School of Christ International: Messages by B.H.

Clendennen

"The Unselfish Disciple"
The business of the Church is to make disciples and not converts. You can convert a person to anything with a good argument. We are talking about life, about the Church being a reproductive organism. The Church came out of life, and life always begets life. The real test of whether we are the Church is do we create conditions of life? Jesus said, "If any man will be my disciple..." "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mark 8:34) This kind of people the Church is supposed to produce; disciples. The first mark of a disciple is unselfishness. There are no selfish Christians. If the grace of God is within you, then it produces the self-giving Spirit that was in the Lord Jesus Christ. The liberal soul shall be made fat, because the liberal soul is the soul in tune with God. There are many marks of selfishness that we have dealt with. Now, I want to say something to you concerning selfishness that will be most important if you are serious about receiving anything from God. If you are sick, have loved ones who are lost, if there are problems in your life, before these things can be healed, our lives have to be healed spiritually. We must come around to being what God wants us to be, if we are going to have God work in our lives. You cannot live a loose, haphazard, selfish life and expect God to be unselfish with you. If you want mercy, you must show mercy. If want to have friends, you must show yourself friendly. If you want forgiveness, you must forgive. We must sow the seeds that bring about an unselfish life. Selfishness is the law of the jungle. In the Tribulation, selfishness will be the Beast that haunts men and women who miss the Rapture. Selfishness and lawlessness are convertible terms. It is this spirit of selfishness that has turned our streets into jungles. What a tragedy that such a spirit is found in the Church. The law of the jungle is the law of self-preservation. Let an animal give birth, and if the mother is hungry, she will eat her own. The Bible speaks of the biting and devouring of one another in the Church. Is there any wonder why the Holy Ghost is not working in the Church, when such a spirit of selfishness prevails. It is shocking, the percentage of Church people whose only interest in Church is to get. They never come to give. They have no interest in the Word of God. They are parasites, mere consumers. They would eat up the seed corn. When this spirit prevails in the Church, the Holy Spirit is grieved, and the work of God is stopped. The selfish spirit draws a line that no man can cross to be saved or healed. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of children coming forth to the birth, and not enough strength to birth them. How many times have you seen it? Souls coming to our altars, they sought God, but they left unsaved. There wasn't enough strength in the Church to give birth to children. Before medical science learned about Cesarean birth, when in came time for the baby to be born, if the mother could not give birth to the child, then both mother and child died. The same thing has happened to the Church. She is so weakened by the spirit of taking and not giving, that she does not have the strength to deliver the people that come for help. God, help us to correct this situation. Selfishness and lawlessness are convertible terms, and have no place in the Church. Selfishness is that depraved human nature the Bible calls the "flesh." Anti-christ will be the sum and total of all that is implied by the word "self," therefore, "self" will be the Beast of the Tribulation. "Self" is the essence of personality. There are three elements in a human personality; judgment, affection, and will. First, the judgment of fallen men cannot be relied upon, because it mistakes darkness for light, and light for darkness. Second, the affections are depraved. Instead of seeing the things that are above, it seeks the things that are below. Listen to the theology of today with its prosperity message making God the servant of man. If you listen to the message, you are led to believe that God's love to you is demonstrated by the things He gives you. This appeals to "self" and greed, and slanders the character of God. Some of the greatest Christians I
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School of Christ International: Messages by B.H. Clendennen

