A retired Nazarene preacher called me and wanted to donate his personal library of 9 big boxes of books. How could I say no?
So this week I picked up two of those hundreds of books. Bang! They shook my soul. Here are some quotes from: Let The Church Be The Church by Raymond C. Ortlund (1983) and Revival by Martin Lloyd-Jones (1959).
Raymond C. Ortlund wrote:
“Has your church become part of ‘the church’ (ekklesia) — or did it just steal the label? When the church truly becomes the church it starts fulfilling God’s original intentions for it.”
“Together as a congregation we had a week of ‘waiting on God.’ There were no programs, no plans made. We simply cancelled everything, ground all the machinery to a halt, and gathered each evening for a week to sit before the Lord and see what He would say to us. Maybe Quakers know a lot about this, but I tell you, for us activist Congregationalists, this was a new thing. We looked up into His face. We waited on Him. Sometimes we were moved to sing, or pray, or confess, or testify. Sometimes we just sat. But that week we became quiet enough to see a lot of things more clearly–especially the Lord.”
“After Christ’s ascension, the believers did not preach. During the ten days they were together not one person was healed, not one lesson was taught, not one sermon was preached. They had something else to do; to wait on God, to sit quietly until they had His empowering, His direction.”
“If the church is centered on anything, anyone, any doctrine, any project–anything but Christ–it is off balance, off center.”
“Traditions of the past, tenaciously clung to , can bind us with chains and drag us downward and away from the fresh firstness of Christ.”
“The God-centered church must be willing to put all its activities on trail before the judgment seat of the Lord.”
“The pattern in the New Testament is for the loving family of believers to disciple each other. They must move into each other’s lives, in honor prefer one another, edify one another, admonish and instruct one another, greet one another with a holy kiss, care for one another, serve one another, be honest with one another, comfort one another, and James adds, ‘confess (their) sins to each other.'”
“‘Big’ Christians (by ‘big’ Christians I mean those who have big responsibilities and are looked up to) tend to operate in the body at the advisory level. In that way they’re saying ‘I don’t need you, but you very much need me.’ Pastors and other Christian leaders can easily fall into the trap of functioning by always teaching other Christians what to do. Keep your relationships in the body two-way. Let others minister to you. Be willing to be ministered to.”
Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote:
“The church is so constituted that every member matters, and matters in a very vital sense. There is a curious tendency today, for members of the Christian Church to feel and to think that they themselves can do very little, and so they tend to look to others to do all that is needed for them . . . Now that, of course, is a complete denial of the New Testament doctrine of the church as the body of Christ, where every single member has responsibility.”
“Is it not obvious to all of us, that the church is patently failing?”
“What so many are disputing and denying and ignoring is what I would call the immediate and direct action of the Holy Spirit. They say that the Spirit only works through the word, and that we must not expect anything from the Spirit apart from that which comes immediately through the word. And so, it seems to me, they are quenching the Spirit, because I read in Acts 13 that the Holy Ghost said unto the church at Antioch, ‘Separate me Barnabas and Saul . . .’ And I read in chapter 15 that the council in Jerusalem said, ‘It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us . . .'”
“The living, powerful activity of the Spirit; the Spirit coming directly, as it were, and controlling, and leading, and guiding, and giving orders, and indicating what was to be done; the Spirit descending upon them; that is what you always have in revival. But that is the thing that seems to have gone entirely out of the minds of men and women.”
“We must not grieve the Spirit, we must not quench the Spirit, we must give obeience to the Spirit. An as long as we do that, we shall go on being filled with the Spirit . . . the Spirit being poured out upon us until we are filled to overflowing.”
“The church has been trying to attract people to herself, putting on popular programs, dramas, music, this, that, and the other, trying to entice the people, especially the young people, but they do not come. Of course not. They never will until they know the name of the Lord, and . . . they will never know it until they see a manifestation of it, and, so we pray; descend, come down, rend the heavens that these adversaries may know Your name. Nothing will make them listen but that. We have tried everything else, have we not?
“Shame on us for our puny prayers, for putting our limits to God’s illimitable power!”
“God’s displeasure is upon the church because of her sin, because of her apostasy and her rebellion, but if she truly repents and really seeks Him, He will yet meet with her.”
–These amazing quotes strongly confirm what is written in my new book Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia available on Amazon at this link.