Thursdays With Oswald—What Does It Mean To ‘Confess’ Christ?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What Does It Mean To ‘Confess’ Christ? 

     We receive the Spirit of Christ as a gift, but we do not receive His mind, we have to construct that [see Philippians 2:5], and this is done in the same way that we construct the natural mind, viz., by the way our disposition reacts when we come in contact with external things. …  

     “You call Me Master and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am”; but does it mean any more to us than the mere saying of it? “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should do as I have done for you” and we cannot do it by sentiment. It was in the hour when Jesus knew “that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God” that He began to wash the disciples’ feet; and it is when we realize our union with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master that we shall follow His example. [see John 13:1-4, 12-15] … 

     To “confess” Christ means to say, not only with the tongue, but with every bit of our life, that Jesus has come into our flesh.

From So Send I You

It’s one thing to say, “I am a Christian,” and it’s a completely different thing to live like Christ.

The Holy Spirit will continually bring a Christian into situations where we had the opportunity to develop the mind of Christ. As we develop His mind in us, it will naturally mean that we will “confess” Christ with our thoughts, words, and actions.

My prayer is that we will continually be focused on our Christ-like “confession.”

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10 More Quotes From “The Christian In Complete Armour”

William Gurnall penned wise words for Christian warriors nearly 400 years ago, but their timelessness is still evident today. Check out a few more quotes from The Christian In Complete Armour. 

“When we consider satan’s many years of experience in studying natural knowledge, we will not accept his predictions as prophecies but see him as a learned naturalist with a short and dark text of natural causes. … Neither satan nor any other creature is able to foretell events which do not arise from natural causes nor follow moral and political probabilities. Prophecies in Scripture are locked up in the cabinet of the divine will to prove their heavenly extraction. They must come from God, Who can tell us what only He knows.”

“Look closely at the label to see whether the armor you wear is the workmanship of God or not. There are many imitations on the market nowadays. It is satan’s game, if he cannot keep the sinner satisfied in his naked, lustful state, to coax him into some flimsy thing or other that by itself will neither do him good nor satan harm. Perhaps it is church attendance, or good works, or some self-imposed penance by which he intends to impress both God and man. … Thus thousands perish who supposed they were armed against satan, death, and judgment—when all along they were miserable and naked. … God’s armor can never be made to fit over the suit [a self-satisfied man] has fashion for himself.”

“Knowledge is to faith as sunshine is to the farmer. Without it, faith cannot see to do her work. Nor can the work, once finished, be adequately inspected in the dim light of half-truths. If you do not ground yourself in the truth of the Gospel, satan will play upon your ignorance to thwart your spiritual growth.”

“You give satan a dangerous advantage if you see his wrath and fury bent in general against the saints, and not against you specifically: satan hates me; satan accuses me; satan temps me. Conversely, you lose much comfort when you fail to see the promises and providences of God as available for your own specific needs: God loves me; God takes care of me.”

“Until the love of a sin is quenched in the heart, the fire will never die out. How is this accomplished? Jerome says one love extinguishes another—that is, the love of Christ must quench the love of sin.”

“If you are a Christian, what is there to fear? You have no life to lose if you have already given yourself to Christ. And while God has not promised immunity from suffering, He has undertaken to bear your losses and pay you a hundredfold, though your reward may not come until another world.”

“A thief has no legal right to the wallet he takes from his victim simply because he puts it in his pocket and claims it is his own. Nor is the wrong thus committed ever made right by the passing of time. Years may go by before he is discovered; he will be as guilty on the day of his arrest as on the day he perpetrated the crime. Now a thief on the throne is no different from one in the alley. satan has indeed kept his stolen title a long time, but he is no less a criminal than on the day he first took Adam’s heart from God.”

“I grieve to see the soul fallen so far beneath its divine origin! The body, which was intended to be its servant, has instead become its master, and rules with a merciless hand.”

“When you cause anyone to sin, you take the devil’s office out of his hands. Let him do it himself if he can, but never allow him to use you as his hireling. Tempting someone else to sin is worse than sinning yourself. Those who tempt others plant their own wickedness in fertile fields and raise up new seed to the devil.”

“One reason we are so easily persuaded to sin is because we do not understand satan’s purpose. … Shall I tell you? Do you think your pleasure or profit is his goal? Not likely! His aspirations are all for himself. He has a personal grudge against God, and he brings you, by sinning, to join his quarrel. What he fails to mention is that you jeopardize your very soul to defend his pride and lust. But he is hardly worried about your welfare. He loses no more sleep over your certain damnation than a demented general does over the men he sends on a suicide mission. Knowing this, why would you ever join satan in his fight against God?”

