World Changing Will Come Through Life-Changing

(Preaching Outline)

1)      Last week we proposed a draft model for becoming more like Jesus:

a)      Model:

i)        We must be filled with the Holy Spirit

ii)      We need a continual revelation of Jesus

iii)    We need the body of Christ

iv)    We need to feed on the Word of God

v)      We need a life of prayer

b)      Today we are going to further explore the power of the Holy Spirit.

2)      The Holy Spirit

a)      Luke 24:49 (ESV) — 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

b)      Ezekiel 36:26–27 (NKJV) — 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

3)      Frank Buckman, the Oxford Group and MRA

a)      Became intrigued through our book club on Tuesday

b)      One man changed. A million changed. A nation changed.[1]

c)      Human nature can be changed. That is the basic answer. National economies can be changed. That is the fruit of the answer. World history can be changed. That is the destiny of our age.[2]

d)      World-changing will come through life-changing.[3]

e)      My paraphrase of his story.

i)        Boys Home – Keswick church with Jessie Penn-Lewis

ii)      Penn State

iii)    Oxford

iv)    The world

f)       EXAMPLE OF A CHANGED LIFE: Fredrik Ramm hated Danes because of a dispute over fisheries, he became notorious through Scandinavia for the violence of his writings.  “The main thing I am here to tell you is that my greatest fault was the hatred of the Danes. My mind was poisoned with that hatred. I used my pen as well as I could in the service of my hatred and justified myself as an idealist. Then I met the Oxford Group with its challenging quality of life. . . .Now I am here to put things right with my old enemies.”[4]

g)      Would God heal non-believers of bitterness, anger, strife and resentment?

4)      Why I have a passion to study Buchman:

a)      A great compassion in my heart over the moral and spiritual condition in America and the world.

b)      I have been thinking along the lines of:

i)        Human flourishing

ii)      The image of God in man

iii)    A world governed by love not fear.

c)      Examples of ideas I have been pondering

i)        Liberty vs. tyranny (totalitarianism)

ii)      Persuasion vs. Coercion

iii)    Freedom of thought, speech and belief are God given.

iv)    We need to overcome fear, greed, bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness in the world.

5)      Let us look to scripture and behold Jesus the true life changer!

a)      Matthew 5:43–45 (NKJV) — 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

b)      Just 2 of the Beatitudes: Matthew 5:8–9 (NKJV) — 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

c)      Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) — 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

d)      Colossians 3:12–14 (NKJV) — 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

e)      Self-righteousness and Pharisaicalism

f)       “If He knew what kind of woman”

g)      Galatians 5:22–23 (ESV) — 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

6)      World changing will come through life-changing.

a)      One man changed. A million changed. A nation changed.[5]

b)      Human nature can be changed. That is the basic answer. National economies can be changed. That is the fruit of the answer. World history can be changed. That is the destiny of our age.[6]

c)      I am encouraged to see someone with such convictions who set out to change millions of lives and succeeded… but it all begins with one person changed!

d)      Romans 8:14 (NKJV) — 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.


 

[1] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 475-476). Kindle Edition.

[2] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2196-2197). Kindle Edition.

[3] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Location 303). Kindle Edition.

[4] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 403-406). Kindle Edition.

[5] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 475-476). Kindle Edition.

[6] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2196-2197). Kindle Edition.

The cause of the world’s state is not economic; the cause is moral. It is there where the evil lies. It is the want of religion which we ought to possess.[1]

THE OXFORD GROUP is a Christian revolution, whose concern is vital Christianity. Its aim is a new social order under the dictatorship of the Spirit of God, making for better human relationships, for unselfish co-operation, for cleaner business, cleaner politics, for the elimination of political, industrial and racial antagonisms.[2]

One man changed. A million changed. A nation changed. That is the programme of the Oxford Group. [3]

World-changing will come through life-changing.[4]

The Oslo daily newspaper Tidens Tegn wrote, “A handful of foreigners, who neither knew our language nor understood our ways and customs, came to this country. . . . A few days later the whole country was talking about God, and two months after the thirty foreigners[5]

In London, The Spectator stated, “A national awakening has sprung to life. . . . It has abundantly revealed that social regeneration comes as a fruit of changed lives.[6]

Fredrik Ramm hated Danes because of a dispute over fisheries, he became notorious through Scandinavia for the violence of his writings.  “The main thing I am here to tell you is that my greatest fault was the hatred of the Danes. My mind was poisoned with that hatred. I used my pen as well as I could in the service of my hatred and justified myself as an idealist. Then I met the Oxford Group with its challenging quality of life. . . .Now I am here to put things right with my old enemies.”[7]

