Solid Ground for Faith

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Following a Person or a Belief?

Christ 9C2We must call men, not to loyalty to a belief but loyalty to a Person. We may be loyal to a belief and dead spiritually, but we cannot be loyal to this Person and be other than alive spiritually. He creates belief. He is the great Believer himself, and in the light of his radiant faith we cannot but believe. We do not get Jesus from our beliefs, we get our beliefs from Jesus. And they must of necessity be under constant correction by his mind and spirit.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Christ of the Indian Road

Delighting in Christ

Beautiful-Sunset-Mountain-Wallpapers-3-300x300Anyone can use the word, of course, but without Christ holiness tends to have all the charm of an ingrown toenail. For, very simply, if holiness is not first and foremost about knowing Christ, it will be about self-produced morality and religiosity. But such incurved self-dependence is quite the opposite of what pleases God, or what is actually beautiful.

God is not interested in our manufactured virtue; he does not want any external obedience or morality if it does not flow from true love for him. He wants us to share his pleasure in his Son. What is the greatest commandment, after all? “Love the Lord your God” (Mt 22:36–37). That is the root of true God-likeness. Nothing is more holy than a heartfelt delight in Christ. Nothing is so powerful to transform lives.

–Michael Reeves
Christ Our Life

Squarely in the center

Cleansing temple 7 copyJesus will break our idols, complicate our assumptions, overturn our tables and put himself squarely in the center of every question. He is the way, the truth, the life. He is the answer. He is the one way we think about, know, love, worship and relate to God.

–Michael Spencer
(1956 – 2010)

The Central Issue

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Immediately you lose sight of the central, majestic figure of Jesus Christ, you are swept off your feet by all kinds of doctrine; and when big things hit us we find that our religion does not stand us in good stead; our creed does not agree with Jesus Christ.

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The revelation of the Deity of Christ does not come to a man’s intellect first, but to his heart and life, and he says with amaze-ment, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” The great point of the Bible revelation of God is not only that God was in Christ but that Jesus Christ is God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father,” said Jesus.

If Jesus Christ is not God,
then the only God we have is an
abstraction of our minds.

–Oswald Chambers
(1874-1917)

Looking beyond

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The purpose of the Bible is that you may look through it and see Jesus Christ. Some people stop with the Bible. . . . But I say that the Bible is not a thing to be analyzed, criticized, outlined and examined, just for it’s own sake. That would be just like sitting in a room and writing a book about a window, without seeing the ocean with its waves curling up the beach or the way the lights and clouds play upon the water.

The Bible is not an end in itself
any more than a window
is an end in itself.

The window allows us to see the beauty that lies beyond. The Bible is the way to life in Jesus Christ.

–Donald G. Barnhouse
(1895 – 1960)

Image: David Miller

From Charismania to Christ

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Before I truly understood the Gospel, I needed angels, bizarre miracles, and the spooktacular in order to keep my attention. When one fad grew old, I needed to learn of another. I stayed on the cutting edge of all that was weird and wild in the crazy land of Charismania. I was bored with what I perceived the Gospel to be, and required shiny things to keep me interested. However, upon truly discovering the Glories of Jesus Christ and His perfect work, I instantly outgrew my obsession with the supernatural for the sake of the supernatural. I no longer needed portals, miraculous hankies, or supernatural flows of oil. I’d found the source of all things glorious, and my thirst was quenched.

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Trust me, I have no problem with the supernatural, or with the miraculous. However, I do find it disturbing when we are fascinated with the spooky simply for the sake of being spooky. When the most popular charismatic books have titles like, “How to live in the supernatural flow of Heaven’s supernatural economy while living under an open heaven and to the right of an ancient portal . . . while petting the four living creatures”, we need to be concerned. The supernatural is not an end to itself. Jesus is, however.

If you’re going to be fascinated
with something, don’t let it be
with feathers, gems, angels, or manifestations.
Let it be with Jesus Christ, Himself!

