Elijah repaired the altar of God that was broken down. There never was a revival that did not begin the rebuilding of broken altars of consecration, of family altars, of altars of praise and testimony. Stained glass windows, robed choirs, eloquence in the pulpit, and elegance in the pew have never deceived God. He demands truth in the inward parts, and heaven will keep silent until we approach Him with rebuilt altars.
There must be sacrifice on those altars—not a sacrifice for sin, for that has been offered once for all.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17). How little of that do we see in our dry-eyed churches!
Present your bodies a living sacrifice (see Rom. 12:1). The Macedonians first gave themselves unto the Lord. A little boy had no money to give to church, but he wrote upon a slip of paper, "I give myself" and put that on the plate. And that was the biggest gift that morning!
Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies
And help me to make a complete sacrifice;
I give up myself and whatever I know;
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name" (Heb. 13:15). We try to work up that sacrifice by artificial means; song leaders sweat and plead trying to bring out a song that is not there.
You cannot change the order of penitence, person, praise. When God's people repent and give themselves to God they will have a song. It will be spontaneous, for what is down in the well will come up in the bucket.
[Jesus] made Himself known only to His own, and if others are to hear about Him today you and I must tell them.
Let us not forget that our message is Christ Himself. We try to match the world's wit and cleverness. We try to meet it on its own ground and amuse it and entertain it. We give it a glorified hash, a religious mulligan stew of ethics and psychology and philosophy. We forget that what we have that the world doesn't have is Jesus. There is no point in trying to meet it with something it already has. We are ministers, not mimics; apostles, not apes. We are to let our light shine, and that light is Christ. It is a glow, not a glare; and we do not shine it, we let it shine.
"Go tell the disciples; go tell Peter; go tell the world." And tell them about Jesus, dead, risen, and alive forevermore!
VHDT, 41, 44-45
The prophet Jeremiah exhorts us: "...Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls..." (Jer. 6:16).
This is the day of the bypass. Great freeways skirt the edges of town after town, detour here and circumvent there. In this madhouse of traffic congestion when we are safer on a battlefield than on a highway, the bypass is a necessity. But there are some bypasses that belong to another category.
We are bypassing sin. We have given it new names: immaturity, arrested development, biological growing pains. We call weakness what God calls wickedness. We are sick but not sinful. Alcoholism is only a disease (the only one I know of on which we spend millions of dollars a year to spread!). A liar is only an extrovert with a lively imagination. Adultery is not a sin in Hollywood. A murderer is only a victim of a traumatic experience. Illegitimacy is now respectable and is subsidized by the welfare state.
We are calling people to dedication that leaves sin untouched. We would have Isaiah say "Here am I," before he has ever said, "Woe is me!" We would tell sick men simply to go out and act like well men, overlooking their disease.
You cannot be a channel of blessing
If your life is not free from known sin.
After Israel was defeated at Ai, Joshua might have said, "We have suffered a little setback but let us regroup, throw our shoulders back and try again." But God said, "Israel hath sinned."
The devil hates the cross and ever since Jesus came, the strategy of Satan has been to detour around Calvary. In the third temptation, he offered the kingdoms of this world to the Saviour, but our Lord would not take a shortcut. He would go the way of the cross and get the kingdoms of the world as promised by His Father.
Any doctrine as prominent in the New Testament as this cannot be disregarded completely. Years ago Dr. Hinson of Portland preached a great sermon one Sunday on the Second Coming. Some students spoke to him after the service and one said, "We just can't get this out of the New Testament the way you preached it today." "Of course not," replied the great preacher, "it's in there to stay!"
We bypass the Lord's return because the belief that He may come at any time, and that God is not converting the world but taking out a people for His name, does not fit our grandiose plans for building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth...It is about time we got around to God's program, not of Christianizing society but of evangelizing the world, taking out a remnant from a doomed civilization.
It is the day of the bypass. It will be a great day for the church when we get off our detours and onto the King's Highway!
—Vance Havner Notebook, The