God's Faithful Church versus today's "Cultural Christianity"
1. Missing it
"And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
"So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done." Acts 4:18-21
"...much of what is called Christianity today is not the Christianity of the New Testament; it is distinctly different.... Jesus is not the fountainhead of modern Christianity. He is scarcely thought about. Christian preachers, Sunday School teachers, religious books, all without any apology patronize Jesus Christ and put Him on one side.
"We have to learn that to stand true to Jesus Christ's point of view means ostracism -- the ostracism that was brought on Him. Most of us know nothing whatever about it.
"The modern view looks upon human nature as pathetic; men and women are poor ignorant babes in the wood who have lost themselves. Jesus Christ's view is totally different. He does not look on men and women as babes in the wood, but as sinners who need saving, and the modern mind detests His view.
"Our Lord's teaching is based on something we violently hate, namely His doctrine of sin; we do not believe it unless we have had a radical dealing with God on the line of His teaching.
"Remember that a disciple is committed to much more than belief in Jesus, he is committed to His Lord's view of the world, of men, of God and of sin."
Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional Bible, p. 586
2. The True Church
"Abide in Me, and I in you... for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:3-4
"The Church is a separated band of people who are united to God by the regenerating power of the Spirit, and the bedrock of membership in the [true] Church is that we know who Jesus is by a personal revelation of Him.
The indwelling Spirit is the supreme Guide, and He keeps us absorbed with our Lord. [In contrast] the emphasis today is placed on the furtherance of an organization [not on the will and purpose of our Lord.]
Oswald Chambers, The Best from all His Books, p. 49
3. The Test of Faithfulness
"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God." Romans 8:28
"It is only a faithful person who truly believes that God sovereignly controls his circumstances.We take our circumstances for granted, saying God is in control, but not really believing it. We act as if the things that happen were completely controlled by people. To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty, or object of our faith— the Lord Jesus Christ. God may cause our circumstances to suddenly fall apart, which may bring the realization of our unfaithfulness to Him for not recognizing that He had ordained the situation. We never saw what He was trying to accomplish, and that exact event will never be repeated in our life. This is where the test of our faithfulness comes. If we will just learn to worship God even during the difficult circumstances, He will change them for the better very quickly if He so chooses.
"Being faithful to Jesus Christ is the most difficult thing we try to do today. We will be faithful to our work, to serving others, or to anything else; just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Many Christians become very impatient when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers than by the world. We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.
"The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us. He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to use us as He used His own Son."
My Utmost for His Highest, December 18
4. Finding What Is Important
"But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: 'We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32
"Is Jesus Christ’s mind infallible, or is the modern Western mind infallible?
The tendency abroad today is to think ourselves infallible, and the Bible a jumble up of the most extraordinary stuff, good stuff, but we cannot be expected to accept all its views. That means, we believe ourselves more likely to be infallible than Jesus Christ. We would repudiate this statement if made badly, but we all act as if it were true, we all take for granted that Jesus Christ’s teachings are nonsense; we treat them with respect and reverence, but we do not do anything else with them, we do not carry them out.
"Today we hold conferences and conventions and give reports and make our programs. None of these things were in the life of Jesus, and yet every minute of His life He realized that He was fulfilling the purpose of His Father (see John 9:4).
"How did He do it? By maintaining the one relationship, and it is that one relationship He insists on in His disciples, and it is the one we have lost in the rubbish of modern civilization. If we try and live the life Jesus Christ lived, modern civilization will fling us out like waste material; we are no good, we do not add anything to the hard cash of the times we live in, and the sooner we are flung out the better."
--Oswald Chambers Daily Devotional Bible, p. 596