And that old country has certainly been shaken. You feel it in every department of life— not only the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker, but the intellectuals of the country. Tonight in Viborg, the judges, the barristers and the lawyers, the intelligentsia, are witnessing to the positive power of Jesus Christ.[8]

The Oxford Group is a Christian revolution for remaking the world. The root problems in the world today are dishonesty, selfishness and fear— in men and, consequently, in nations. These evils multiplied result in divorce, crime, unemployment, recurrent depression and war. How can we hope for peace within a nation, or between nations, when we have conflict in countless homes? Spiritual recovery must precede economic recovery. Political or social solutions that do not deal with these root problems are inadequate. Man-made laws are no substitute for individual character. Our instant need is a moral and spiritual awakening. Human wisdom alone has failed to bring this about. It is only possible when God has control of individuals.[9]

Dr Kung, Chinese Minister of Finance, sent a cable which was quoted last week by Lord Addington in the House of Lords. It read as follows: The world today is in a state of chaos, degeneracy and disintegration, because men are dominated by selfishness, jealousy and materialism. The Oxford Group advocates the four principles of “absolute love, honesty, purity and unselfishness”. It is a movement which transcends geographical divisions, racial distinctions, party differences and class conflict. I believe the principles and the discipline of the movement will help to bind men and women of the world together in a common moral and spiritual awakening which is urgently needed to evolve a new and better social order. Only the inspiration and guidance of a Higher Will can change human nature and conciliate men and nations so that there may be “peace on earth and goodwill among men”.[10]

What is our real problem? You all know what a drought is. Well, we are suffering today from a spiritual drought. Fear and greed are like a dust storm. They spread over nations. They blind and choke people. They set man against man, class against class, nation against nation.[11]

National and world problems remain the same because the root problem— human nature— remains unsolved. Until we deal with human nature thoroughly and drastically on a national scale, nations must still follow their historic road to violence and destruction. Three thousand miles of ocean do not change this fundamental problem— and will not save us if we fail to solve it. The symptoms may differ in Europe and America. The disease is the same. What is the disease? Isn’t it fear, dishonesty, resentment, selfishness? We talk about freedom and liberty, but we are slaves to ourselves. The only possible alternatives today are collapse or God-control. And collapse is simply the selfishness of all of us together. Collapse or God-control.[12]

What we must have is a world-wide Christian front against the oncoming forces of materialism. We read of burning churches. The only answer to burning churches is a Church aflame. The god of efficiency is not enough. Goodwill and good works do not reach the heart of the trouble. Idealism has not succeeded. The truth is that any lasting social and economic recovery can only be built on the foundation of a moral and spiritual recovery. When you and I are not one hundred per cent God-guided and God-controlled, we are really helping chaos. All lukewarm people are really helping chaos. The fate of nations depends upon whether you and I are God-controlled.[13]

Absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, absolute love. Those are Christ’s standards. Are they yours? You may have to put things straight. I had to. I began by writing to six people, admitting that ill-will between us was my fault, and not theirs. Then I could really help people. Remember— if you want the world to get straight, get straight yourself.[14]

May the answer not be found in a reawakening to the fundamental values on which democracy was built; in a rededication of our people to those elementary virtues of honesty, unselfishness and love which so many of us have allowed to take a secondary place? In an age when lowered moral standards have become a breeding-ground for destructive forces, is it not time for democracy to seek again the sources of her strength, and to demonstrate to the world the power of moral principles?[15]

You will do well today to read the fifty-first psalm. It is a tremendous human experience. And then read in the New Testament about the Cross of Christ. You will never, never, never come into this experience until you know the Cross of Christ. Some of you have heard about it, Sunday by Sunday, but it’s not an experience. If it were experience, you would not shrink from anything.[16]

Government, as one Prime Minister said, is then made easier. For the more men, under God, govern themselves, the less they need government from outside. Taxation goes down as honesty goes up. And the people naturally choose as leaders those who are most clearly led by God.[17]

In time of war, a nation mobilises every energy for national defence. If nations see a common enemy, they will unite in common action, sinking their national differences. Suppose the world were invaded by a vast army from Mars, threatening our existence, would not the whole world join forces in self-defence? Is there no common enemy against which all the nations must fight shoulder to shoulder? There is. The common foes of fear, greed and resentment have worked with deadly accuracy to bring the nations to the brink of catastrophe.[18]

Humanity is at the crossroads. We must reach a final decision for ourselves and for our nations. Do we choose the road of selfishness that leads to uncontrollable violence and darkness? Or will it be the road of the Cross to a sound world, where we learn how to live together, where the ancient virtues of justice, understanding and peace rule under God over a sane humanity?[19]

