Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Defects in the Christian Character - Part 2

(Listed below is an outline taken from a preacher's (Cornelius Tyree) article in a publication written in 1859 regarding his concern about the defects he discerned within professing Christians of his day - I wonder what he would think of today's Christians???)

The prevalent DEFECTS in the Christian character—and how these defects operate against the spread of the Gospel;

1. We say in general, that the common type of Christian character is greatly lacking in PERSONAL HOLINESS.
2. Another prevalent and hurtful defect in the Christian character of this day is FICKLENESS.
3. Another defect in the religion of most professors is that they make PIETY SECONDARY to the interests of time and sense.
4. A lack of LOVE is another defect in the mass of Christians. Jesus Christ was an incarnation of love. Love to man, however dimmed and down-trodden, was the great passion that animated and impelled Him. The same undying compassion for the unsaved, was, in a great measure, possessed and manifested by the apostles. What intense, world-wide compassion still lives in their sermons, prayers, and epistles! They moved the world because they wore as a frontlet on their brow—the compassion of the cross. This is the religion that Christ and His apostles taught and exemplified, and the religion that the Scriptures record and require of all who would make good their claim to the Christian's name. But how distressingly unlike Christ and the primitive saints, in this particular, are the professors of this day! How unbrotherly toward each other, and how selfish, cold, and repelling, toward mankind around them! What bitterness between those who have one common Savior! What uncharitableness in their mutual bearing toward each other in the ministry! What petty quarrels and alienations between professors! What feud, strife and evil speaking in the churches! How unkind member toward member! The type of religion, then, that we need, must combine and display a due proportion of warmth as well as light. All Christians who have made their mark on the world, have had compassionate hearts and affectionate manners. The great need in the ministry is not more learning, nor polish, nor acquirements—but a deeper and intenser love for souls, to vitalize their matter and manner. In sum to Christians in all relations, love is indispensable in order to convert sinners from the error of their way.
5. Another palpable defect in the present type of Christian character, is the lack of a CALM, SATISFIED, CHEERFUL SPIRIT. The religion of Christ is a joyful religion. The gospel is glad tidings of great joy. Christianity is the most blissful theme in the universe. It did not create sin, woe, and death. Its mission is to remove these evils, and fill earth with gladness, and heaven with shouts of transport. It banishes unhappiness by removing its cause; and then awakens in the soul a positive, pure, ever-augmenting happiness. In whatever state the early saints were—they were content. In everything they gave thanks. If sorrowful, they were always rejoicing. They were cheerful in the house of their pilgrimage. They charmed the ear of a godless world by their songs of joy, as they walked on to the grave. But how have modern Christians deteriorated in this respect! "Some professors have long and demure faces, and are always sighing and groaning as if they were at a funeral." Others practically declare that their religion is not satisfactory—by going to the world for pleasures. They seem less calm and cheerful in the service of Him whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light—than they did while in bondage to sin and Satan. Now such Christians greatly misrepresent their religion, and hinder the world's conversion. It is high time, then, that such mistaken views of heaven-born Christianity should be corrected. We owe it to deathless souls around us to be satisfied and cheerful Christians. Christian brother, repent of your past sadness, and the harm you have thereby done—and cheer up! For you, death has been abolished, hell conquered, and heaven purchased. For your good, God has pledged that all things shall work together. No, Christian brother! by your unhappiness you are wronging your Savior, your religion, yourself, and the world. Only just come up to your duty and high privilege, and make full proof of the blissful power of the gospel, and you will do more to spread our Lord's empire than all our books and sermons can do!
6. Another marked defect in the majority of Christians of this age, is their lack of HUMILITY. How fully and urgently do the Scriptures inculcate this virtue as an essential part of the religion of Christ! And then how strikingly was this grace displayed in our Model and Redeemer. He voluntarily chose the humblest life, the humblest associates, the humblest food, the humblest dress, the humblest manners, and died the most humiliating death. Now, in a good measure these precepts must be exemplified, and this trait in Christ's character imitated by all who would wear Christ's name. But is this feature of Christ's religion developed in the life and conduct of Christians? No! See how some, on account of their status, others on account of their wealth, others on account of their abilities, others on account of their high social position, and others on account of their distinction in the church of Christ—are puffed up with pride. How ambitious and haughty are many, who claim to be the ministers of Christ! Here there must be a reformation. The proud must be humbled. The meek and lowly disposition which was in Christ, and characterized all His early saints, must also be in and be exhibited by the disciples of Christ now, or they will never effectually carry out their high mission.


Blogger Bro Tim said...

Very Good thanks for sharing this thought with us. May God help us all to have Christ Centered character.

Bro Tim

8:30 AM  

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