Scripture and the Church

The Landmark of Self-Denial

By Archibald G. Brown
"Are the churches of the present day composed of men who resolutely place the things of Christ before their own affairs, and willingly deny themselves for the honor of Christ and His cause?"

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 8 of a series. Read Part 7.

Editor's Note: As Archibald Brown continued his sermon on the landmarks of authentic Christianity found in Scripture, he next turned to the imperative of self-denial in the Christian life. He asks the searching question: "Are the churches of the present day composed of men who resolutely place the things of Christ before their own affairs, and willingly deny themselves for the honour of Christ and His cause?" - Paul Elliott

 

There is another landmark of Christian life I wish for a moment to remind you. It is self-denial. The inscription runs thus: "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me" [John 10:37-38]. I fear this landmark is more slighted than any other. The age has become effeminate and self-indulgent, and a religion that makes much sacrifice is hard to be found.

This is not to be wondered at, for it now requires so little courage to profess, that half-hearted ones come within the borders of the church who would never have thought of taking the name of Christian in the early ages. Then it meant something to declare yourself for Christ. Poverty and reproach with probable torture and martyrdom confronted the early professor. This kept the church pure, and frightened from her ranks all save those who were willing to sacrifice and be sacrificed for the truth.

But how is it now? Are the churches of the present day composed of men who resolutely place the things of Christ before their own affairs, and willingly deny themselves for the honour of Christ and His cause? Only one answer can be given - no they are not. Time cannot now be spared, where life-blood was spilt before. A few shillings are now thought as great a sacrifice as a fortune and life in those early days.

Let it be clearly understood that I do not say there are none such in the church at the present time. I rejoice to believe there are as bright and self-denying saints now as in any age; but they are isolated and exceptional cases. The general aspect of the church is self-indulgent to an extreme. The services and worship of the church are to multitudes admirable things, so long as they entail no privation and no loss. I believe, that as a church, we have more spiritual life than most, and yet, on looking round, I can see those who have not been to five prayer meetings in five years. Why not? The real answer is - because there has been no willingness to make any sacrifice in order to come.

Beloved friends, God knows that I say these words in no spirit of bitterness, but of grief, and only that I may be faithful with you. The standard is not mine, but my Lord's. The landmark is not man's, but Christ's. Oh read its inscription over and over again, and pray God to raise you to its height of consecration and self-denial.

Thus have I tried to notice some of the great landmarks of Scripture. Why are many seeking to remove them? I can answer the question in very few words. Their removal is sought because they are galling to pride, and because they demand a higher life and deeper devotion than this age of worldly Christianity is prepared to give.

Next: Why These Landmarks Must Be Left In Place

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