraged Christians do not truly believe in God's sovereignty. In that case, we are not filling our role as the humble and trusting followers of God and His Christ. And yet, that is why Christ came into our world. The old theologians called it "theanthropism" - the union of the divine and human natures in Christ. This is a great mystery and I stand in awe before it! The theanthropy is the mystery of God and man united in one Person-not two persons but two natures. So, the nature of God and the nature of man are united in this One who is our Lord Jesus Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:47:29 AM
BLAME SOMEONE ELSE
By A.W. Tozer

       In the earliest day of failure and tragedy in the garden of Eden, Adam came out of hiding, knowing full well his own guilt and shame. Adam confessed: "We ate from the fruit of the tree that was forbidden-but it was the woman who enticed me!" When God said to Eve, "What did you do?" she said: "It was the serpent that beguiled me!" In that brief time our first parents had learned the art of laying the blame on someone else. That is one of the great, betraying evidences of sin-and we have learned it straight from our first parents. We do not accept the guilt of our sin and iniquity. We blame someone else. If you are not the man you ought to be, you are likely to blame your wife or your ancestors. If you are not the young person you ought to be, you can always blame your parents. If you are not the wife you ought to be, you may blame your husband or perhaps the children. Sin being what it is, we would rather lay the blame on others. We blame, blame, blame! That is why we are where we are.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:48:46 AM
UNHOLY, UNRIGHTEOUS, UNHAPPY
By A.W. Tozer

      All of history and the daily newspaper testify that the human race lies in ruin-spiritually, morally and physically. The long parade of gods, both virtuous and obscene, and a thousand varieties of vain and meaningless religious practices declare our spiritual degeneration, while disease, old age and death testify sadly to the completeness of our physical decay. By nature, men and women are unholy; and by practice we are unrighteous. That we are also unhappy is of small consequence. But it is of overwhelming importance to us that we should seek the favor of God while it is possible to find it, and that we should bring ourselves under the plenary authority of Jesus Christ in complete and voluntary obedience. To do this is to invite trouble from a hostile world and to incur such unhappiness as may naturally follow. Add the temptation of the devil and a life-long struggle with the flesh and it will be obvious that we will need to defer most of our enjoyments to more appropriate time!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:50:03 AM
BRAGGING ABOUT GOD
By A.W. Tozer

      Basic beliefs about the Person and the nature of God have changed so much that there are among us now men and women who find it easy to brag about the benefits they receive from God-without ever a thought or a desire to know the true meaning of worship! I have immediate reactions to such an extreme misunderstanding of the true nature of a holy and sovereign God, for I believe that the very last thing God desires is to have shallow-minded and worldly Christians bragging about Him. Beyond that, it does not seem to be very well recognized that God's highest desire is that every one of His believing children should so love and so adore Him that we are continually in His presence, in spirit and in truth. Something wonderful and miraculous and life-changing takes place within the human soul when Jesus Christ is invited in to take His rightful place. That is what God anticipated when He wrought the plan of salvation. He intended to make worshipers out of rebels; to restore the place of worship which our first parents knew when they were created!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:50:39 AM
MAN'S VIEW OF THIS WORLD
By A.W. Tozer

      If you have ever given much thought to this present world in which we live, you have some idea of the power of interpretation. The world is a stable fact, quite unchanged by the passing of years, but how different is modern man's view of the world from the view our fathers held. The world is for all of us not only what it is; it is what we believe it to be, and a tremendous load of wealth or woe rides on the soundness of our interpretation! In the earlier days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceded this world to be a battleground. Man, so our fathers held, had to choose sides. He could not be neutral-for him it must be life or death, heaven or hell! In our day, the interpretation has changed completely. We are not here to fight, but to frolic! We are not in a hostile foreign land; we are at home! It now becomes the bounden duty of every Christian to reexamine his spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible. So much depends on this that we cannot afford to be careless about it!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:51:21 AM
THE HUMBLE PLACE
By A.W. Tozer

       I have met two classes of Christians; the proud who imagine they are humble, and the humble who are afraid they are proud! There should be another class: the self-forgetful men and women who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest. The truly humble person does not expect to find virtue in himself, and when he finds none he is not disappointed. He knows that any good deed he may do is the result of God's working within him. When this belief becomes so much a part of any man or woman that it operates as a kind of unconscious reflex, he or she is released from the burden of trying to live up to the opinion they hold of themselves. They can relax and count upon the Holy Spirit to fulfill the moral law within them. Let us never forget that the promises of God are made to the humble: the proud man by his pride forfeits every blessing promised to the lowly heart, and from the hand of God he need expect only justice!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:52:03 AM
ASHAMED OF SIN
By A.W. Tozer

      Brethren, I am not ashamed of this world God created-I am only ashamed of man's sin! If you could take all of man's sin out of this world, there would be nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to be afraid of. Our apologies must be for humanity-and for our sins. I keep repeating that we have no business making excuses for God. It is popular now to talk about Christ being a guest here. I dare to tell people that they should stop patronizing Jesus Christ! He is not the guest here-He is the Host! We have apologists who write books and give lectures-apologizing for the person of Christ, trying to "explain" to our generation that the Bible does not really mean "exactly" what it says. But God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and thus we know where we stand, believing that all things were made by Him and "without Him was not anything made that was made."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:53:02 AM
A GREAT MORAL BLUNDER
By A.W. Tozer

      Of all the people on the earth, the nation of Israel surely was the best prepared to receive the Christ of God. The children of Abraham, they were called to be a chosen people in an everlasting covenant with God, the Father. Yet they failed to recognize Jesus as Messiah and Lord. There is no doubt that theirs was the greatest moral blunder in the history of mankind. He came to His own people and they rejected Him! Jesus taught frankly that He was asking His followers to throw themselves out on the resources of God. For the multitude, He was asking too much. He had come from God but they received Him not! It seems to be a comfort to some Christians to sit back and blame and belabor the Jews, refusing to acknowledge that they have information and benefits and spiritual light that the Jews never had. It is surely wrong for us to try to comfort our own carnal hearts by any emphasis that Israel rejected Him. If we do that, we only rebuild the sepulchers of our fathers as Jesus said!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 06, 2007, 04:55:05 AM
ASTONISHED REVERENCE
By A.W. Tozer