You can read my full review of William Gurnall’s book by clicking here. I have shared other quotes from The Christian In Complete Armour here, here, and here.

The Cure For Spiritual Fanaticism

“Some time after Pentecost a group of believers met to pray for strength and power to meet the emergency then facing them, and to enlist the help of God on their behalf. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31). Some of these were of the original number filled at Pentecost. It is hardly conceivable that God acted contrary to His own will in filling them again after Pentecost. Still other outpourings are recorded in Acts 8, Acts 10 and Acts 19. All these occurred some years after the original act.

“In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. …

“This anti-emotionalism, though it is sponsored by some good people and travels in pretty orthodox company, is nevertheless an unwarranted inference, not a scriptural doctrine, and is in violent opposition to psychology and common sense. Where in the Bible are feeling and faith said to be at odds? The fact is that faith engenders feeling as certainly as life engenders motion. We can have feeling without faith, it is true, we can never have faith without feeling. Faith as a cold, unemotional light is wholly unknown in the Scriptures. …

“The Holy Spirit is the cure for fanaticism. Not the cause of it.”

—A.W. Tozer, in Paths To Power

8 Quotes From “Paths To Power” by A.W. Tozer

As I said in my book review, A.W. Tozer’s words frequently make me say both “Ouch!” and “Amen!” Maybe you’ll feel the same thing in these few quotes.

“Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember. That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. …

“In short, the Church began in power, moved in power, and moved just as long as she had power. When she no longer had power she dug in for safety and sought to conserve her gains. But her blessings were like manna: when they tried to keep it overnight it bred worms and stank. So we have had monasticism, scholasticism, institutionalism; and they have all been indicative of the same thing: absence of spiritual power.” 

“The weakness in our message today is our overemphasis on faith with a corresponding underemphasis on obedience. This has been carried so far that ‘believe’ has been made to double for ‘obey’ in the minds of millions of religious persons.”

“In every denomination, missionary society, local church, or individual Christian this law operates. God works as long as His people live daringly; He ceases when they no longer need His aid.” 

“To any casual observer of the religious scene today, two things will at once be evident: one, that there is very little sense of sin among the unsaved, and two, that the average professed Christian lives a life so worldly and careless that it is difficult to distinguish him from the unconverted man.”

“It is always dangerous to isolate a truth and then press it to its limit without regard to other truth.”

“It may be stated as an axiom of the Christian system that whatever makes sin permissible is a foe of God and an enemy of the souls of men.”

“Some time after Pentecost a group of believers met to pray for strength and power to meet the emergency then facing them, and to enlist the help of God on their behalf. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31). Some of these were of the original number filled at Pentecost. It is hardly conceivable that God acted contrary to His own will in filling them again after Pentecost. Still other outpourings are recorded in Acts 8, 10 and 19. All these occurred some years after the original act.

“In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

“This anti-emotionalism, though it is sponsored by some good people and travels in pretty orthodox company, is nevertheless an unwarranted inference, not a scriptural doctrine, and is in violent opposition to psychology and common sense. Where in the Bible are feeling and faith said to be at odds? The fact is that faith engenders feeling as certainly as life engenders motion. We can have feeling without faith, it is true, we can never have faith without feeling. Faith as a cold, unemotional light is wholly unknown in the Scriptures.”

Godly Leaders Must Do Hard Things

“Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it” (Ezra 10:4).

Leaders have to do hard things. The responsibility is theirs, and the team is imploring their leader to take the responsibility to lead!

Ezra had to deal with a difficult issue. The issue was intermarriage between the Israelites and pagan nations. To complicate matters, Ezra discovered that “the hand of the leaders and rulers had been foremost in this trespass” (Ezra 9:2). I would guess these leaders had committed the sin of commission (intermarrying themselves or allowing their children to do so), and of omission (not speaking out against trespassers).

But those “who trembled at the words of the God of Israel” were greatly grieved at this national sin (v. 4).

Ezra’s first response was a good one: he fasted and prayed, confessing the sins of the people and identifying himself with them (notice the use of “we” in his prayer). Ezra knew there was a window of opportunity for revival that was about to close, so he must act quickly (vv. 5-15).

Prayer is a great start, but after prayer there must be action: “Arise … and do it”!