know are living off Social Security, and ninety percent of the Bride of Christ has never had running water. You cannot judge a person's relationship with God by what he has. Jesus said, A man's life does not consist in the abundance of those things that he has. It is a selfish, evil spirit that teaches such. The emphasis of today's theology is placed on things below, while God says to set your affections on things above where Christ sits at the right hand of God. As saints of God we may never have much of this world's goods here and now, but it is good to know that "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." This world is counting our money, they are sitting on our property. They are squatters, not us. Soon Jesus will come and evict the devil and his crowd, and we who are heirs and joint heirs with Him shall own it all. We can afford to wait. More and more, we see the emphasis placed on the affections of the carnal nature. We want things now. The pronoun "I" is every prevalent. I want a bigger house. I want a bigger car, I want this, and I want that. It is never what God wants. The affections of the carnal cannot be relied on. Third, the will has lost its regal power. It is strong where it ought to be weak, weak where it ought to be strong. "Self" is the beast that will haunt and terrorize the Tribulation. The selfish man is alone, but he doesn't know it. What a horrible awakening it will be for the self centered man in that day, his soul naked, unloved, his heart out of touch with the universe around him. He will then come face to face with the awful solitude of a "self" that never died, and in that day lost the ability to die. If you lose your life for Christ, you will find His life, but if you save yourself, you will lose Christ. If we refuse to crucify "self" now, we will awake in hell with a "self" that cannot die. We are now speaking of the unselfish disciple, but must show what selfishness really is. "Self" is the nature of a damned race. It is the citadel of Satan. God rejected this fallen "self" in the Garden where man whose his own way. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:..." (Genesis 2:16-17) Man wanted that tree. Self wanted that one thing that God said it could not have. In the fall God drove that man from His presence. The result? "Self" is the habitation and the very life of sin. When the Bible speaks of overcoming, it is speaking of overcoming "self." "Self" is the root of all sin. Wherever you go, this beast of "self" is there inside of you. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:..." (Galatians 5:19-21) If you don't crucify "self," "self" will crucify Christ. The works of the devil are wrought in "self." Christ life is not, cannot be within us, but so far as the spirit of the world, self love, self seeking, are renounced and driven out. Every temper and passion that keeps Christ from being formed in the soul is a murderer and a destroyer of the Lord of life. That depraved nature must be brought into subjection. To be saved from the leprosy of sin, you must be saved from "self." In the new birth the blood of Jesus washes away all the sins of the past. Justified by faith means you are now as if you had never sinned. In that moment all sin is gone. The new creature now faces another struggle, for "self" is still there. A lifetime of sanctification begins. Sanctification is the replacing of one life with another. It is the growth of the Spirit that the new creature gains the ascendancy over the old nature, so to be saved from sin is to be saved from "self." "Self," the old nature, is the root, the branches, the tree, the total source of all evil on this planet. Lawlessness is selfishness. Selfishness dominates the criminal, this is the reason for his actions. He will kill, steal, rape, because he believes he has the right. Just as beasts of the jungle prey upon weaker beasts, the beast of "self" prey upon other humans. Sin is the result of "self" rising up to the place of supreme power in the soul. The saint of God at all times must deal with the old nature. "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful nature." (Ephesians 4:22) This is not

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School of Christ International: Messages by B.H. Clendennen

talking to sinners, it is talking to saints. That depraved nature is still there even though you are saved. There are two people in you. There is the "old man" and there is the "new man." "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation," but there is still an only man that has to be dealt with every day of your life. The carnal nature hates God, hates Christ, hates righteousness. That nature is in you and has to be crucified. Paul is addressing saints, people filled with the Holy Ghost. He speaks to them along a line that you don't hear many preachers talk about today. Paul knew the only way this life works is for there to be a clear line between the spiritual man and Heaven. Jesus said in John 16:7, "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you..." True to His word, Jesus went up, and the Holy Ghost came down. Now Jesus says to His Church, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The Apostle John's comment on that was, "This spake he of the Spirit..." The river coming down from the throne of God was the Holy Ghost. God's way is for the river to be poured out from the throne to the Church, and from the Church to the people. The river demands the Church, and the Church demands the river. We are the vessel of the Lord, the body of Christ, which means we are the vehicle of expression. A body is a vehicle through which a personality is expressed. If the world is to know the touch of the Holy Ghost, He must have a vessel to flow through. The weakness of the Church is, the arteries are clogged up, the river is restricted. Medical science has learned that cholesterol clogs up the arteries, thus restricting the flow of blood. When there is not enough blood getting though, you are in danger of a stroke. The only remedy is to unstop the arteries, or bypass them. Physically, the life of the flesh is in the blood. Spiritually, the life of the Church is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is called, "the Spirit of life." "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2) When our spiritual arteries are clogged by the works of the flesh, the flow of life is restricted; death is the end result. The body of Christ is paralyzed for the want of life. Where there should be life, there is death. If the world is to know God, He must be about to pour Himself through the Church. He cannot flow through a selfish, carnal body. In response to this deplorable condition Paul cries out, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." What a thing to say to the Church! He isn't talking to a drunk, a heroin addict, or a prostitute, he is talking to a people who have been born of God, a people filled with the Holy Ghost. Paul says in effect, put off your selfishness, or the world is going to die without the Gospel. "Put off the old man..." We tend to look at this as merely a personal thing. When we speak of the "old man," we speak of that nature in us that rises up under provocation. It is that, but it is much more. Just as the "new man" is a universal being, the "old man" is a universal being. Just as Christ is the federal head of a new race, the first born of a new creation, Adam is the federal head of the old creation. When God says, "put off the old man..." you won't have any trouble figuring out what to put off, if you recognize the old man to be universal. Anywhere on the planet earth you go, you will find the old man is the same. He may be a different color, he may talk a different language, he may live in a different climate, but if he has not been born again he commits adultery, he murders, he steals, he is a fornicator, he deals in drugs, he is the same wherever you find him. God said put him, the old man, off. The woman taken in adultery was brought to Jesus, and her accusers wanted to stone her to death. Jesus answered them with, "He that hath no sin, let him cast the first stone." With that word the accusers left, and Jesus said to the woman, "Where are your accusers?" Her reply was, "I don't have any." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more." Jesus speaks to her as a child of God, for she is now calling Him Lord. She has changed camps. So He says, neither do I condemn thee. Why does He not condemn her? Because as a sinner she was condemned already. Sinners commit adultery, saints do not. "Put off the old man..." Listen to the next verse: "Put on the new man, which is after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness." Put on the new, that is also universal. Wherever you find born again believers they are the same. Nothing is more wonderful than the family of God. Wherever you find the new creation, no matter what language they speak, what color their skin, where they live, they are the same. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female." All are one in that Christ. It is universal. Put on the new man, put off the selfish. We have all witnessed religious separation without the Spirit. Men
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School of Christ International: Messages by B.H. Clendennen