On Armistice Day, 1938, The Times published a letter from the Earl of Athlone and other national leaders which read, in part, “The strength of a nation is shown in the courage to admit her own faults. The glory of a nation is to have a creative message for the world. For this we need not only inspired statesmanship but daily inspiration in every business, every workshop, every home. We must teach ourselves to apply practically to conduct the Christian standards of honesty, purity, and love, and to make fulfilment of the will of God the touchstone of public and private life. . . . “Moral re-armament must be the foundation of national life, as it must be of any world settlement. The miracle of God’s Living Spirit can break the power of pride and selfishness, of lust and fear and hatred; for spiritual power is the greatest force in the world. . . .[20]

But as an Edinburgh landlady told me, “It is one thing to pray during the crisis, as hundreds have done. It is another thing so to live that it does not happen again.” Now, how can we find this new quality of living? How can we capture that spirit that can change the world? It can only come from a genuine religious experience— that is valid for a change of heart, for changed social conditions, for true national security, for international understanding. It is valid because it originates in God, and issues in actual changes in human nature.[21]

We must recapture the power of personal religious experience. Children are born every day. It ought to be just as natural for people to be reborn every day.[22]

Changed lives are the true foundation of a new world order. An eminent editor has said that life-changing on a colossal scale is the only hope left for the world today. We know that everything else has failed.[23]

We must let the Prince of Peace Himself dictate the programme of peace to men who have learned that the secret of peace lies first in their own hearts, then in their homes. Then they can hope to bring peace in the family of nations. A peace conference or a League of Nations can only succeed with new men. First we must have new men. New nations will follow naturally and logically. Then we shall have a new world where war shall be no more, where faction shall not rise against faction, class against class, interest against interest, or nation against nation.[24]

To be valid in these decisive days, our religious experience must once again become a marching, fighting, conquering world force. A mighty change on a colossal scale is the only hope left. This change begins with a change in human nature through Jesus Christ.[25]

To the leaders of Nazi Germany Moral Re-Armament appeared as “the Christian garment for world democratic aims”. The official Gestapo report on the Oxford Group (see page 307) denounces Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group for “uncompromisingly taking up a frontal position against National Socialism”, and states, “The Group breathes the spirit of western democracy . . . they encourage their members to place themselves fully beneath the Christian Cross, and to oppose the cross of the swastika with the Cross of Christ, as the former seeks to destroy the Cross of Christ.”[26]

Look at those four standards. See how they reach up strong, unbroken to the stars. They are the four standards of Moral Re-Armament— absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, absolute love and absolute purity— personally and nationally. They are the four standards of personal, national and international life.[27]

At times of great crisis people just naturally look to God, and they expect their leaders to give them the lead. In a fateful hour when pronouncements are made, men hope against hope that there will be some force at work that will put off what we all deserve.[28]

We all look at the headlines. But we can do more than that. Moral ReArmament is everybody’s chance to do something about them. We can look at ourselves and our own nation, and see where we need to be different. For when men change, nations change. Moral Re-Armament is a world network of hate-free, fear-free, greed-free people.[29]

Think of the cost of hate, fear and greed. Millions of men and women must carry gas-masks today because men the world over have been living behind masks for years. Millions of men and women must grope through darkened cities because the nations have been living in a spiritual blackout. Millions of men and women today must listen to air-raid warnings because nations have not listened to the Voice of God in days gone by.[30]

Materialism and atheism are breeding grounds for corruption, anarchy and revolution. These have their allies in the selfishness that rules our homes, the bitterness that separates class from class, and the spirit of faction that divides a nation.[31]

Any man can begin today to listen to God. Any man can begin today to bring a new spirit to his home, his city and his nation. The greatest revolution of all time whereby the Cross of Christ will transform the world is enlisting men today. The condition of the world makes it imperative that we enlist now, and to this task we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour.[32]

So we have Communism and Fascism, two world forces. And where do they come from? From Materialism which is the mother of all the “isms”. It is the spirit of anti-Christ which breeds corruption, anarchy and revolution. It undermines our homes, it sets class against class, it divides the nation. Materialism is Democracy’s greatest enemy.[33]

America must discover her rightful ideology. It springs from her Christian heritage and is her only adequate answer in the battle against materialism and all the other “isms”. But America does not hate materialism. Think of America destroying herself with the very force that she condemns in others. The battle of the ideologies was the granite of the Old and New Testaments. So many people today instead of giving the granite, give the sugar— and so we never cure materialism.[34]

M RA first of all goes straight to the fundamental problem —it recognises sin. Sin is the disease. Jesus Christ is the cure. The result is a miracle.[35]

