State of the Church

by Andrew Murray, 1983
State of the Church
  1. The State of the Home Church — A more perfect manifestation by the church of the spirit of the incarnation and of the cross is needed. The only hope of the church being able to meet the opportunities is that there should a vitalizing of the whole church.
  2. The Present Crisis — The measure of Christ’s surrender for our salvation is the only true measure of our own surrender to Him and His service. If a thought like this could take full possession of even a small number of Christians, what power there would be in their witness to others of what Christianity really means.
  3. The Unsolved Problem — There must be an adequate plan for rousing Christians at home out of their apathy and training them to become devoted servants of Christ, full of enthusiasm for the King and His Kingdom. It is a question of life and death.
  4. Peace, Peace, When There Is No Peace — Let us not call it disparaging the church when we invite brethren to test their work, with its failure, by the Word of God. When a medical man tells a husband that his wife is suffering from a dangerous disease, he does not disparage the wife. He is doing the greatest kindness as the first step toward healing.
  5. Why Could We Not Cast Him Out? — Decay in membership of the church is due to a decay of membership in Christ. Even among those who remain in active membership of our churches, the type of religion has changed. We are not seeking first the kingdom of God and His holiness, but only carrying on—with very expensive and noisy machinery—a kingdom-of-God industry. We are merely running the kingdom, and running it without the cross.
  6. The Supernatural — Christianity is nothing if it is not, from beginning to end, through all and in all, the hidden but direct and mighty energy of the living God continuing and working out the great redemption which He accomplished in His Son. Beyond all that He has given in creation and providence is that special exercise of the divine power of the divine life in its infinite holiness which is always working in us that likeness to Himself which is pleasing in His sight. The attitude of man toward God ought to be one of absolute and unceasing dependence.
  7. Christ’s Last Words — It is essential, if we truly wish to possess Christ and to fully enjoy Him, that we take in His love in all its fulness and that we commit ourselves to sharing that love, and find our happiness in making that love known to those who are still ignorant of it.
  8. Primitive Christianity — There is no limit to the power of the Spirit of God in the life of a man except the measure of faith he has to receive it. All limitation and delay arise from the imperfect receptiveness of the Christian church.
  9. Seven Times More Prayer — How seldom it is realized that prayer covers the whole divine mystery of man’s partnership with the Trinity in working out the counsel of His will and grace. All that God wants to do for the world, He chooses to do through men who have yielded themselves fully to His will. God, at their request, will direct the working of His Holy Spirit and send Him to go where and to do what they have asked in prayer.
  10. A Revival of Holiness — It seems as if the thought of Christ dwelling in the heart has been lost in the church today. With the Reformation, the great truth of justification was restored to its rightful place. But the great truth of sanctification has never yet taken the place which God’s Word claims for it in the preaching and practice of the church. It is for this that we need a revival.
  11. Christ’s Claim Upon Us — It is when we see how impossible it is for man to know and love Christ properly that we shall come in our helplessness to cast ourselves at His feet and believe in the power of His Word to work a full faith in Him. As we turn away from the world and from self, and consent to be crucified with Him, we shall find, in the fellowship of His death, the very power through which He conquered sin.
  12. The Promise of the Father — It is incomprehensible that the church professes to believe that the Holy Spirit is the mighty power of God, and that He will be given in answer to believing, persevering prayer, and will clothe His ministers with power from on high, and yet the church does not avail itself of this great promise. Our faith in the Holy Spirit is, to a great extent, simply intellectual.
  13. Contrition, Confession, Consecration — It takes time with God alone for Him to breathe and then to deepen the spirit of contrition. It takes time to turn away from the world and its numerous interests, to bow and to bend the heart before God. Contrition must become such a reality that we feel something of the pain of a broken heart, if we do not yet have such a feeling.
  14. Repent! — There may be diligence in His service, there may be zeal for the honor of his name, there may be patient endurance of suffering for Him, and yet Christ’s heart can be satisfied with nothing less than first love. That is the constraining love which delights in His fellowship, yields itself wholly to His personal influence, and gives a living testimony to Himself.
  15. The Valley of Decision — People are content when they hear what they think is a profitable sermon. They carry away a vague impression and hope that some way or other, eventually, some effect will be produced. And still they go on in this half-hearted religion, whose doctrines they confess but from which they cannot find power.
  16. The Ministry — The power to pray and the power to teach others to pray is entirely dependent on the depth of the spiritual life. The average Christian life is not sufficient to give power with God in prayer. It needs self-denial, a turning away from the world, and the sacrifice of what may appear legitimate to others.
  17. A Plea for More Prayer — Intercession is the highest proof of the image of God in which we have been created, and of the exercise of our kinglike privilege of ruling the world. The point at which it becomes difficult for us to believe all this is when we are told that God is longing to pour out blessing but is held back by His people. They are the hindrance in His way.
  18. Fear Not, Only Believe — We may find that as time goes on, as the insight into the deadly state of the church grows deeper, and as experience teaches us how very hard it is to rouse Christians to the full meaning of, and full surrender to, the claims of Christ, our hearts will often fail us for fear and grow faint. But if we have made our covenant with Christ that we dare not go back, but are determined to hold on, we shall find that just one word from our Lord hidden in the heart, and lived on day by day, will give strength in time of greatest darkness.
  19. A Personal Word — How can the church be lifted up into a fuller spiritual life? I know of no other way of restoration than a beginning made by individual men and women pleading with God on behalf of the church and pleading with men on behalf of God. Will you be one?

Hints On Intercession — Intercession to be effectual, must be intelligent, fervent, believing, and persevering. God’s intercessors must learn, in deep humility and contrition, really to give their whole life and strength to bear the burden of the state of their fellow Christians, if they are to have power to prevail.

Also by Andrew Murray:
Absolute Surrender
Divine Healing
The Master's Indwelling
The Secret of Intercession
The Secret of the Cross
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