      In my own being, I could not exist very long as a Christian without the inner consciousness of the Presence and nearness of God! I can only keep right by keeping the fear of God on my soul and delighting in the fascinating rapture of worship. I am sorry that the powerful sense of godly fear is a missing quality in churches today. The fear of God is that "astonished reverence" of which the saintly Faber wrote. I would say that it may grade anywhere from its basic element-the terror of the guilty soul before a holy God-to the fascinated rapture of the worshiping saint. There are few unqualified things in our lives but I believe that the reverential fear of God, mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and adoration, is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know. A true fear of God is a beautiful thing, for it is worship, it is love, it is veneration. It is a high moral happiness because God is!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:30:00 PM
BEYOND EMPTY PROFESSION
By A.W. Tozer

      Preaching from the pulpit about the Christian "deeper life" does not automatically produce a deeper life church and congregation. The profession of men and women that they believe in "the deeper Christian life" is no assurance that their fellowship is actually a deeper life church. The deeper spiritual life many people say they want is not a message; it is not a sermon; it is not a profession. I am a pastor and I think I major in telling the truth. It is true that it is about time we stop coddling and apologizing for congregations that have reputations for being deeper life churches. The deeper spiritual life is not something just to be talked about - it is a quiet enjoyment of daily blessing and peace and victory that is lived day by day; beyond empty profession and without any two-faced circumstances!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:31:31 PM
CONFESS CHRIST'S LORDSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

      I think it is a completely wrong concept in Christian circles to look upon Jesus as a kind of divine nurse to whom we can go when sin has made us sick, and after He has helped us, to say, "Goodbye, Jesus"-and go on our own way. Suppose I go into a hospital in need of a blood transfusion. After the staff has ministered to me and given their services, do I just slip out with a cheery "goodbye"-as though I owe them nothing and it was kind of them to help me in my time of need? That may sound far out to you, but it draws a picture of attitudes among us today. But the Bible never in any way gives us such a concept of salvation. Nowhere are we ever led to believe that we can use Jesus as a Savior and not own Him as our Lord. He is the Lord and as the Lord He saves us, because He has all of the offices of Savior, Christ, High Priest, and Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption! He is all of these-and all of these are embodied in Him as Christ, the Lord!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:32:23 PM
HOW DO WE LISTEN?
By A.W. Tozer

       The living God has spoken to lost mankind in a variety of ways. The general response among us has been, "We did not hear His voice. We did not hear anything." John recorded in his gospel the reactions of an audience of people who heard God speak audibly. When Jesus talked of His coming death, asking God to glorify His name through it, "a voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and will glorify it again':" (John 12:28). And what were the reactions of the bystanders? "The crowd that was there heard it and said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him" (John 12:29). People prefer their own logic, their own powers of reason. even when God speaks, they refuse to recognize His voice. They will not confess that God has spoken through Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. When He confronts them with their sin, they consult a psychiatrist and hope they can get their personalities "properly adjusted." But in a coming day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:33:42 PM
UNCLEAN BY COMPARISON
By A.W. Tozer

      In the Old Testament, whenever the living God revealed Himself in some way to humankind, terror and amazement were the reactions. People saw themselves as guilty and unclean by comparison! In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes the overwhelming nature of his encounter with the Lord of glory. Although a believer and an apostle, John sank down in abject humility and fear when the risen, glorified Lord Jesus appeared before him on Patmos. Our glorified Lord did not condemn John. He knew that John's weakness was the reaction to revealed divine strength. He knew that John's sense of unworthiness was the instant reaction to absolute holiness. Along with John, every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest Presence of God. Jesus at once reassured John, stooping to place a nail-pierced hand on the prostrate apostle, and saying: "Do not be afraid. I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and hades."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:34:25 PM
GOD KNOWS THE HYPOCRITES
By A.W. Tozer

      I do not consider that it is my place as a Christian to stand around making judgments and calling other people "hypocrites." Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only man I know who was holy and perfect enough to call the religious leaders of the day hypocrites. I am just a man with faults and shortcomings of my own, and I must always consider myself lest I be tempted! I preach to my own congregation about our faults and our failings, with the warning that some of our professions of blessing and victory may get into the area of "umntentional hypocrisy." Through the grace of God and the kindness of our spiritual ancestors we may have spiritual light that some others do not have-but in all honesty, we are wretchedly far below what we should be in living up to it, day by day. It helps us to be honest and frank and humble to know that the great God Almighty knows the secrets of every person's heart!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:35:16 PM
MORE THAN RELIGION
By A.W. Tozer

      Contrary to much that is being said and practiced in churches, true worship is not something that we "do" in the hope of appearing to be religious! True worship must be a constant and consistent attitude or state of mind within the believer, a sustained and blessed acknowledgement of love and admiration. If we have this awareness in our own lives and experience, then it is evident that we are not just waiting for Sunday to come to church and worship. Having been made in His image, we have within us the capacity to know God and the instinct that we should worship Him. The very moment that the Spirit of God has quickened us to His life in regeneration, our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition! That response within our beings, a response to the forgiveness and pardon and regeneration, signals the miracle of the heavenly birth-without which we cannot see the kingdom of God. Thus the primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God through the washing of regeneration.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:36:06 PM
HONOR GOD'S SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      I think there are great numbers of Christian believers who ought to go home and go into their places of prayer and apologize to God for their demeaning attitudes toward the Holy Spirit of God. Included in their numbers are Bible teachers who are guilty of leading us astray. They have dared to teach Christians that the Holy Spirit will never speak of His own person or position, as though the third Person of the Godhead may be ignored and His ministry downgraded! Jesus said, "[When He comes] He shall not speak of himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak" (John 16:13b). Jesus was actually telling His disciples: The Comforter will not come to stand on His own, to speak on His own authority. He will guide you into all truth-He will speak and act on the authority of the divine Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you do not yield and honor the Holy Spirit, your lives will not show forth the blessed fruits of the Spirit!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:37:44 PM
RESPONDING TO THE SPIRIT
By A.W. Tozer

      Are we raising a whole generation of young men and women without any sensitivity to the voice of God's Holy Spirit? I am on record, and I will be as long as I live, that I would rather lose a leg and hobble along throughout the rest of my life than to lose my sensitivity to God and to His voice and to spiritual things! Oh, how I want to keep that sensitivity within me-within my soul! I am thinking about a great throng of men and women raised in Christian homes. They have been brought up in Sunday school. They probably cut their first baby tooth on the edge of a hymn book when the mother was not watching. Still, to this day, they are not right with God. Some have made a kind of profession but have never been able to delight themselves in the Lord. The reason? They have lost sensitivity to the message and the voice of God. If the Holy Spirit cannot move something within their beings every day they are not going to be effective Christians-if they are Christians at all!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:39:38 PM
GOD KNOWS MY PRAYER
By A.W. Tozer