I am sure looking transgressors in the eye—especially those who were leading men and women in the community—and calling out their sin wasn’t an easy thing nor a pleasant thing for Ezra to do, but it had to be done.

A mark of a godly leader is one who does the hard good things that must be done.

Ezra doing the hard good thing opened the door for God’s blessing to fall on the people. This is still true for godly leaders today.

My prayer—Lord, strengthen me to “arise and do it” when the hard good things must be done.

This is Part 2 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

#Truth (book review)

Josh McDowell has consistently pursued two things: (1) Teaching people how to find and defend truth, and (2) Equipping students to overcome the challenges they will face. His book #Truth is the perfect convergence of these two pursuits.

#Truth is a 365-day devotional specifically written for teens. Each day’s reading starts off with a statement of truth from the Bible. Then Josh gives insight from his years of study and experience which shines a light on that biblical passage. Each devotional then concludes with a prayer that is designed to help the student settle the illuminated thought in his or her heart.

But for me the real payoff in each day’s devotional is the paragraph that starts off “Truth is….” This is not a man’s opinion. It’s not some touchy-feely sentiment. It’s not even some hard-to-grasp philosophy. It is a real-life, where-the-rubber-meets-the-road application. Each and every day Josh is pouring into students’ lives words of truth to help them see how biblical truth and real life intersect.

Although this book is written to teenagers, I would encourage adults who love teenagers to read it with them. Parents, youth pastors, grandparents, and mentors will all find great material each day to have a meaningful conversation with their teen.

I would highly recommend #Truth as a study guide to stimulate life-impacting conversations.

I am a Barbour Publishing book reviewer.

11 Quotes From “Shade Of His Hand”

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible can be a challenging read for many people. In Shade Of His Hand, Oswald Chambers walks us through this biblical book of wisdom chapter-by-chapter. Shade is a great companion for your personal Bible study time in Ecclesiastes. Check out my full book review by clicking here.

Below are just a few of the many (many!) passages I highlighted in Shade. Some of the longer passages I have already shared in my weekly “Thursdays With Oswald” posts. You can read those by clicking here.

“We always get out of touch with the Bible attitude to things when we come to it with our own conclusions.”

“The intellectual order of life does not take things as it finds them, it makes us shut our eyes to actual facts and try to live only in the ideal world. … Solomon is fearless in facing facts as they are. … It is not a question of living a blind life in the brain away from actuality, not of living in dawns or on mountain tops; but of bringing what you see there straight down to the valley where things are sordid, and living out the vision there.”

“Unless you bank your faith in God, you will not only be wrongly related in practical life and have your heart broken, but you will break other things you touch.”

“Almighty God does not matter to me, He is in the clouds. To be of any use to me, He must come down to the domain in which I live; and I do not live in the clouds but on the earth. The doctrine of the Incarnation is that God did come down into our domain. The Wisdom of God, the Word of God, the exact expression of God, was manifest in the flesh.”

“To serve God in order to gain heaven, is not the teaching of Christianity. Satisfaction cannot be found in gain, but only in a personal relationship to God. … A man is not to serve God for the sake of gain, but to get to the place where the whole of his life is seen as a personal relationship to God.”

“Whenever we put theology or a plan of salvation or any line of explanation before a man’s personal relationship to God, we depart from the Bible line, because religion in the Bible is not faith in the rule of God, but faith in the God Who rules.”

“Sometimes it is cowardly to speak, and sometimes it is cowardly to keep silence. In the Bible the great test of a man’s character is his tongue (see James 1:26). The tongue only came to its right place with in the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ, because He never spoke from His right to Himself. He Who was the Wisdom of God Incarnate, said ‘the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself.’ … We are either too hasty or too slow; either we won’t speak at all, or we speak too much, or we speak in the wrong mood. The thing that makes us speak is the lust to vindicate ourselves.”

“The general history of Christianity is that it has been tried and abandoned because it is found to be difficult; but wherever it has been tried and honorably gone on with, it has never failed.”

“The Christian faith is exhibited by the man who has the spiritual courage to say that that is the God he trusts in, and it takes some moral backbone to do it.” 

“We reap terrific damage to our own characters when we vow and do not perform. … Promises are a way of shirking responsibility.”

“It is appalling to find spiritual people when they come into a crisis taking an ordinary common-sense standpoint as if Jesus Christ had never lived or died.”

More quotes from Shade Of His Hand are coming soon…

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