“Do You Now Believe?”

“By this we believe….” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?” —John 16:30-31

“Now we believe….” But Jesus asks, “Do you…? Indeed the hour is coming…that you…will leave Me alone” (John 16:31-32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7). When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation— just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.

By Oswald Chambers

Choosing the Right Path

Matthew 16:24-27

The Father has opened a way for sinners to be forgiven and set on the path of righteousness—namely, through faith in His Son. Trusting in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior makes us members of God’s family and takes us immediately onto the narrow road, which is only for His followers.

As we journey on this heavenward highway, the Holy Spirit acts as our guide and teaches us what we need to know. Through Him, we develop the ability to look beyond the temporal to the eternal: With spiritual eyes, we will catch glimpses of the Lord’s majesty, comprehend the depth of our Savior’s love for us, and experience the invisible, powerful presence of the Spirit. We will witness the awe-inspiring transformation of ordinary, pride-filled human beings into humble, loving ambassadors for Christ. Our minds will grasp the truths of God’s Word, and we will hear Him speaking to us through it. On the broad road, none of these things are possible.

Despite such amazing blessings, we at times all wander from the Lord’s will. We might be drawn away by the glitter of material things, the temporary satisfaction of self-indulgence, or a desire to be part of the crowd. Whatever we hope to find outside of God’s plan proves illusive and temporary. Only by walking with Christ on the path of godliness will we find the security and contentment we crave.

If you are drifting in your Christian life, allowing the world’s priorities to direct your steps, then you need to turn back. Jesus calls you to deny yourself and commit to following Him alone.

Lessons from Amos: Don’t Pass Through Beersheba

“But . . . pass not to Beersheba.” (Amos 5:5)

Beersheba (well of the “sevens”) became a location of some importance in Israel’s early history. Hagar (the Egyptian bondwoman who bore Ishmael) was rescued by God at Beersheba (Genesis 21:14-19). Abraham improved the well at Beersheba and settled there, built a grove and “called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). It was at Beersheba that Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:1-4).

Beersheba figured prominently in the life of Israel. Isaac made a covenant with the Philistines there, repaired the well, and lived at Beersheba for many years (Genesis 26:17-33). Historically, Beersheba is best known for the political oaths ceremoniously confirmed there with the secular nations around Israel.

At Beersheba, truth later became equated with tradition. Substituting the wisdom and traditions of man (Mark 7:3-13) or the world’s logic (Colossians 2:8) for truth can be very dangerous.

God looks forward not backward. Historical places and events are lessons not laws.
God wants obedience not activity. Past victories are to be praises not patterns.
God demands truth not compromise. Successful negotiations are directives not doctrines.

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:14-15). HMM III

A Bottle in the Ocean

…to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. —Ephesians 3:19

Pentecost means that the Deity came to mankind to give Himself to man, that man might breathe Him in as he breathes in the air, that He might fill men. Dr. A.B. Simpson used an illustration which was about as good as any I ever heard. He said, “Being filled with the fullness of God is like a bottle in the ocean. You take the cork out of the bottle and sink it in the ocean, and you have the bottle completely full of ocean. The bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle. The ocean contains the bottle, but the bottle contains only a little bit of the ocean. So it is with a Christian.”

We are filled unto the fullness of God, but, of course, we cannot contain all of God because God contains us; but we can have all of God that we can contain. If we only knew it, we could enlarge our vessel. The vessel gets bigger as we go on with God.

Enlarge my vessel, Lord, and fill me with more and more of the fullness of Yourself. Amen.

Rationalism: A Danger in Today’s Christianity

Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? John 7:19

The theological battle line in our day is not necessarily between the fundamentalist and the liberal.

There is a difference between them, of course. The fundamentalist says, “God made the heaven and the earth.” The liberal says, “Well, that is a poetic way of stating it—but actually, it came up by evolution.”

The warfare, the dividing line today, is between evangelical rationalists and evangelical mystics. I will explain what I mean.

There is today an evangelical rationalism which is the same doctrine held by the Jewish religion in the day of Jesus. They said the truth is in the word, and if you want to know truth, go to the rabbi and learn the word. If you get the word, you have the truth.

That is also the view of evangelical rationalism in our day: “If you learn the text you’ve got the truth!”

This evangelical rationalism will kill the truth just as quickly as liberalism will, though in a more subtle way. The evangelical rationalist wears our uniform but he insists that the body of truth is all you need. Believe the body of truth and you are on your way to heaven and you cannot backslide and you will get a crown in the last day!

I believe the Bible is a living book, a revelation from God. But there must be illumination before revelation can get to your soul. It is not enough that I hold an inspired book in my hands—I must have an inspired heart. Truth has a soul as well as a body!

Soldiers of Christ

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 TIMOTHY 2:3

It is possible to be beaten until you are numb. You can smile and praise the Lord and say, “Jesus, I my cross have taken,” for a while. But then you are slowly beaten until you are numb, and you get into a sort of a rut where you cannot fight back.

Timothy had been with Paul a long time, and Paul had been in so much trouble so much of the time. Timothy was tagging along behind in the same trouble, and Paul had noticed a little temptation to be ashamed of the cross. Essentially, Paul was saying, “Don’t be ashamed of the cross. Don’t shrink from the affliction of the gospel. God has not given us the spirit of fear.” Then in Second Timothy 2:3 Paul said, “Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” It is as though he might have detected in the young man a little temptation to recoil a bit from the hard life he was called into.

Lord, teach me self-discipline, that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Help me to be bold for the sake of Your cross.