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By T. Austin Sparks

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Constrained by Love       * Feature Article *
Through the question of a cold religious Pharisee, came forth an answer from our Lord so profound as to separate all religious activity from true fellowship with God. "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" To this deep "theological question" Jesus gives this simple answer, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."  (Matthew 22:36-37)

Knowledge
Scripture has much to say about knowledge, both profitable knowledge, "...put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:"  Colossians 3:10,  and unprofitable knowledge, "Having a form of godliness... Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"  II Timothy 3:5 & 7.

Standing in the Light
The Church today lacks the discipline, the obedience, the faith and the commitment to stand in that heavenly Light. Even more than this, she lacks a reverential fear and a holy love for God. The Light is the presence of God, His Shekinah glory. All must be right with God to stand in His glorious Light.

What Difference Can One Person Make?
I once heard a preacher say, "Don't curse the darkness, light a candle!"   "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."   Matthew 5:16

Unbelief in the Presence of God
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." The unpardonable sin of unbelief. And how could it be pardoned, for the scripture says, "without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is..."

Where No Oxen Are
Albert Barnes noted "Labor has its rough, unpleasant side, yet it ends in profit. So also, the life of contemplation may seem purer, ‘cleaner’ than that of action. The outer business of the world brings its cares and disturbances, but also ‘much increase.’ There will be a sure reward of that activity in good works for him who goes, as with "the strength of the ox," to the task to which God calls him."

The Heart of Christianity
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12  Few scripture reveal the true power of God's Word like this. So powerful is His Word, that it divides the soulish man from the spiritual. With a Word from God, the joints are separated from the marrow, and by a mere whisper, God reveals the thoughts and intents of mans heart.

"I Was In Prison..."
One of the greatest mission fields yet to be fully evangelized is our Nation's prison population. With nearly eight million souls incarcerated across the country, the real crime is that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ as a whole has failed in her Commission to bring the message of Life and Hope to a generation of lost souls behind bars.

Taking the Name of the LORD in Vain
I believe the third commandment to be the most misunderstood of the ten given to Moses upon Sinai. I've heard everything from, "don't use God's name when you cuss", to "be reverent in God's house", to "don't make foolish vows". While these things are all true, there is a far greater truth to this commandment.

The Church, the Body of Christ
"He is the head of the body, the church..."   Colossians 1:18     "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."   I Peter 2:5

To This Man Will I Look
"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."   Isaiah 66:1-2

Once Saved Always Saved... Really?
"Once saved always saved" is more keenly given the name "Perseverance of the sinner" instead of "the saint". For it teaches that man can be saved by Christ and then sin habitually, do whatever he wants, and then still "persevere to the end". Perseverance of the saints does not teach this.

For the Letter Killeth
The Church has become dangerously shallow in spiritual matters. That is to say, there is little to no spiritual depth to most professing Christians. For most of those who still read their Bibles, it is usually nothing more than black ink on white pages, or at best, the letter of the law. Few actually take the time to meditate on the Spirit of the Word.

Redemption Through His Blood
There is but one bearer between man and God, this bearer is vast, deep and terrible beyond description. Man can never cross this bearer, he cannot maneuver around it, he cannot scale it, and he can never remove it. So great is this bearer that man is utterly without hope on his own. This great bearer is called sin!

To Whom Shall We Go?
"Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." John 6:67-69

A Good Foundation Against the Time to Come
"Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." I Timothy 6:19   Without this sure Foundation, which is Christ, we will never make it through the times to come.

The Greater Plan of God
"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son"   Romans 8:28-29

Do We Acknowledge the Almighty?
"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."   Proverbs 3:6   Those that put themselves under a divine guidance shall always have the benefit of it. God will give them that wisdom which is profitable to direct, so that they shall not turn aside into the by-paths of sin, and then will himself so wisely order the event that it shall be to their mind, or for their good.

The Double Minded Man
John Bunyan gave this man the name, "Mr. Facing-both-ways" in his classic book Pilgrim's Progress. This man is incapable of commitment because he torn between two worlds. He desires the promises of heaven, but too in love with the world to bear his cross. Jesus said, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."

They Say, and Do Not
"The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."  (Matthew 23:1-7)   Good doctrine is not the worse for being taught by bad men; nor are good works to be slighted and neglected, because they are not done by all that teach them; but it must be owned that examples are very useful.

Carry Forth the Filthiness Out of the Holy Place
"And (Hezekiah) said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place."  The Church has come to a dangerous place, she is content, some even believe she is in revival, herein lies the real danger. The devil has deceived the Church into believing all is well, she has been lulled into a false peace and security.

The Voice of Our Actions
Men have learned to cloke their words carefully to cover their motives, even use smooth Christian vernacular. But our subtle actions speak volumes of what our mouth will guard. The tree will certainly be known by its fruit. You can shroud your character with words of love and compassion, but do your actions speak the same thing?

Genuine Christian Love For One Another
Christian love, the very foundation of Christian motive. The phrase however, has blended into the common Christian language and has all but lost its scriptural meaning. In I Corinthians chapter 13, we find the biblical definition of Love, but it's John who fine tunes the real meaning of what Christian love is. "whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected." 1 John 2:5

Our Great Shame
The shame of this generation is a want for the of knowledge of God. The scripture warns, "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." (1 Corinthians 15:34) Ungodly men stand behind pulpits around the world and proclaim lies, these are they who have taken away the key of knowledge, not entering in themselves, they hinder those who would.

The Preeminence of Christ
"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."   (Colossians 1:16-18)

Hypocritical Oath
"I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation."   Psalms 40:8-10

Vailing the Glory
"And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face."   Exodus 34:30,33" 

Nature of the Flesh
Look past the cosmetics of the modern church and you will find the works of the flesh. Kind after its kind, carnel preachers reproducing carnel christians, ultimately reverting back to their true nature. Paul said they have, "...a form of godliness... Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"  (2 Timothy 3:5&7). They cannot find truth for the same reason a thief cannot find a police officer, they both prefer the darkness.

Running for Dinner or for Life
I believe with all my heart that the true Church of the Lord Jesus is about to enter a time that she will run for her life or die. There is only a remnant left of what Jesus had intended for His church to be. In Luke 18:8, Jesus asked a very pointed question, "...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

Astonishing Odds
"But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."  Matthew 26:56  I love triva facts, and am always overwhelmed by the odds calculated for a single man in history to fulfill all the prophecies concerning the Messiah. These kind of facts are intended to persuade men, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;"  2 Corinthians 5:11,  but they also help to establish sound faith in the Saint.

Christ is in You... YOUR Only Hope
Paul sums it up in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" We christians must examine ourselves thoroughly by the Word of God and be assured that Christ is in us. The alternative is a reprobate. Most of the Church world today goes about her buisness of religion while Christ himself has no part in it.

God Bless America, But Don't You Dare Tell Us To Repent!
I recieved the following open-letter from a friend. It stirred me so that I felt I should share it. The letter written by James White, was apparently written shortly after the 9-11 attack. He deals honestly with the condition of the church of of this nation. I strongly encourage you to read it through.

The Search For Reality
Being real! Now that is the bottom line of the christian faith. Sadly to say though, much of christianity does not have real faith, so they substitute truth with a "reality" they can grasp and manipulate. Though many of these men may believe they are doing the work of God, in truth, are only using God as a means to their own ends.

Insider Language that Excludes Non-Christian's
I recently ran across an article dealing with "christian jargon". It claims that the church can no longer effectively reach the unsaved with its Insider Language. It would seem that the new age church has been caught up in the "politically correct" movement.


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"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."