      We modern Christians seem to be a strange breed in many of our ways. We are so completely satisfied with earthly things and we enjoy our creature comforts so much that we would just rather stay on here for a long, long time! Probably most of us do not tell God about that kind of desire when we pray. But for years I have made a practice of writing many of my earnest prayers to God in a little book - a book now well worn. I remind God often of what my prayers have been. One prayer in the book - and God knows it well by this time - is an honest supplication: Oh, God, Let me die rather than to go on day by day living wrong. I do not want to become a careless, fleshly old man. I want to be right so that I can die right! Lord, I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify You all of my days! I would rather go home right now than to live on-if living on was to be a waste of God's time and my own!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:41:04 PM
GOD'S GRACE IS ETERNAL
By A.W. Tozer

      It is a typical and accepted teaching in Christian churches today that Moses and the Old Testament knew only God's law, and that Christ and the New Testament know only God's grace. I repeat: that is the "accepted" teaching of the hour - but I also hasten to add that it is a mistaken concept, and that it was never the concept held and taught by the early Christian church fathers. God has always been the God of all grace, and He does not change. Immutability is an attribute of God; therefore God at all times and in all of history must act like Himself! He is the God of all grace; therefore the grace of God does not ebb and flow like the ocean tides. There has always been the fullness of grace in the heart of God. There is no more grace now than there was previously and there will never be any more grace than there is now! The flow of God's grace did not begin when Christ came to die for us. It was part of God's ancient plan of redemption and was manifested in the blood and tears and pain and death at Calvary's cross!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:41:49 PM
HIS CROSS IS MY CROSS
By A.W. Tozer

      To take Jesus Christ into your life without reservation is to accept His friends as your friends and to know that His enemies will be your enemies! It means that we accept His rejection as our rejection. We knowingly accept His cross as our cross. If you then find yourself in an area where Christ has no friends, you will be friendless-except for the one Friend who will stick closer than a brother. I made up my mind a long time ago. Those who declare themselves enemies of Jesus Christ must look upon me as their enemy, and I ask no quarter from them! And if they are friends of Christ they are my friends-and I do not care what color they are or what denomination they belong to. If the preachers would faithfully tell the people what it actually means to receive Christ and obey Him and live for Him, we would have fewer converts backsliding and foundering. Preachers who are not faithful one day will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and answer to a faithful Savior why they betrayed His people in this way!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:42:59 PM
NEW TESTAMENT ROOTS
By A.W. Tozer

      It is really a blessed thing in our Christian fellowship and in our congregations that God never asks whether it is a big church or a little church! A young pastor, when introduced to a well-known church leader, said, "You do not know me. I am the pastor of a little rural church." I think it was a wise reply that came from the churchman: "Young man, there are no little churches; all churches are the same size in God's sight!" But, whether large or small, it must be an assembly of believers brought together through the Name of Jesus, to worship in God's Presence; and with the right to receive all that God bestows. With these roots, we should ask ourselves if we are truly interested in spiritual attainment as were the New Testament believers. We must confess that the spiritual temperature among us may often be lower than in the early church. But we hold to the message that those who truly honor the Presence of the Savior are included in this relationship that goes back to the New Testament and to the apostles!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:43:48 PM
SPECTATOR CHRISTIANS
By A.W. Tozer

      This we have heard: "I am a born again Christian and I am happy that my sins are forgiven and I go to church on Sunday because I like the fellowship!" We ask: "Do you not go to put yourself in the way of spiritual blessing?" The answer: "No, I am saved and I do not need anything!" We ask: "Have you offered to witness, to pray, to encourage, to assist, to participate in your church's life and outreach?" The answer: "No. My church seems to get along very well without my help!" Brethren, this "non participation" kind of faith is a strange parody on Bible Christianity. Men and women who say they are believers just cancel themselves out. Is it something we have learned from the sporting events?-the great majority are spectators. They come and sit! If there is any true spiritual life within us, God will give us a gift of some kind and the humble soul will find something to do for God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:44:39 PM
DO THINGS POSSESS US?
By A.W. Tozer

      I think a lot of people in our congregations get confused when some learned brother advises us that we must all join in a fervent fight against "materialism." If men and women do not know what materialism is, how can they be expected to join the battle? Materialism in its crisis form occurs when men and women created in the image of God accept and look upon matter as "the ultimate"-the only reality. The advice, "We must fight materialism," does not mean that everyone should get a sword, and run after a fellow named Material, and cut him down. What it does mean is that we should start believing in the fact of God's Creation and that matter is only a creature of the all-wise and ever-loving God! The believer is not deceived into believing that the physical things we know and enjoy are the ultimate end, in themselves.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:45:28 PM
WITHOUT FEELING?
By A.W. Tozer

      I do know something of the emotional life that goes along with conversion to Jesus Christ. I came into the kingdom of God with joy, knowing that I had been forgiven. I have had people tell me very dogmatically that they will never allow "feeling" to have any part in their spiritual life and experience. "Too bad for you!" is my reply. I say that because I have voiced a very real definition of what I believe true worship to be: "Worship is to feel in the heart!" In the Christian faith, we should be able to use the word "feel" boldly and without apology. What worse thing could be said of us as the Christian church if it can be said of us that we are a feelingless people? I think we must agree that those of us who have been blest within our own beings would not join in any crusade to "follow your feelings." But if there is no feeling at all in our hearts, then we are dead!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:46:29 PM
WHO IS YOUR EXAMPLE?
By A.W. Tozer

      The Christian churches of our day have suffered a great loss in rejecting the example of good men, choosing instead the "celebrity of the hour" for their pattern. We must agree that it is altogether unlikely that we know who our "greatest" men are. One thing is sure, however-the greatest man alive today is the best man alive today. That is not open to debate. Spiritual virtues run deep and silent. The holy and humble man will not advertise himself nor allow others to do it for him. The Christian who is zealous to promote the cause of Christ can begin by living in the power of God's Spirit, and so reproducing the life of Christ in the sight of men. In deep humility and without ostentation he can let his light shine. To sum it all up: the most effective argument for Christianity is still the good lives of those who profess it!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:47:51 PM
 MAKE GOD'S WILL OUR WILL
By A.W. Tozer

