THE WILDERNESS WANDERER

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“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.” Psalm 107:4

The true Christian finds this world to be a wilderness.

There is no change in the world itself.

The change is in the man’s heart.

The wilderness wanderer thinks it altered—a different world from what he has hitherto known . . .
his friends,
his own family,
the employment in which he is daily engaged,
the general pursuits of men—
their cares and anxieties,
their hopes and prospects,
their amusements and pleasures, and
what I may call ‘the general din and whirl of life’,
all seem to him different to what they were—and for a time perhaps he can scarcely tell whether the change is in them, or in himself.

This however is the prominent and uppermost feeling in his mind—that he finds himself, to his surprise—a wanderer in a world which has changed altogether its appearance to him. The fair, beautiful world, in which was all his happiness and all his home—has become to him a dreary wilderness.

Sin has been fastened in its conviction on his conscience. The Holy Spirit has taken the veil of unbelief and ignorance off his heart. He now sees the world in a wholly different light–and instead of a paradise it has become a wilderness—for sin, dreadful sin, has marred all its beauty and happiness.

It is not because the world itself has changed that the Christian feels it to be a wilderness—but because he himself has changed.

There is nothing in this world which can really gratify or satisfy the true Christian. What once was to him a happy and joyous world has now become a barren wilderness.

The scene of his former . . .
pursuits,
pleasures,
habits,
delights,
prospects,
hopes,
anticipations of profit or happiness—is now turned into a barren wasteland.

He cannot perhaps tell how or why the change has taken place, but he feels it—deeply feels it. He may try to shake off his trouble and be a little cheerful and happy as he was before—but if he gets a little imaginary relief, all his guilty pangs come back upon him with renewed strength and increased violence.

God means to make the world a wilderness to every child of His, that he may not find his happiness in it, but be a stranger and a pilgrim upon earth.

— J C Philpot

THE CULT OF IMITATION

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“The first cult dominating Christianity today is to imitate what we see outside of the Church. This is a characteristic of immaturity, like a little toddler who sees someone do something and tries to imitate it without knowing what it really means. The secular media in America sets the standards for us in the Church. Churches now have “programs” directed by “emcees”. This is directly from the world of entertainment. This sacred cow of the world has been brought into the sanctuary of the living God. The Church naively imitates what it sees in the world without any regard to consequence.

There was a time when the Church set the standard for music. Then the world imitated the Church. Men like Beethoven, Mozart and Handel set the whole world singing, and the focus of their music was the Church. We no longer initiate our music; rather, we pipe in the music of the world around us. Now we go tramping out into the world in order to import into the Church the sounds of the world. We offer this “swine” on the altar of Jehovah. What blasphemy. We have so much more to offer God. Importing the culture around us instead of adoring the nature and character of Christ within us is the sad reality of today’s Christian.

Our literature is no different. If there is a best seller out in the world, you can be sure it will be imitated in the Church eventually. Instead of writing great literature that honors God, the Church and the things of heaven, we are duplicating the dreary, morally questionable literature of the world. It seems to be a trophy to some writers to see how close to the edge they can get and not fall over. I have a news bulletin. They are not in danger of falling over the cliff; they have already fallen and do not know it yet.

The reason for this is that Christianity is greatly misunderstood even by those who claim to be Christians. True Christianity is a mystery, a wonder, something alien and transcendent in this world. The Christianity of the New Testament is incomprehensible to the world. There is absolutely no way to build a bridge between the world’s standards and the Church’s standards.

Some say it is a great honor and a mark of achievement to write a book acceptable both to the world and to the Church. Something is wrong here. I cannot find anything in the Scriptures or even in Church history that in any way suggests compatibility between the world and the Church. The taste of the Church should be infinitely higher and greater than the world’s. What satisfies the Church should in no way satisfy the world. The true Christian has an insatiable appetite for Christ and the things of Christ, while the world has no such appetite.

Christ stands alone, and He does not imitate; neither does He court the world in a lame attempt to win the world. Many evangelical churches are closer to the world than to New Testament standards in almost every regard.”

Exerpt from The Dangers of a Shallow Faith by  A W Tozer

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE WORLD: TRIBULATION AND PERSECUTION

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“Believers in Jesus have not been given the mandate to transform society or to change the world. On the contrary, we are told that we can expect nothing from the world except tribulation and persecution. All attempts by “the Church” to rule the world have been disastrous: Roman Catholicism brought the world the Dark Ages; millions of Jews and non-Catholic Christians were slaughtered in order to force them to conform to the dictates of the papacy. The Church of England persecuted those who refused to bend to its rulership. Calvin in Geneva, Luther in Germany—every attempt to bring society into conformity to one version of the faith or another has succumbed to satanic manipulation. This is because, by the will of the Father, the world (including the realm of religion) is Satan’s domain until Jesus returns.”

— Al Dager

CALLED TO BE A SOLDIER

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“The true Christian is called to be a soldier, and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence, and security. He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to heaven, like one travelling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of this world, he may be content with such notions; but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must ‘fight.’…

 … The principal fight of the Christian is with the world, the flesh, and the devil. These are his never-dying foes. These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war. Unless he gets the victory over these three, all other victories are useless and vain. If he had a nature like an angel, and were not a fallen creature, the warfare would not be so essential. But with a corrupt heart, a busy devil, and an ensnaring world, he must either ‘fight’ or be lost.”

— J.C. Ryle

HAVE YOU ADJUSTED TO THE WORLD?

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” I am convinced that many [who call themselves] evangelicals are not truly and soundly converted. Among the evangelicals it is entirely possible to come into membership, to ooze in by osmosis, to leak through the cells of the church and never know what it means to be born of the Spirit and washed in the blood….

What we need is … a sound conversion….The children of the protesters, children of the Reformation, have been brainwashed and indoctrinated by those who believe that changes have made a difference in God’s plan, a difference in Christianity and difference in Christ. We have been brainwashed to believe that we cannot read the Bible as we used to. We must now read it through glasses colored by change. We have been hypnotized by the serpent, the devil, into believing that we no longer have a trustworthy Bible, so Protestantism is no longer a moral force in the world.

Running our Protestant world are people who talk solemnly about Christ but who do not mean what the Bible means. They talk about revelation and inspiration, but they do not mean what our fathers meant. They accept the belief that there has been change and that Christians must adjust to the change. The word used is adjustment . We must get adjusted, forgetting that the world has always been blessed by the people who were not adjusted….

Jesus was among the most maladjusted people in His generation. He never pretended to adjust to the world. He came to die for the world and to call the world to Himself, and the adjustment had to be on the other side.

— A. W. Tozer