|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part 7 of a series. Read Part 6.
Editor's Note: As Archibald Brown continued his sermon on the landmarks of authentic Christianity found in Scripture, he next turned from essentials of doctrine to essentials of the Christian life. Never as in our time have his words been so vital: "Laxity in doctrine is certain to result in laxity of life." We see this all around us in the church today, when the call to unbelievers is to repentance and Christ-likeness but "Come As You Are, Stay As You Are." - Paul Elliott
Let us now turn to the landmarks of Christian life. Laxity in doctrine is certain to result in laxity of life. It has done so in the present day. I state, without any fear of refutation. that the religious life of the professing church, taken as a whole, is at a miserably low ebb. The old standard has been lowered to enable modern dwarfs to pass muster. Anything like a life of "dead to the world" is laughed at as "narrow-minded - bigoted - canting [i.e., hypocritically pious]."
If Paul was to rise from the dead and be introduced to many of the members of our churches, he would be marvelously surprised to see the practical commentary given to his epistles. He would find that being "crucified to the world," and having the "world crucified" to us, means something very different now to what it did when he penned the words [Galatians 6:14]. He would be told that the old hard and fast lines had been obliterated as an insult to the intelligence of the age, and that going "to meet" the world was a modern improvement on coming out of it [2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1].
Let us however turn to the Word and Testimony, and see what are the landmarks deciding our nonconformity to the world. You will find the first in John, the seventeenth chapter, from the fourteenth verse, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world."
Look at John, the first epistle, second chapter, fifteenth verse, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Turn to Romans six and three, "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
In these verses you have the old landmarks of Christian life. How do we stand in relation to them? Where are the "Christs" in our churches? I use this expression with reverence, and I believe in accordance with Scripture. Where are the men of whom Jesus could say they are not of the world even as I am not of the world? Where the anointed ones only caring for the world in order to reclaim it? Where are the Christly ones living separated lives from the world's joys, but weeping over the world's sins? Where are the men, who like Christ, are living "without the camp"? Thank God there are many, but they are almost lost to view in the masses of the semi-worldly professors.
Where are our "dead men" - men who care no more for the world's maxims and pleasures than a corpse, but are daily living a resurrection life with Christ? There are such, but would to God they were multiplied a thousand fold. How would our churches be decimated if all those who evince a love to the world were excluded as wanting the love of the Father. Brethren, let us not seek to lower the standard because we fail to reach its height, but rather let us cry unto the Lord mightily to make us the type of Christian described upon these landmarks.
It is time to shout in the ears of the church, "Back, back to primitive nonconformity, ye have forsaken the old paths! We want to see this nonconformity displayed in spirit and conversation, for should it bring the sneer of "psalm-singing saint," it would be an evidence we were living in the atmosphere recommended by Paul: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" [Colossians 3:16].
We want to see it in integrity of life. Refusing to stoop to the world's paltry tricks of the trade. We want even to see it in the very dress of the Christian. I know that here I am treading upon delicate ground, but bear with me, sisters in Christ, when I say, that although recommending no distinguishing garb as [did] the followers of George Fox [English dissenter and founder of the Quakers], I yet believe that there should be the manifestation of a sanctified spirit in the neatness and simplicity of your attire. To Christian young men I say the same.
Next: The Landmark of Self-Denial
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