       The mystery of man's free will is far too great for us! God said to Adam and Eve: "Thou shalt not eat from this tree." Here was a divine requirement calling for obedience on the part of those who had the power of choice and will. When they disobeyed they usurped the right that was not theirs! The poet Tennyson must have thought about this for he wrote in his In Memoriam: "our wills are ours, we know not how; our wills are ours to make them Thine!" "We know not how;" then Tennyson girds himself and continues, "Yes, our wills are ours to make them Thine." As created beings, that is our only right-to make our wills the will of God, to make the will of God our will! God is sovereign, and we are the creatures. He is the Creator and therefore His is the right to command us with the obligation that we should obey. It is a happy obligation, I might say, for "His yoke is easy and His burden is light!" It is important to agree that true salvation restores the right of a Creator-creature relationship, acknowledging God's right to our fellowship and communion!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:51:33 PM
WHY SETTLE DOWN?
By A.W. Tozer

      Why should a Christian "settle down" as soon as he has come to know the Lord? I blame faulty exposition of the New Testament for stopping many Christians dead in their tracks, causing them to shrug off any suggestion that there is still spiritual advance and progress beckoning them on. It is the position of some would-be teachers that everyone who comes into the kingdom of God by faith immediately obtains all there is of God's spiritual provision. I believe that such a teaching is as deadly as cyanide to the individual Christian life. It kills all hope of spiritual advance and causes many believers to adopt what I call "the creed of contentment." I am sure you agree with me that there is always real joy in the heart of the person who has become a child of God. Sound teaching of the Word will then hold out the goal of moving forward, emulating the Apostle Paul's desire to become a special kind of Christian!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:52:19 PM
FALSE PRETENDERS
By A.W. Tozer

      All persons who are alienated from God and outside of Christ are part and parcel of a mighty deception! They are called upon to pretend that they can have peace of mind within and that they can be relatively happy and make a big success of their human lives if they have youth and wealth and morality and high position. In that sense of what is going on all around us, David never had to apologize for writing that "every man is a liar!" The whole human concept of success and happiness and inner peace, based upon who we are and what we have, is completely false. The rich young ruler who came to question Jesus had wealth, morality, position and youth. But his very first question gave the clue to his own inner emptiness of life: "What good thing should I do, that I may have eternal life?" He knew very well that there is not a person alive who has eternal youth or eternal position or eternal righteousness. So, like every other man, he had to make a choice!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:53:04 PM
COMPROMISE IS COSTLY
By A.W. Tozer

      Christianity today is so entangled with this present world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere-but actually no real union between the world and the Church is possible. When the Church joins up with the world it is the true Church no longer but only a pitiful hybrid thing, an object of smiling contempt to the world, and an abomination to the Lord! Nothing could be clearer than the pronouncements of the Scriptures on the Christian's relation to the world. The confusion which gathers around this matter results from the unwillingness of professing Christians to take the Word of the Lord seriously. This whole thing is spiritual in its essence. A Christian is what he is not by ecclesiastical manipulation but by the new birth. He is a Christian because of a Spirit which dwells in him. Only that which is born by the Spirit is spirit, no matter how many church dignitaries work on it!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:54:06 PM
CHRIST MADE THE WORLD
By A.W. Tozer

      Think about the world into which our Lord Jesus Christ came-it is actually Christ's world! Every section of this earth that we buy and sell and kick around and take by force of arms is a part of Christ's world. He made it all and He owns it all. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made the world. He made the very atoms of which Mary was made; the atoms of which His own body was made. He made the straw in the manger upon which He was laid as a new-born baby. Let me digress here. I hear an occasional devotional exercise on the radio, in which the participants ask: "Mary, mother of God, pray for us!" It is only right that we should express our position based on the Word of God, and the truth is that Mary is dead and she is not the "mother of God." Mary was the mother of that tiny babe, for God in His loving and wise plan of redemption used the body of the virgin Mary as the matrix to give the eternal Son a human body. We join in giving her proper honor when we refer to her as Mary, mother of Christ.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:55:03 PM
LOVING GOD ONLY
By A.W. Tozer

      The first and greatest commandment is to love God with every power of our entire being. Where love like that exists, there can be no place for a second object. Yet popular Christianity has as one of its most effective talking points the idea that God exists to help people to get ahead in this world! The God of the poor has become the God of an affluent society. We hear that Christ no longer refuses to be a judge or a divider between money-hungry brothers. He can now be persuaded to assist the brother that has accepted Him to get the better of the brother who has not! Whoever seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. God will not be one of many treasures. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in selfish striving after personal gain. If we love God as much as we should, surely we cannot dream of a loved object beyond Him which He might help us to obtain!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:55:54 PM
ASCRIPTION OF GLORY
By A.W. Tozer

      I am discovering that many Christians are not really comfortable with the holy attributes of God. In such cases, I am forced to wonder about the quality of their worship. The word "holy" is much more than an adjective saying that God is a holy God. It is an ecstatic ascription of glory to the triune God. Everything that appears to be good among men and women must be discounted, for we are humans. Abraham, David and Elijah, Moses, Peter and Paul-all were good men, but each had his human flaws and weaknesses as members of Adam's race. Each had to find his own place of humble repentance. Because God knows our hearts and our intentions, He is able to restore His believing children in the faith! So, we should be honest and confess that much of our problem in continuing fellowship with a holy God is that many Christians only repent for what they do, rather than for what they are!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:56:35 PM
THE MYSTERY IN WORSHIP
By A.W. Tozer

      Consider the experience of Moses in the desert as he beheld the fire that burned in the bush without consuming it. Moses had no hesitation in kneeling before the bush and worshiping God. Moses was not worshiping a bush; it was God and His glory dwelling in the bush whom Moses worshiped! This is an imperfect illustration, for when the fire departed from that bush, it was a bush again. But this Man, Christ Jesus, is eternally the Son. In the fullness of this mystery, there has never been any departure, except for that awful moment when Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). The Father turned His back for a moment when the Son took on Himself that putrifying mass of sin and guilt, dying on the cross not for His own sin, but for ours. The deity and the humanity never parted, and to this day, they remain united in that one Man. When we kneel before Him and say, "My Lord and my God, Thy throne, 0 God, is forever and ever," we are talking to God!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:57:27 PM
TRUTH HAS A SOUL
By A.W. Tozer

      I believe there is a positive warning in the gospels that a person's faith may stand in the revealed Bible text-and still be as dead as the proverbial door nail! Consider the prayer of our Lord in Matthew 11: "All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." There is more than a body of truth - and if we do not get through to the soul of truth, we have only a dead body on our hands. When the power of God moves in on the text and sets the sacrifice on fire, then you have genuine Christianity! We try to call that revival, but it is not revival at all. It is simply New Testament Christianity. People who thought they were saved get saved! People who have only believed in a code now have placed their faith and trust in Christ's person. It is not any deluxe edition of Christianity-it is simply New Testament Christianity having its place!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:58:23 PM
OUR WILLS MUST SURRENDER
By A.W. Tozer