with their religious molds they want to pour everyone into. If you don't look and act like they do, they will send you to hell without an emotion. They are the meanest folks in town. When "self" crucifies "self," it produces another form of self that is worse than what you started with. When you see the man or woman of the Spirit who has overcome the old man, you see Christ. You see love, joy, peace, not selfishness. that is the disciple God is after. Put on the new man. It gets better and worse as you go on. Ephesians 4:24 says, "And that ye put on the new man, which is after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Verse 25 says, "Wherefore putting away lying..." That little word "wherefore" means because. Because you have put on the new man, put away lying, "...speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." The word is to saints. God is saying to His own children, quit lying to one another. We may not speak a lie, but we pit on airs. We come to Church and act like a saint, but on the job we are mean as the devil. We want men to think more highly of us than we really are. God says, "...put away lying...," be open. If you need help, confess your faults one to another. If you are weak in faith, get the brethren to pray for you. Don't make believe, be open. If there is something wrong, you must acknowledge it. If you have something in your life you need to overcome, and you act like it is not there, you are lying. There is no help for the liar. There was a time when the Pentecostal church preached restitution. There is not much said on the subject anymore. There was a time when the man of God preached that to be right with God you had to be right with your brother. The message was clear, If you have wronged another person, you will have to make it right or God will not hear your prayer. "Confess your faults one to another, that you might be healed." (James 5:16) You can hear the cry, I couldn't do that, it would be embarrassing. Embarrass self enough, and he won't do that anymore. God says quit lying, quit acting like all is well when there is sin in your life. You didn't pay your tithes, you stole from God, and you are going to have to make it right, or God isn't going to talk to you. God loves you, Jesus died for you, there is provision made for victory, but you will never get anywhere as long as you keep the thing hidden. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall have mercy." Put away lying. Is he talking to saints? Yes! Unsanctified flesh showing up in the Church, that is what God is addressing. "Be angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." There are some things that will make you angry, so God says, be angry and sin not. Bitterness is like a cancer, it will destroy you both physically and spiritually. It doesn't matter what others do, you must do right. If you strike back, you are no better than they are. When men draw their circle and leave you out, you should draw your circle big enough to put them back in. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Love your enemies. Jesus love you so you can love others. Keep your heart right. Don't allow things in your heart that will keep your family from God. "Let him that stole, steal no more." "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me...In tithes and offerings." The tithe is the Lord's. It is holy. Make sure your heart is right; that you are not stealing from God, that you hold no grudge against any man. Don't lie to the Church by trying to be what you are not. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." Only say those things that edify. Jesus said, "If any man will be my disciple, let him first deny himself..." A real disciple is an unselfish person. He harbors no hate. "When Jesus was reviled (abused), he reviled not again." Amy Simple McPherson was one of the really great women preachers of all time. A friend of mine lived in Los Angeles when Sister McPherson pastored the great Angeles Temple. He was a milkman, and on his route he would go by the Temple around 4 o'clock in the morning. Every morning, when he went by, he would see her in the tower with her hands up waiting on God. When he came back in the afternoon, she was still there with her hands up waiting on God. There came a time when everything and everyone came against Sister McPherson. There were a lot of lies told about her. During this time, one of the major attorneys of Los Angeles came to her and said, I know most of what is being said is a lie, and if you will let me, I'll sue them. I can make it worth your while financially. Her reply was, I could never do that. The attorney asked why. She answered him by saying, When I was a little girl I read where a dog barked at a queen, but the queen did not bark back. This is the attitude of true disciples. This is what being conformed to the image of Christ is all about. It is spiritual and moral. It isn't walking on the water, it isn't raising the dead, it is when I am reviled, I revile not again. When I am used wrong, I can pray for those who wrongly use me. When the dog barks at me, I
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School of Christ International: Messages by B.H. Clendennen