You must have that emphasis on morals plus the saving power of Jesus Christ. Then you experience the dynamic which is almost forgotten— the Holy Spirit, that gives the guided answer and tells you exactly what to do as a clear direct call from God. That’s the programme for the Church today. I believe with all my heart in the Church, the Church aflame, on fire with revolution. We haven’t begun to experience the spiritual revolution we need. You need revolution, and then when you come into the clear light of God’s Presence, you will experience a glorious renaissance. You will come to see what Christ means this old world to be.[36]

America doesn’t have much of her great moral heritage left. Just think, if we fail to give emphasis to a moral climate, where will our democracy go? Some of us have been so busy looking after our own affairs that we have forgotten to look after the nation. Unless America recovers her rightful ideology nothing but chaos awaits us. Our destiny is to obey the guidance of God. The true battle-line in the world today is not between class and class, not between race and race. The battle is between Christ and anti-Christ.[37]

If this is America’s answer, then we are in a global effort to win the world to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Then the great truths of the Gospel will once more become great and Jesus Christ will be King. There is your ideology. It is the whole message of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The message in its entirety is the only last hope that will save the world. God’s chance is a revolution under the Cross of Christ that can transform the world.[38]

The only hope. Our only answer. Go forth with that message united and you will save the world. And now shall we have a few moments of quiet. Oh, Thou best Gift of Heaven, Thou Who Thyself hast given, For Thou hast died: This hast Thou done for me— What have I done for Thee, Thou crucified? I long to serve Thee more; Reveal an open door Saviour to me. Then, counting all but loss, I’ll glory in the Cross, And follow Thee. The Cross of Christ adequate for a revolution that will bring a renaissance, that will change the world. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.[39]

Human nature can be changed. That is the basic answer. National economies can be changed. That is the fruit of the answer. World history can be changed. That is the destiny of our age.[40]

“Isms” grow from unsolved problems in the life of men and nations. One man’s hate kindles a million hates. One man’s suspicion explodes a million suspicions. It spreads like a prairie fire. Or it creeps like a flame underground to burst out unexpectedly in a hundred places. Is America free from hates, fears, suspicions, greed?[41]

We have learnt that democracy without an ideology can win a war but cannot build a peace; that ideological preparedness is the task of the whole nation, and is the one sure basis of national strength, moral, military and economic.[42]

Someone has said that the modern man is not worried about his sins, but the result is that he is worried about almost everything else. Moral Re-Armament takes sin seriously. And it takes Christ seriously. Bishop Wurm of Germany writes, “In Moral Re-Armament people do not talk so much about the Cross of Christ, but they live by the power of the Cross of Christ. All come under its influence. That is why they can unite people of different parties, nations and confessions.”[43]


 

[1] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 266-267). Kindle Edition.

[2] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 296-299). Kindle Edition.

[3] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 475-476). Kindle Edition.

[4] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Location 303). Kindle Edition.

[5] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 351-353). Kindle Edition.

[6] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 354-355). Kindle Edition.

[7] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 403-406). Kindle Edition.

[8] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 520-522). Kindle Edition.

[9] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 606-611). Kindle Edition.

[10] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 663-670). Kindle Edition.

[11] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 726-728). Kindle Edition.

[12] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 731-737). Kindle Edition.

[13] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 744-749). Kindle Edition.

[14] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 759-762). Kindle Edition.

[15] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 786-790). Kindle Edition.

[16] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 959-962). Kindle Edition.

[17] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1047-1049). Kindle Edition.

[18] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1053-1057). Kindle Edition.

[19] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1061-1064). Kindle Edition.

[20] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1133-1139). Kindle Edition.

[21] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1163-1166). Kindle Edition.

[22] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1170-1171). Kindle Edition.

[23] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1186-1188). Kindle Edition.

[24] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1209-1213). Kindle Edition.

[25] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1229-1231). Kindle Edition.

[26] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1317-1321). Kindle Edition.

[27] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1426-1428). Kindle Edition.

[28] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1449-1451). Kindle Edition.

[29] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1477-1480). Kindle Edition.

[30] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1540-1542). Kindle Edition.

[31] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1800-1802). Kindle Edition.

[32] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1867-1869). Kindle Edition.

[33] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1949-1952). Kindle Edition.

[34] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1963-1966). Kindle Edition.

[35] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1967-1968). Kindle Edition.

[36] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 1988-1992). Kindle Edition.

[37] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2006-2010). Kindle Edition.

[38] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2036-2039). Kindle Edition.

[39] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2039-2047). Kindle Edition.

[40] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2196-2197). Kindle Edition.

[41] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2262-2264). Kindle Edition.

[42] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2273-2275). Kindle Edition.

[43] Frank Buchman. Remaking the World (Kindle Locations 2437-2440). Kindle Edition.

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