      The Christian doctrine of obedience to God and to His will is now largely neglected in modern religious circles, and many in our own congregations seem to feel that our obligation to obey has been discharged by the act of believing on Jesus Christ at the beginning of our Christian lives. We need to remember that "the will is the seat of true religion in the soul." Nothing genuine has been done in a man or woman's life until his or her will has been surrendered in active obedience. It was disobedience that brought about the ruin of the race. It is the obedience of faith that brings us back again into the divine favor! It needs to be said that a world of confusion results from trying to believe without obeying! A mere passive surrender may be no surrender at all. Any real submission to the will of God must include willingness to take orders from Him from that time on. I keep wondering whether the Lord's ministers will again give to obedience the place of prominence it occupies in the Scriptures.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 20, 2007, 10:59:00 PM
GOD UNDERSTANDS US
By A.W. Tozer

      We should revel in the joy of believing that God is the sum of all patience and the true essence of kindly good will! Because He is what He is, we please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything-and loves us still! The God who desires our fellowship and communion is not hard to please, although He may be hard to satisfy. He expects from us only what He has Himself supplied. When He must chasten us, Re even does this with a smile-the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is! This is the best of good news: God loves us for ourselves. He values our love more than He values galaxies of newly created worlds. He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 09:57:27 PM
The Tyranny of the Customary
By A.W. Tozer

      In the Old Testament, the enemy that threatened Israel the most was the dictatorship of the customary. Israel became accustomed to walking around in circles and was blissfully content to stay by the safety of the mountain for a while. To put it another way, it was the psychology of the usual. God finally broke into the rut they were in and said, "You have been here long enough. It is time for you to move on." To put Israel's experience into perspective for our benefit today, we must see that the mountain represents a spiritual experience or a spiritual state of affairs. Israel's problem was that they had given up hope of ever getting the land God had promised them. They had become satisfied with going in circles and camping in nice, comfortable places. They had come under the spell of the psychology of the routine. It kept them where they were and prevented them from getting the riches God had promised them. If their enemy, the Edomites, would have come after them, the Israelites would have fought down to the last man and probably would have beaten the Edomites--Israel would have made progress. Instead they were twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the customary to keep on being customary.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 09:58:21 PM
A Church Cemented in the Routine
By A.W. Tozer

      What is the worst enemy the church faces today? This is where a lot of unreality and unconscious hyprocrisy enters. Many are ready to say, "The liberals are our worst enemy." But the simple fact is that the average evangelical church does not have too much trouble with liberalism. Nobody gets up in our churches and claims that the first five books of Moses are just myths. Nobody says that the story of creation is simply religious mythology. Nobody denies that Christ walked on the water or that He rose from the grave. Nobody gets up in our churches and claims that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God or that He isn't coming back again. Nobody denies the validity of the Scriptures. We just cannot hide behind liberalism and say that it is our worst enemy. We believe that evangelical Christians are trying to hold on to the truth given to us, the faith of our fathers, so the liberals are not our worst enemy. Neither do we have a problem with the government. People in our country can do just about whatever they please and the government pays no attention. We can hold prayer meetings all night if we want, and the government would never bother us or question us. There is no secret police breathing down our backs watching our every move. We live in a free land, and we ought to thank God every day for that privilege. The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes "lord" in the life of the church. Programs are organized and the prevailing conditions are accepted as normal. Anyone can predict next Sunday's service and what will happen. This seems to be the most deadly threat in the church today. When we come to the place where everything can be predicted and nobody expects anything unusual from God, we are in a rut. The routine dictates, and we can tell not only what will happen next Sunday, but what will occur next month and, if things do not improve, what will take place next year. Then we have reached the place where what has been determines what is, and what is determines what will be.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 09:59:24 PM
Mired in the "Rote"
By A.W. Tozer

       . . . Everybody knows just what will happen, and this has become our deadliest enemy. We blame the devil, the "last days" and anything else we can think of, but the greatest enemy is not outside of us. It is within--it is an attitude of accepting things as they are. We believe that what was must always determine what will be, and as a result we are not growing in expectation. As soon as someone begins talking like this, the Lord's people respond by getting busy. What I am talking about, however, is internal. It is a matter of the soul and mind that ultimately determines our conduct. Let me show you the progressive stages. I begin with what I will call the rote. This is repetition without feeling. If someday someone would read the Scripture and believe it and would believe what is sung in the great Christian hymns, there would be a blessed spiritual revolution underway in a short time. But too many are caught up in the rote, repeating without feeling, without meaning, without wonder and without any happy surprises or expectations. In our services God cannot get in because we have it all fixed up for Him. We say, "Lord, we are going to have it this way. Now kindly bless our plans." We repeat without feeling, we repeat without meaning, we sing without wonder, and we listen without surprise. That is my description of the rote.



Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:00:02 PM
The "Rote" to "Rutness"
By A.W. Tozer

       We can go one step further and come to what I will call the rut, which is bondage to the rote. When we are unable to see and sense bondage to the rote, we are in a rut. For example, a man may be sick and not even know it. The doctors may have confided in the man's wife and said, "We don't want to frighten your husband, but he could drop any minute. He is critically ill, so just expect it at any moment." But the man himself does not know he is seriously ill. He goes about his business as though nothing is wrong. He may play golf or tennis, maybe even go on a hunting trip. He is sick, and yet he does not know how sick he really is. This may in fact hasten his end. Not knowing is risky business and full of danger. Spiritually speaking, the rut is bondage to the rote, and the greatest danger lies in our inability to sense or feel this bondage.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:00:58 PM
Who is the Church?
By A.W. Tozer

      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 inidvidual 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.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:01:29 PM
Spiritual Smugness
By A.W. Tozer

      Self-righteousness is terrible among God's people. If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are. This is the judgment of which we must be careful. To judge others by ourselves is to create havoc in the local assembly. Self-righteousness also leads to complacency. Complacency is a great sin and covers just about everything I have said about the rote and the rut. Some have the attitude, "Lord, I'm satisfied with my spiritual condition. I hope one of these days You will come, I will be taken up to meet You in the air and I will rule over five cities." These people cannot rule over their own houses and families, but they expect to rule over five cities. They pray spottily and sparsely, rarely attending prayer meeting, but they read their Bibles and expect to go zooming off into the blue yonder and join the Lord in the triumph of the victorious saints.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:02:25 PM
Fleeing the Rut
By A.W. Tozer