Don’t misread me! I’m for the supernatural. I’ll receive and rejoice in anything of that nature the Father sends my way. However, it is not my focus, and I no longer have an inordinate fascination with such things. When I did, it was simply because there was a vacuum in my life. I didn’t not truly grasp the depth of Christ’s finished work, and most of the time when folks obsess over such things, it’s a symptom of the very same problem. Let Jesus be your obsession. Nothing else.

–Jeff Turner

Looking for a Person

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I do not approach
the Scripture looking
for principles to practice.
I approach the Scriptures
looking for a Person to know,
a Lord to worship, and
a King to yield to.

–Stephen Crosby

What we were made for

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The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ . . . If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose . . . It is the only thing we were made for. And there are strange, exciting hints in the Bible that when we are [fully] drawn in, a great many other things in Nature will begin to come right. The bad dream will be over: it will be morning.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

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A cure for insomnia

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To be perfectly candid, there are few things that are as dull and boring in life as Christianity without the living, breathing, radiant, triumphant Christ. It’s a first-degree snoozer. If you could bottle it, you would have the cure for insomnia.

–Leonard Sweet
–Frank Viola
Jesus Manifesto

Not just a system

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We must not offer people
a system of redemption,
a set of insights and principles.
We offer people a Redeemer.

–Paul David Tripp

The one real issue

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I have come to a fixed conclusion:
the issue is simply Jesus Christ . . .

My message therefore is simply Jesus Christ. He is enough. Of course we are familiar with the fact that Christ is the Christian’s life and message, but we need to familiarize ourselves with the familiar. We assume what we ought to assert. He is the hub, but too many of us are out on our favorite spokes like owls on different limbs.

–Vance Havner
Jesus Only
(emphasis added)

The music behind all things

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The spotlight of heaven and earth
never leaves Christ. He is the melody,
the harmony, the rhythm, the tempo,
and the music behind all things.
The heavens and the earth
sing His song and play His tune.

–Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola
Jesus Manifesto

Messing up the decor

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It’s easy to get attached to idols,
good things inappropriately adored.
But when you have Jesus in the centre of a room,
everything else only junks up the decor.

–Charles Swindoll

Published in: on 03/22/2013 at 5:13  Leave a Comment  
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The conversion that counts

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This is a reason for much
of the powerlessness of the church today;
we have converted men to the church,
to our doctrines, to our projects
and organizations—to almost anything
but Christ Himself.

–Rick Joyner

Faith’s object

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The object of faith
is not the teaching
but the Teacher.

–Søren Kierkegaard
(1813 – 1855)

Finding more than “principles”

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God tried sending His “principles” once. It didn’t work. He then sent a Son, not a book of principles. The book reveals the Son. If we have the principles, and miss the Person, we miss everything that matters.

–Stephen Crosby

Follow Me

Every time the disciples started establishing rules–no children near Jesus; don’t let the crowd touch Jesus; don’t talk to Samaritan women; don’t let people waste expensive perfumes—Jesus told them to knock it off, and his rebuke was usually followed by a lecture that said, “You still don’t get it! We’re not substituting religious rules with our rules. We are substituting religious rules with Me!” Jesus kept saying “Follow Me,” not “follow My rules.” So most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus.

–Mike Yaconelli 

Jesus

If I am to know God, I will know Him through Jesus.
If I am to gain knowledge, it is deposited in Jesus.
If I am to have wisdom, I will find it in Jesus.
If God dwells in me, it is because Jesus dwells in me.
If I wish to study God, I must study Jesus.
If the Holy Spirit is active in my life,
I will hear Him speak of Jesus.

–Gayle D. Erwin

He is the story

Christ is not a character in the Bible. He is not chapter 23-25 in a 30 chapter novel. He is the story. He is the novel. He is the only character we need to know. The entire book is about introducing him to us in pictures and language we can understand.

