Onward Christian Soldiers

20 Feb


The challenge to al of us in this day is to live for Christ. To live for Christ means to live for all that He stands for as a little child in our hearts. And that is discipleship.

When Jesus began His ministry, He collected disciples with the wonderful ultimate call, “Follow me.”  He called Peter, James, John” and many others. Jesus never stopped calling people. He always says, Follow me!”


The saved are disciples. The ones who get to heaven are sheep, and the Savior is the Shepherd. Sheep who do not follow the Shepherd do not belong to the flock.

No one is saved apart from discipleship. No one is a Christian who is not a follower of Jesus. No one can be a disciple of Jesus unless something is done about himself.

God does something for a person. God’s hand lifts him right off the path of Satan and-sets him down on Jesus’ path. God’s heart of love washes him clean of sin in Jesus’ Blood, God’s creating power makes a totally new man of him. That man has been given faith in Christ! He is on the road to heaven! He is now a disciple of Jesus!

The very word disciple tells us all we need to know. The word disciple means “Follower of a teacher.” “Disciple of Jesus” means Follower of Jesus.


The mass malconception of religion also infects today’s world. People generally picture a disciple of Christ according to outward standards. If you have joined a church, they say, then you are following Christ. However, one does not follow Christ by the mere process of joining some organization. One follows Christ by personally following Christ.

Others put great stock in other outward things, such as confirmation rituals of the denominations” Yet, following Christ is not that a person (for example), shows a confirmation certificate and proves that he was confirmed. Once again, following Christ is personally following Christ.

You simply cannot substitute mere joining of a church or having a certificate of past achievement and accomplished rituals for following Christ. Following Christ still remains following Christ – personally and individually.


I am sure that there are many folk who think they are alright because they have gone through what was necessary. They have gone to instruction classes. They have been confirmed. Or they have accomplished another prescribed course and have been received into communicant membership in some church or another.


They perhaps also attend the special group of the church and are avid supporters of its activities. Perhaps they have become very enthusiastic about some phase of the total program presented. They might be outstanding in the athletic program. Or they may have thrown themselves energetically into leading the rest of the group in the entertainment. They may have worked up a sweat. They may have sweat in church athletics. They may have sweat over plans for good entertainment for the others. The rest may praise them for their church work. We will agree that they have expended much energy in a church. But have they followed Christ? That yet remains the only vital question.


How many deceive themselves by outward activity? How many such outstanding personalities are habitual in cursing and misusing the name of Jesus Christ? How many have used these church-connected activities for a diving board into a life of sexual looseness and immorality? How many are holy terrors at school and in their extra-curricular activities, and come to church-connected get-togethers either because the parents say “GO!” or because it makes up a little for the bad impression left the rest of the time?


If a person got down to brass tacks, I wonder how much discipleship of Jesus there really is? I wonder how many people really are followers of Jesus, even though many have joined churches? I wonder how many folks in the world really follow Jesus, even though many are confirmed communicants or full-fledged members and engage in a number of church-connected activities?


Peter preached to people to be saved from the “untoward generation” of his day. Acts 2:40. Today we must preach to people to be saved from the untoward generation of our day.

How apt is not the expression “untoward!” Untoward is the opposite of toward. If you are going toward something you are heading its way.


Let us pretend that I am showing you a movie. As the picture-show begins, Jesus is on the right side of a big place all by Himself. As the movie continues, we see a person begin to come into view on the left side. Now he walks across the big place. He walks toward Jesus. As the film proceeds we see that he finally comes to Jesus. This person represents a generation of people walking toward Jesus. We may call it a “toward generation” – or a “toward-Jesus generation.”


Let us now make the necessary technical adjustments and run the movie backwards. Now we see a person back up. He is now not going toward Jesus. He is “untoward.” He is backing away from Him while it looks a little as though he is going toward Him. But when we finish the film, Jesus is alone and the person has backed completely out of the picture. This person may be used to represent the untoward generation which Peter in his day warned people to be saved from.


The “untoward generation” creates a deceptive illusion of discipleship. Imagine that an “Untowarder” desires to justify himself to you. He shows you the backward movie. You protest that the person in the movie is really backing away from Jesus. Hearing this, the “Untowarder” quickly turns the motor switch off. Immediately the action is frozen. A single frame remains on the screen. Triumphantly, he displays a still picture of a man who appears to be walking to Jesus. “See,” says the “Untowarder” with a bland smile, “we are heading Jesus’ Way after  all, aren’t we?”

