23 February 2012

Are We Christians? Or Are We Worldlings?

Are we Christians? Or are we worldlings? Where is the self-denial of the New Testament days? Where is the separation from a self-pleasing luxurious world? Where is the cross, the true badge of discipleship, to be seen--except in useless religious ornaments for the body, or worse than useless decorations for the sanctuary?
"Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!" Is not this the description of multitudes who name the name of Christ? They may not always be "living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry." But even where these are absent, there is 'high living'--luxury of the table or the wardrobe-- in conformity to 'this present evil world.' 'At ease in Zion!' Yes! there is the shrinking . . .   from hard service;   from 'spending and being spent;'   from toil and burden-bearing and conflict;   from self-sacrifice and noble adventure, for the Master's sake. There is conformity to the world, instead of conformity to Christ! There is a laying down, instead of a taking up of the cross. Or there is a lining of the cross with velvet, lest it should gall our shoulders as we carry it! Or there is an adorning of the cross, that it may suite the taste and the manners of our refined and intellectual age. Anything but the bare, rugged and simple cross! We think that we can make the strait gate wider, and the narrow way broader, so as to be able to walk more comfortably to the heavenly kingdom. We try to prove that 'modern enlightenment' has so elevated the race, that there is no longer the battle or the burden or the discipline; or has so refined 'the world and its pleasures', that we may safely drink the poisoned cup, and give ourselves up to the inebriation of the Siren song.
'At ease in Zion!' Even when the walls of our city are besieged, and the citadel is being stormed! Instead of grasping our weapons, we lie down upon our couches! Instead of the armor, we put on the silken robe! We are cowards, when we should be brave! We are faint-hearted, when we should be bold! We are lukewarm, when we should be fervent! We are cold, when we should be full of zeal! We compromise and shuffle and apologize, when we should lift up our voice like a trumpet! We pare down truth, or palliate error, or extenuate sin--in order to placate the world, or suit the spirit of the age, or 'unify' the Church.
Learn self-denying Christianity. Not the form or name, but the living thing. Let us renounce the lazy, luxurious, self-pleasing, fashionable religion of the present day! A self-indulgent religion has nothing in common with the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; or with that cross of ours which He has commanded us to take up and carry after Him--renouncing ease and denying self.
- Horatius Bonar, "Self-Denial Christianity"

3 comments:

  1. Thanks, EBenz, for posting this. Although I know it on some level, it is not front and center in my day to day life. And never reinforced at my church. I aim to print this off and carry it around with me as a good reminder when the visible church all around me is telling me otherwise.

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  2. Great sermon and timeless message that speaks so clearly right now. If it was bad then my goodness how much worse is it now?

    Many of us Christians are so wimpy> I think of the Christians in China and how they need to evangelize the USA now. We've had it so good material wise and with freedom to worship here, we don't "need" God as we should. Don't get me wrong nothing inherently wrong with material possessions as God is the giver of every good pleasing and perfect gift. It's all God's grace because we live where we live, have what we have and are who we are. But, our material riches have brought about shallow Christians who don't "need" God and actually become quite arrogant in stealing from God the glory and honor due his name when we think we somehow we did it and are just are so self sufficient..


    When Gas goes way up (because of Iran threatening to choke off the straits of Hormuz) and everything follows suit, only those of us who are placing our full trust and hope in the Lord as our provider will stand strong...

    Many pastors don't speak OUT the clarion call against false teachings and teachers because they are too comfortable in this world and don't wanna jeopardize their little castle on earth...

    We all including myself need to repent of such worldliness and cling onto setting our affections on things above..

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