      If we call Him Lord, how dare we sit any longer in the rut! The Lord has called us to move on. But when people are in a rut, not even the angel Gabriel can help them if they will not come out of it. This is not an accusation but a suggestion. If you are not in a rut, don't get mad--somebody else is. But if you are in a rut you ought to get out of it. The difference between a wooden leg and a good leg is that if you prick a wooden leg the person would never notice. The difference between a church that has dry rot and a church that is alive is that if you prick the live church it will respond. If you prick the other kind, it is already dead. The tree that stands alive has lush, green leaves. Take a knife, scar the bark deeply and the tree will bleed. It is alive. The old dead tree just stands there, a watchtower for old sentinel crows. Take your knife and dig in as far as you want to, and nothing will happen because the tree is dead. So it is with my message. If you will get neither mad nor glad nor sad under my preaching, I know nothing can be done. But there are some who are alive, and I believe it is the majority.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:03:07 PM
Marching in Place
By A.W. Tozer

      God in His conscending love and kindness often sends a Moses, or maybe a Joshua or an Isaiah, or in latter times a Luther or Wesley to show us that the work of the Lord is not progressing. Times are bad in the kingdom and getting worse. The tendency is to settle into a rut, and we must get out of it. The time has come to arise and go on from here because God's will is as broad as the land He gave to the Israelites--"in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates" (Deuteronomy 1:7). . . . I am quite sure that when the man of God thundered, "You have stayed long enough in this place. You are going around in circles. Get you out and take what is given to you by the hand of your God," nobody got up and said, "Mr. Chairman, let's eat something." Eating probably would not have helped. I am quite certain that they did not get up and say, "Let's take a trip," or "Let's start another club." Starting a club is another reaction we have when we find ourselves in a rut and realize we are no taller than we were five years ago; we are no farther along than we were five years ago; we don't know any more than we did five years ago; we are no holier than we were five years ago. We simply met ourselves coming around. If a song could be worn out, we have worn out the same old song: "Revive us again, fill each heart with Thy love." We have sung that one and nobody means it--nobody will pay the price. But we go around and around, and all we see is the other fellow's heels just ahead of us. All the fellow behind us sees is our heels. We go around and around the circle, and somebody says, "Let's start a club now."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:03:56 PM
On Being Inwardly Christian
By A.W. Tozer

      Fellowship, committees and clubs are all right under the right circumstances, but this kind of an answer to that kind of a problem presupposes that those who give the answer have misuderstood the problem. There are three things they misunderstand. First, they misunderstand the nature of Christian faith. Christian faith is inward, not outward. It is of the spirit and not of the flesh. The kingdom of God is within you, Christ dwells in your heart, and "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) is the burning core of the Christian faith. So Christianity, the true Christian faith, is inward in nature--we are to be inwardly Christians. It is inside, somewhere in the spirit, soul and heart--the inner person--that we get into the rut. Because the problem is inward, it is ridiculous to say, "All right. The inner person, the spirit of me, the inner shrine of me, is in a rut. It isn't where it ought to be, so let's eat something."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:04:42 PM
On Being Church
By A.W. Tozer

      First, they misunderstand the nature of Christian faith. . . . Second, they misunderstand the nature of the church. You see, the church is a body of individuals united in Christ but having separate individual responsibilites. Thus the body is improved only as we improve the individuals that compose the body. The Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost on approximately 120 people. But it fell on them individually, and if any had hardened themselves they would have been passed over. Each person is born individually even if he or she is one of a set of triplets. We are born one at a time, and we die one at a time; we face judgment one at a time and, if we as Christians are sick, we will be cured one at a time. The body is composed of individuals, and to say, "All right, let's form committees to look into it," is trying to do by a dozen people what God cannot do for one person--fix the problem by external means. It does not work, and it will never work. Because we misunderstand the nature of the church, we misunderstand how to solve the problem.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:05:30 PM
Body Health Depends On Body Member Health
By A.W. Tozer

      First, they misunderstand the nature of Christian faith. . . . Second, they misunderstand the nature of the church. . . . Third, they misunderstand what is wrong with them. You cannot cure a weak member by prescribing a certain diet. You can eat caviar and hummingbird tongue until the sun goes down, but it will not help you, because that is not what is wrong with you. Somebody else says, "Let's take a trip." Take your trip--it is all right. Try not to get killed on the way. But remember, that is not what is wrong with you. Somebody else says, "Let's start a committee to handle it." The lack of a committee is not what is wrong with you, either. You are missing the nature of true Christian faith, for true Christianity is inward, and what is wrong cannot be reached by these external means. Now suppose we are ready to admit that we are in a rut. You say, "Well, what is the church doing?" I don't know, because it is the individual that matters. You see, the church is composed of this fellow that lives out here a little way and those two people who live out there in Scarboro and the five who live in Rexdale and the seven who live up in Willowdale and the 14 who live out east. That is the church. What the church does is what the individuals do. How well or how sick the church is depends on how well or how sick the individuals are. In other words, it depends upon how you are. We must come to the Lord and say, "Oh, Lord, what do I still lack? I have some things, Lord, but what do I lack? Or what is it that I ought to get rid of? How do I compare with what I should be? How do I know what I should be?"


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:06:07 PM
God's Blueprint for Believers' Living
By A.W. Tozer

      In Matthew 5:3-10 we read: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That is what we ought to be. This passage tells what a true Christian should be like. Go on to the epistles and see what the man of God has to say there. In Ephesians 4:26--5:2 he says, "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. This is what we ought to be. This is the way we ought to be living. When we say, "Lord, what do I still lack?" the Holy Spirit answers, "This is what you lack."



Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:06:45 PM
What We Are and What We Can Be
By A.W. Tozer

      Remember, we are compared with what we could be, not just what we should be. God being who He is, and Jesus Christ being His risen and all-powerful Son, anything we ought to be we can be. Anything that God has declared that we should be we can be. In the wonderful book of Romans, perhaps the greatest and most profound book in the Bible, 7 tells us of a man who is struggling and wanting to be something that he feels he cannot be. Finally he gives up and says, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (verse 24). Immediately, Paul says, "Thanks be to God! . . . because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (25; 8:2). In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." That is what we ought to be and what we can be. Now compare that with what we are.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:07:40 PM
Counterfeit Christians
By A.W. Tozer

      . . . If we compare what we ought to be and could be with what we are, and we don't see that we are in a rut and we are not concerned, then one of three things may be wrong. First, we may not be converted at all. I am convinced that many evangelicals are not truly and soundly converted. Among the evangelicals it is entirely possible to come into membership, to ooze in by osmosis, to leak through the cells of the church and never know what it means to be born of the Spirit and washed in the blood. A great deal that passes for the deeper life is nothing more or less than basic Christianity. There is nothing deeper about it, and it is where we should have been from the start. We should have been happy, joyous, victorious Christians walking in the Holy Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Instead we have been chasing each other around the perpetual mountain. What we need is what the old Methodists called a sound conversion. There is a difference between conversion and a sound conversion. People who have never been soundly converted do not have the Spirit to enlighten them. When they read the Sermon on the Mount or the teaching passages of the epistles that tell them how to live or the doctrinal passages that tell how they can live, they are unaffected. The Spirit who wrote them is not witnessing in their hearts because they have not been born of the Spirit. That often happens.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:12:24 PM
Trying to Run While Entangled
By A.W. Tozer

       . . If we compare what we ought to be and could be with what we are, and we don't see that we are in a rut and we are not concerned, then one of three things may be wrong. First, we may not be converted at all. . . . Second, people may not be concerned about the rut because of sin they have committed. Perhaps they have been regenerated but have sinned against light too often, so the light has become darkness. That often happens. I don't say these people are lost, but I do say that they are in a terrible state. Only the power and grace of God working within them can help. I think there are lots of people like that. They have been regenerated, but they have become busy with their real estate office or their store. Many have said, "Well, I'd like to come to your church, Reverend, but I have to keep my store open seven days a week." They cannot serve God because they do not have time to serve Him. They will have time to die, but they do not have time to serve God.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:12:59 PM
The Blindness of Self-Righteousness
By A.W. Tozer

       . . If we compare what we ought to be and could be with what we are, and we don't see that we are in a rut and we are not concerned, then one of three things may be wrong. First, we may not be converted at all. . . . Second, people may not be concerned about the rut because of sin they have committed. . . . Third, some people are so self-righteous that they are impervious to any work of the Holy Spirit. They cannot be cured of their blindness because they think they see. The Pharisees never got under conviction. They crucified Christ, they hated the Son of God, but they never got under conviction. They had ordered their religious life so as to be impervious to the arrows of the Holy Spirit. The adulterous woman could fall at the feet of Jesus, the tax collector who knew he had been crooked could run to the feet of Jesus to ask for help, and the poor came from everywhere to say, "What must I do?" They could come, but the Pharisees never did. They never got under conviction, and in hell I suppose they are still fighting and saying they are right. If people judge what they could be and ought to be with what they are and can still go home and have a good night's rest, shrugging it off, perhaps they have never been converted. Maybe they have sinned against light until they are temporarily under a terrible cloud of God's judgment. Or maybe they are so self-righteous that they cannot get under conviction.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:13:40 PM
Renewal Prayer
By A.W. Tozer

       The children of the world are sometimes wiser than the children of light. . . . We have been offered the face of God and the glory of Christ. We have been offered holiness and righteousness and indwelling by the Spirit. We can have our prayers answered and have hell fear us because we have a hold on God who invites us to draw on His omnipotence. We are offered all this, and yet we sit and play second violin without ambition. Israel was once in that condition, and an old prophet with shining eyes came to them and said, "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, . . You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror. You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away onyour harps like David and improvise onmusical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile." (Amos 6:1-7). Israel was in a rut, and they did not want anybody disturbing their calm. They liked music and food and beds of ivory, and they anointed themselves with ointment. They had everything that we call sumptuous living. But they were not grieved at the affliction of Israel. They didn't care. Let us not rest upon beds of ivory. By the grace of God let us begin to grieve a bit for the affliction of Joseph and be anxious and bothered in the Holy Spirit for the state the church is in.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:14:21 PM
Spiritual Sleepwalkers
By A.W. Tozer

      When the Bible says "Awake to righteousness and sin not," it indicates the possiblity of a sudden awakening, like when an alarm clock going off rouses you out of sleep. There is such a thing as being asleep and suddenly being wakened, and this is surprising to people. People often say, "You know, I was living a life displeasing to God. I was a church member, but though I didn't know it, I was displeasing to God. My life wasn't right. Then suddenly I was wakened by God. It was a surprise." . . . People who are awakened from moral sleep say, "Well, what's the matter with me? I've been living a life that's been displeasing to God, and I simply did not know it. "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it. . . . This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven'" (Genesis 28:16-17). Jacob must have been rather disconcerted when he awoke and found that he had been in the presence of God all the time, but he had been asleep. He was not morally dead; he was not cut off from the covenant--he was merely asleep.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on January 22, 2007, 10:14:58 PM
Responding to the Wake-Up Call
By A.W. Tozer

      There is also spiritual sleep. Notice Ephesians 5:14: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead." This verse is often spoken to sinners, but it was not written to sinners. Ephesians was never written to sinners. It is not a message to sinners at all, but a message to one of the best churches in the New Testament. Yet the writer says, "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Some of the Ephesians were in a somnolent condition; that is, they were morally good but unenlightened. They were religious but unanointed. It is perfectly possible for a good, faithful, loyal church member to be spiritually asleep--being in a spiritual state that parallels natural sleep. When your husband, your wife, your child, your relative, your friend or you go to sleep tonight, the fact that you are unconscious and out of the running for a while is not bothering you. You know that normally you will wake up again. You are not dead, but you are cut off from your environment, all but that which is reflex--breathing and a few other things. Likewise it is possible to be a Christian, to be in the church and yet be asleep spiritually. Then you have to be wakened suddenly. You will probably be ashamed of yourself, angry with yourself, frustrated and disconcerted and say, "What's the matter with me? All this time I was almost awake, but not quite."