How will you answer? No matter how you answer, when he turns the motor on again, the motion will show a backward, untoward walk; not a forward, toward-Jesus walk.


The untoward generation appears to be headed toward the Lord, but when you observe it’s motion and direction it is always walking further and further away from Jesus.

Peter lived in a day of an untoward generation. Peter lived in a day of churchianity, not Christianity. He lived in a place where everybody was a member of the church that had the Bible of Jesus Christ.


Jesus Christ was born into that generation. Jesus Christ grew up in that generation. Jesus Christ began His ministry in that generation.

At first the people listened to Him and He drew substantial crowds. But the leaders of the church of the Bible of Jesus began to back away even while they pretended to uphold the Bible that preached Jesus Christ. Soon the people followed these church leaders.

They were not a people walking across the wide area toward Christ. Rather they were like a backward movie of a people heading toward Christ. When they had backed completely off the screen, then Christ was alone. The untoward generation had completely untowarded itself. The dying Savior gasped on Calvary’s Tree!


An untoward generation is made up of individuals who are churched and have church-connected activities. But they are persons who walk away from Jesus even while they try to make it appear that they are walking toward Jesus. As individuals, such people are not disciples or followers of Jesus. They are followers of their own selves and of the devil.


We are committed to such a preaching and teaching which makes followers or disciples of Jesus, not backer-uppers and unfollowers of Jesus.


Peter preached to his untoward generation at Pentecost. He reached a crowd of people who were committed to church organizations but not to Christ. He showed them the terrible sin that they had done by being a part of an untoward generation.  Though they pretended that their religion was to the Christ of the Bible, they ended killing the Christ of the Bible!


Surely, you will have to admit that people can fully oppose Christ and Christianity with Churchianity!

3000 on Pentecost Day heard Peter’s plea to “save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Acts 2:40. They uncommitted themselves to an organization and committed themselves to Christ, the only Savior.

Today, people also need to hear that plea. They need to hear, “save yourselves from this untoward generation.” They need to become uncommitted to church organizations and church-connected activities and to become fully and totally committed to Christ~


They need to stop living for themselves, and they need to begin living for Christ. They need to stop living for outward church activities and they need to begin living for Christ. They need to stop living for church organizationalism and they need to begin living for Christ the Head of the Church.


If you are followers of Jesus Christ, as I believe you are, then you have a job to do for Jesus. If you have given your life and your all to Christ and said with your heart, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee,” then you are in the service of your Lord Jesus Christ.

Surely, you desire to be saved from this untoward generation! Surely, you desire that as many others as possible be saved from this untoward generation! Will you give your life to Him for this? Will you live for Jesus? I am sure your answer is, “Yes.”


You do want a “toward generation” about you, don’t you? You do want someone else to share the glory with, don’t you? How shall we find friends who are a “toward generation?” Shall we not go to the untoward generation as Peter did and call them to Christ? Did not the Lord bless Peter’s call to turn to the Lord with 3000 souls?

But if you are cast into the same mold as the individuals of the untoward generation, what good will you be to yourself or to anyone else? If you do not really live for Christ you are an extinguished candle. You are salt that has no saltiness in it.


As a new creature you can only want to do the Lord’s will. For He made you a new creature when He gave you faith. He made you unto good works. This is the work of God. This is the way He makes a disciple and a follower out of you.

Before you can rightly ask someone else to be a follower of Jesus, you need to be a follower of Jesus yourself.

If you want your friend to come to church and be turned to discipleship, why should they come if they have not seen anything more in your life than in the life of others about you?


How can wrongsters with hateful attitudes call others to love?–The love of Jesus Christ? How can people committed to gossip and making others look bad call others to Christ who forgets and forgives all evil and makes others look clean? How can a flirtatious, sexy, naughty, unclean person call others to the God of purity and holiness? How can you live in sin and show Jesus to the people about you?


I challenge you! The Lord challenges you! Live for Jesus, who died for you that you might live. Only a dedicated person can reach other persons for Christ. May these words burn in your hearts! May the joy of the Holy Spirit enter into your heart.


May you be a surrendered soul to Jesus who bought you with the price of His precious blood. Then your life will show it. Then your desires will express it. Then your will shall become more and more molded to His will. Then you shall in truth be able to say and pray, “Thy will be done.”

And I warrant you that when His will is done in you also that you shall be sharing the glorious good news of Jesus the Savior with others who have not as yet surrendered heart, soul, and body to Jesus who has bought them with His precious blood.

You are His army to fight that others may be unconditionally surrendered to Jesus the King!


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