–Michael Spencer

It’s About Him

Since Paul’s day so very much of Christian activity has been the furthering of a movement, the propagating of a teaching, the furthering of the interests of an institution. It is not a movement, nor to establish a movement in the earth and to get followers, adherents, members, support. It is not an institution . . . It is not a testimony, if by that you mean a specific form of teaching, a systematized doctrine . . . It is not a denomination, and it is not an “undenomination,” and it is not an “interdenomination”. It is not Christianity. It is not “the work”  . . . It is not a mission. It is Christ. “… that I might preach HIM.” If that had remained central and pre-eminent all these horrible disintegrating jealousies would never have had a chance. All the wretched mess that exists in the organization of Christianity today would never have come about. It is because something specific in itself, either a movement, a mission, a teaching, a testimony, a fellowship, has taken the place of Christ.

–T. Austin-Sparks

Getting back to centre

The Jerusalem leaders came near smothering the gospel in the beginning. It was Paul who loosed it from its Jewish fetters. He dared follow the living Christ into the heart of paganism. He came back and told what God had wrought. The Jerusalem leaders were forced into liberality by the facts produced, but when they drew up some of the things considered essential for Christians among the Gentiles we find among essentials: “to abstain from things strangled from blood.” Binding up the gospel of Christ with that! Of course it dropped away, for the gospel was at grips with bigger issues. It may be that to future Christians some of the things that we consider essential in our systems will seem just as absurd as this does to us…

Plagues are said to come upon thise who add to or substract from the book of Revelation. The things that have plagued Christendom in the past are the things that we ave added to the gospel and the things that we have taken from it. The plagues of controversy and division and weakness will be largely lifted when we get back to the centre—Christ.

-E. Stanley Jones

Rethinking everything

For me, everything we thought we knew, from our doctrine of God to our notions of salvation, from election to eschatology, from heaven and hell to repentance and faith have to be rethought in the light of Jesus’ identity. Jesus is the light of the world. It seems to me that the Christian community is called to believe in Jesus and that means to stop believing in ourselves and our own notions of God, life, and history. If we err, we are to err on the side of making too much of Christ and his place in the whole of creation–which, of course, is impossible.

-C. Baxter Kruger

The right focus

When we are concentrated upon the primary purposes of God the secondary purposes will then serve the one.

If our eye is single, on Him, then the whole body will be full of light.

If our eye is not single but divided into the many secondary purposes, it will become darkness instead of light. Even though they may be truths they will still deceive us; they will become distorted and extreme if our focus is not on the Lord Himself.

–Rick Joyner

Christ changes everything

He walked into time and quickly divided it into before and after—B.C. and A.D. He walked into the realm of thought and altered all our conceptions about God and life and destiny. He walked into our moral conceptions and codes, and now we are good or bad according to whether we embody His spirit or not. He walked into our sundered relations with God and healed them by His cross. He walked into the chaos of human relationships and projected a Kingdom which is destined to gather all our chaos into cosmos, to be the goal and the end of human history.

-E. Stanley Jones

He alone is the Truth

. . . at every point in our theological inquiry we have to let our knowledge, our theology, our formulations, our statements, be called into question by the very Christ toward whom they point, for He alone is the Truth…

Out of sheer respect for the majesty of the Truth as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, we have to do our utmost to speak correctly and exactly about it—that is the meaning of orthodoxy and the way of humility—but when we have done all this, we have still to confess that we are unfaithful servants, that all our efforts fall far short of the truth.

Far from seeking justification on the ground of our “orthodoxy,” we can only serve the Truth faithfully if we point away from ourselves and our statements to Christ Himself, and direct all eyes to Him alone. He who boasts of orthodoxy thus sins against Justification by Christ alone, for he justifies himself by appeal to his own beliefs or his own formulations of belief and thereby does despite to the Truth and Grace of Christ.

Once a Church begins
to boast of its “orthodoxy”
it begins to fall from Grace.

–Thomas F. Torrance

Back to Center

A soul finds itself only as it finds itself in Christ. Here it lives. A great fly wheel in a factory revolves with tremendous speed and power and yet with perfect silence. Why? It is adjusted, it has found its centre. But take it off its centre and make it ec-centric, it then shakes itself and the building to pieces. It has become a thing of destruction instead of construction.

Life in Christ has found its center,
and it silently sings to the music
of its found rhythm.

But take life out of Christ and it becomes ec-centric, inwardly full of friction and outwardly full of clash.

–E. Stanley Jones

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