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:50:48 PM
LIFE FLOWS FROM GOD
By A.W. Tozer

       Without doubt, we have suffered the loss of many spiritual treasures because we have let slip the simple truth that the miracle of the perpetuation of life is in God! Be assured that God did not create life and toss it from Him like some petulant artist disappointed with his work. All life is in Him and out of Him, flowing from Him and returning to Him again, a moving indivisible sea of which He is the fountainhead. That eternal life which was with the Father is now the possession of believing men and women, and that life is not God's gift only-but His very Self! The regeneration of a believing soul is but a recapitulation of all His work done from the moment of creation. So, redemption is not a strange work which God for a moment turned aside to do: rather it is His same work performed in a new field, the field of human catastrophe!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:51:24 PM
Life is Only a Little While
By A.W. Tozer

      It was John Milton who said that hope springs eternal in the human breast. Indeed hope is such a vital thing that were it to die out of the heart of mankind, the burden of life could not long be sustained.
      But precious as this hope may be, it is yet, when it is ill-founded, a dangerous thing. The hope, for instance, which almost all people feel, of long life here on earth, can be for many a deadly snare, a fatal delusion. The average man, when he thinks of his future, suspends reason, falls back on unreasoning hope and creates for himself an expectation of peaceful and unnumbered days yet to come. This blind optimism works all right till the last day, that inevitable last day which comes to all; then it betrays its victim into the pit from which there is no escape.

      The perils of groundless hope threaten the Christian too. James sharply rebuked the believers of his day for presumptuously assuming an earthly future they had no real assurance would be theirs, . . .


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:51:59 PM
Light of Life
By A.W. Tozer

      The Bible is a life-bringing and a life-giving book. It is not primarily concerned with any department of human thought for its own sake. If the Bible speaks about the rainbow, it is that we may be reminded of God?s covenant of mercy with mankind. If it tells the story of Abraham, it does so that we may learn to know the place of faith in our relation to God. If it points us to the moon and the stars, it is that we may know now frail we are. If it talks about the birds, it is to teach us to trust our Heavenly Father without fear or doubting. It tells us about hell not to satisfy our morbid curiosity, but that we may steer our feet far from its terrors. It tells us about heaven that we may be prepared to enter there. It writes the history of human disgrace that we may learn the value of divine grace. It warns in order that it may turn our feet away from the paths that go down to the path of destruction. It rebukes in order that we may see our own faults and be delivered from them.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:52:41 PM
Light to Live By
By A.W. Tozer

      The Bible was called forth by the moral emergency occasioned by the fall of man. It is the voice of God calling men home from the wilds of sin; it is a road map for returning prodigals; it is instruction in righteousness, light in darkness, information about God and man and life and death and heaven and hell. In it God warns, commands, rebukes, promises, encourages. In it He offers salvation and life through His Eternal Son. And the destiny of each one depends upon the response he or she makes to the voice of the Word.

      Because the Bible is the kind of book it is there can be no place for the detached, appraising attitude in our approach to it. ''O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.'' God's Word is not to be enjoyed as one might enjoy a Beethoven symphony or a poem by Wordsworth. It demands immediate action, faith, surrender, committal. Until it has secured these it has done nothing positive for the reader, but it has increased his responsibility and deepened the judgment that must follow.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:53:46 PM
LIGHT-AND SHADOWS
By A.W. Tozer

       A person once called me to ask this question: "Mr. Tozer, do you think a person who is really a Christian can hurt another Christian?" There is no easy answer-but I had to reply: "Yes, I think so." Why is it that a man can be on his knees one day, praying earnestly, and the next day be guilty of offending or injuring another Christian? I think it is because we are halfway between heaven and hell. It is because the light-and the shadow-fall upon us. The best answer is that we are being saved out of all these contradictions we find in our lifetime. Perhaps on this earth we will never be able to comprehend fully the awful, terrible price the Lord of all beauty paid to gain our redemption; to save His people from the ugliness of sin. If you do not know Him and worship Him, if you do not long to reside where He is, if you have never known wonder and ecstasy in your soul because of His crucifixion and resurrection, your claim of Christianity has little foundation!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:54:31 PM
Listening to God before We Speak for Him
By A.W. Tozer

      Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. There is a tip here for God's modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened. It might well be a wonderful revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a short time, long enough, let us say, to get acquainted with their own souls, and to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God. The experience, if repeated often enough, would do more to cure our ulcers than all the pills that ever rolled across a desk.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:56:05 PM
Live by the Spirit
By A.W. Tozer

      Actually the purest saint at the moment of his greatest strength is as weak as he was before his conversion. What has happened is that he has switched from his little human battery to the infinite power of God. He has quite literally exchanged weakness for strength, but the strength is not his; it flows into him from God as long as he abides in Christ. One of the heaviest problems in the Christian life is that of sanctification: how to become as pure as we know we ought to be and must be if we are to enjoy intimate communion with a holy God. The classic expression of this problem and its solution is found in Paul's epistle to the Romans, chapters seven and eight. The cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (7:24) receives the triumphant answer, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (8:2). No one who has given attention to the facts will deny that it is altogether possible for a man to attain to a high degree of external morality if he sets his heart to it. Marcus Aurelius, the pagan emperor, for instance, lived a life of such exalted morality as to make most of us Christians ashamed, as did also the lowly slave Epictetus; but holiness was something of which they were totally ignorant. And it is holiness that the Christian heart yearns for above all else, and holiness the human heart can never capture by itself.


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:56:56 PM
LIVE FOR GOD'S GLORY
By A.W. Tozer

      It may be difficult for the average Christian to get hold of the idea that his daily labors can be performed as acts of worship acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. We must practice living to the glory of God actually and determinedly. By one act of consecration of our total selves to God we can make every subsequent act express that consecration. By meditation upon this truth, by talking it over with God often in our prayers, by recalling it to our minds frequently as we move about among men, a sense of its wondrous meaning will begin to take hold of us. The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation, our Lord took upon Him a real human body. He lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act! Brethren, we must offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. We should then keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory. We thus meet the temptations and trials by the exercise of an aggressive faith in the sufficiency of Christ!


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 18, 2007, 11:58:11 PM
Living as Good Samaritans
By A.W. Tozer

      The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this: The world's pleasures and the world's treasures henceforth have no appeal for me. I reckon myself crucified to the world and the world crucified to me. But the multitudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my human tears. I want no blessing that I cannot share. I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept. I scorn a happiness that I must purchase with ignorance. I reject a heaven that I must enter by shutting my eyes to the sufferings of my fellow men. I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam's sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam's tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave or up into God's heaven mourning for the lost and the perishing. And thus and thus will I do as God enables me. Amen


Title: Re: A.W. Tozer, Bible studies and sermons
Post by: Shammu on March 19, 2007, 12:01:57 AM
Living as Light in the World
By A.W. Tozer

      Whether or not the Christian should separate himself from the world is not open to debate. The question has been settled for him by the Sacred Scriptures, an authority from which there can be no appeal. The New Testament is very plain: "They are not of the world," said our Lord, "even as I am not of the world." James wrote, "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." John said, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.&