21

MAR

THE DISPOSER OF DESTINIES

The gradual disappearance of the idea and feeling of majesty from the Church is a sign and a portent. The revolt of the modern mind has had a heavy price, how heavy is becoming more apparent as the years go by. Our God has now become our servant to wait on our will. "The Lord is my shepherd," we say, instead of "The Lord is my shepherd," and the difference is as wide as the world.

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20

MAR

THE MAJESTY ON HIGH

While few would dare thus to voice their secret feelings, there are millions who have imbibed the notion that they hold in their hands the keys of heaven and hell. The whole content of modern evangelistic preaching contributes to this attitude. Man is made large and God small; Christ is placed in a position to excite pity rather than respect as He stands meekly, lantern in hand, outside a vine-covered door.

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19

MAR

THE AUTHOR OF OUR FAITH

God has indeed lent to every man the power to lock his heart and stalk away darkly into his self-chosen night, as He has lent to every man the ability to respond to His overtures of grace, but while the "no" choice may be ours, the "yes" choice is always God's. He is the Author of our faith as He must be its Finisher. Only by grace can we continue to believe; we can persist in willing God's will only as we are seized upon by a benign power that will overcome our natural bent to unbelief.

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18

MAR

HIS LIKENESS

However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling. Has not God by such words as these taken out of our hands the ultimate choice? "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing . . . All that the Father giveth me shall come to me . . . No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . No man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father . . . Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. . . . It pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me."

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17

MAR

THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

It is time for us to seek again the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Man's lordship has cost us too much. Man's intrusive will has introduced such a multiplicity of unspiritual ways and unscriptural activities as positively to threaten the life of the Church. These divert annually millions of dollars from the true work of God and waste Christian man-hours in such vast numbers as to be heartbreaking.

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16

MAR

GOD'S EFFECTIVE CALLING

How delightful are God's ways and the goings forth of His will. Not by might nor by power, neither by native ability nor by training are men made apostles, but by God's effectual calling. So it is with every office within the Church. Men are permitted to recognize the call and make public acknowledgment before the congregation, but never are they permitted themselves to make the choice. But where divine ways and the ways of men mix and mingle there is confusion and failure continually. Good men who are yet not called of God may, and often do, take upon them the sacred work of the ministry. Worse still is it when men who belong yet to the old world and have not been renewed by the miracle of regeneration try to carry on God's holy work. How sad is the sight and how tragic the consequences, for the ways of man and the ways of God are forever contrary one to the other.

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15

MAR

CALLED BY GOD

Paul was made an apostle by the direct call of God. "No man taketh this honor upon himself." Among men we see that noted artists sometimes appear before royalty and their appearance is called a "command performance." However gifted they may be and however famous, they dare not intrude into the king's presence except by royal call, a call that amounts to an order. That call leaves no place for refusal except at the risk of affront to majesty. And with Paul it was not otherwise. God's call was also His command. Had Paul been running for political office the voters would have determined the outcome. Had he been trying for a place in the literary world his own abilities would have decided that place for him. Had he been competing in the prize ring his own strength and skill would have won or lost for him. But his apostleship was not so determined.

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14

MAR

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Yet in their pride men assert their will and claim ownership of the earth. Well, for a time it is true, this is man's world. God is admitted only by man's sufferance. He is treated as visiting royalty in a democratic country. Everyone takes His name upon his lips and (especially at certain seasons) He is feted and celebrated and hymned. But behind all this flattery men hold firmly to their right of self-determination. As long as man is allowed to play host he will honor God with his attention, but always He must remain a guest and never seek to be Lord. Man will have it understood that this is his world; he will make its laws and decide how it shall be run. God is permitted to decide nothing. Man bows to Him and as he bows, manages with difficulty to conceal the crown upon his own head.

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13

MAR

GOD'S SOVEREIGN WILL

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.” (1 Corinthians 1:1–2)

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