He lived poor and died poor

“Jesus replied—Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20

Jesus does not say, Kings have palaces—but I have none. Nor does He say that rich men have houses and lands and mansions to entertain their followers—but I have none; but, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but I have no place to lay My head.”

Your outward condition is not worse than Christ’s was, when He was in the world. Christ’s condition was low, yes, very low and humble in this world. He was born in a stable, lived on the charity of others, and did not have enough money to pay His taxes. The great Architect of the world had no place to lay His head—but emptied Himself of all, and became poor to make us rich, not in goods—but in grace; not in worldly wealth—but in the treasures of the eternal world. He lived poor and died poor.

Are you houseless, are you penniless, are you poor, and low, and base in this world? So was Christ! Remember “the servant is not greater than his Lord!”

It is unfitting to see the Head all begored with blood and crowned with thorns—and the members to be decked with roses and jewels, and to smell of rich spices, and perfumes!

Are you in a worse condition than Christ was, in this world? Oh no, no! Why then do you murmur and complain? Why do you say there is no sorrow like your sorrow, nor any suffering compared to your suffering? O sirs! it is honor enough for the disciples of Christ to fare as Christ fared in this world. Why should the servant be in a better condition than His Lord? Did you but seriously and frequently meditate and ponder upon the poverty and low estate of Christ while He was in this world, your hearts would be more calm and quiet under all their crosses and losses!

Thomas Brooks, London’s Lamentations, 1670

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Religious entertainment!

A great company of evangelical churches have already gone over into the area of religious entertainment, so that many churches are tramping on the doorstep of the theater!

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us:
shallow lives,
hollow religious philosophies,
the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings,
the glorification of men,
trust in religious externalities,
quasi-religious fellowships,
salesmanship methods,
the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit.

These and such as these, are the symptoms of an evil disease–a deep and serious malady of the soul.

Religious entertainment has so corrupted the Church, that millions don’t know that it’s a heresy. Millions of evangelicals throughout the world have devoted themselves to religious entertainment. They don’t know that it’s as much heresy, as the “counting of beads” or the “splashing of holy water” or something else. To expose this, of course, raises a storm of angry protest among the people.

Isn’t there a difference between worship and entertainment?

The church that can’t worship, must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship, must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today–the heresy of religious entertainment!

– A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963

Amusements or Worship?

Religion, if you please, is now big business. A countless number of amusements flourish everywhere, paid for by the consecrated tithes of people who ought to know better.

Christianity has seen a steady rise of religious entertainment as a source of mental pleasure. God’s people have turned to the amusements of the world to try to squeeze a bit of juice out of them for the relief of their dry and joyless hearts.

I want to tell you something. If I want to see a show–I know where I can see a good one put on by top flight actors who know what they are doing. If I want a show–I’ll go down to a theater and see a show hot out of Hollywood by men and women who are artists in their field. I will not go to a church and see a lot of ham actors putting on a home talent show. And yet, that’s where we are in evangelical circles. We’ve got more show in evangelical circles than anywhere else. I would not give a plug nickel for the whole business of it!

The church is not a religious theater to provide a place for amateur entertainers to display their talents.

– A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963

God’s professed children are bored with Him

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42 

Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun–carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints! 

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him–for they must be wooed to meetings with a stick of striped candy, in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf. So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed–and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking, that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles!

A church fed on worldly excitement is no New Testament church at all. The desire for surface stimulation is a sure mark of the fallen nature–the very thing Christ died to deliver us from. A curious crowd of baptized worldlings waiting each Sunday for the quasi-religious stimulant to give them a lift–bears no relation whatever to a true assembly of Christian believers. And that its members protest their undying faith in the Bible, does not change anything.

– A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963

It is He that withers our gourds and breaks our cisterns!

And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. – Jonah 4:6-7

How poor and unsatisfying are all things here below–even the best and the loveliest! Oh, to walk more intimately with Him, to live above the world, and hold the creature with a looser hand–taking God’s Word as our guiding light and our unfailing spring of comfort!

God has eternally provided such a magnificent and holy Heaven for us above, that He is jealous lest we should set our hearts too fondly and closely upon the attractions of earth. Therefore it is that He withers our gourds and breaks our cisterns–only to dislodge us here, and lead us to seek those things which are above, where Christ our treasure is.

Let us keep our eye and our hearts upon our blessed eternal home. Earth is but a stage erected as our passage to the glorious place which Jesus has gone to prepare for us. What a place must that be, which infinite power and love has engaged to provide! Oh, let us not lose sight of Heaven for a moment.

How prone are we to allow our minds and hearts (treacherous hearts!) to become entangled with the baubles of this dying world. No wonder Christ exhorted us to watch and pray. Heaven is our home–our happy home. We are but strangers and pilgrims here on earth. Try and realize it. Let us keep ourselves ready to enter with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In a little while we shall see Him–not as the “Man of sorrows”–but the “King in His beauty!” Then let us fight against this poor world and all its false attractions, for it is passing away.

Dearest Jesus! help your pilgrims to live more like pilgrims, above a poor dying world, and more in full view of the glory that awaits them when they shall see You face to face!

– Mary Winslow, 1774-1854

Published in: on August 2, 2016 at 11:59 pm  Leave a Comment