don't bark at the dog. If you want to be healed, if you want the blessing, this is where it is. It isn't just talking about faith. You have faith if you are born again. The answer is living where the channel is open. Ephesians 4:27 says, "Neither give place to the devil." We hear that preached to mean that we are not to let the devil come in and take what is outs. That is all well and good, but God is saying more. He is saying give no place to the devil in your anger, in your attitudes, in your relationship with your fellow man. Anytime you allow self to manifest itself, you give place to the devil, for that nature is his ground, his body. "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30) How do you grieve the Holy Spirit? By allowing the carnal nature to dictate your actions. By resorting to the wrong weapon. When someone talks about you, you talk about them. If someone smites you, you smite them back. This grieves the Holy Spirit. "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal..." In this war love replaces hate. True disciples can love their enemies. It takes more courage to turn your cheek than it does to hit back. It takes a real Christian to walk away. When we are true to Christ, we do not grieve the Holy Spirit. "...grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed..." Verse 31 shows the way, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour (arguing), and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Bitterness is to the human spirit what strychnine is to the physical life. It will destroy. You can spend all your life in pursuit of something that isn't worthwhile. When a man and his wife are at odds with one another, their prayers are hindered. The word of God instructs us to agree with our adversary. Whey should I grieve the Holy Ghost? Why argue? Be like Christ. You are not going to convince the devil of anything. So the word says, put that behind you. Walk in the Holy Ghost, let evil speaking be put away from you with malice. This is beautiful, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32) If the world could find that kind of community, it would beat a path for our door. The world looks for love, for somebody who cares. When they look at a Church with all the clamoring, hatred and fighting, hope is destroyed. Where self is dead, Christ is alive. Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men..." If they can look at that Church and see the Lord Jesus Christ, they will be drawn to it. They are hungry for Jesus. "Be ye therefore followers of God has dear children; And walk in love, as Chris also hath love us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians 5:1-5) Ephesians 6:10-13, after cataloging the lifestyle God expects of His saints, Paul came to say, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." In this age, deliverance is held up mostly for the physical. This is a grave mistake. We will never see physical deliverance on the scale God intends, until there is a spiritual deliverance. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the bitterness of hell, that you may be able to stand against the lying spirit, that you may be able to pray for those who despitefully use you. You cannot do that in yourself. You cannot overcome wrath with wrath. He that lives by the sword is going to die by the sword. We who live by the armor of God are going to live forever. We have wanted these things to deliver other people, but God wants to deliver us. He wants to deliver us from all our fleshly efforts, from all our do-it-yourself religion. From all the clamor of politics, and marching in the streets against abortion, nuclear power, etc. I am against abortion. I wish they had never split the atom, and I do want prayer back in our schools, but having said that, I must say more. It is useless to try to force unsaved teachers to pray, when we don't even pray in the Church. Why are you trying to get an unsaved teacher to pray with your child, when you don't have a family altar in your own home? Get the Church right, get the bitterness, the lying, the stealing, the anger out of us, and the Church will heal our society. It is the presence of God in the Church that does the healing. In the
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School of Christ International: Messages by B.H. Clendennen

book of Psalms, God says that the Red Sea fled from the presence of God in Judah. Get the Church in revival, get the Church healed spiritually, and the presence of God in the Church will cause the criminals to leave our streets. When the Word of God was lost in the Old Testament, they did not find it in the schoolhouse, they found it in the house of God. That is where it was lost in the first place. I am talking about the unselfish disciple, that one who has been bought with a price. Do we want God to work miracles in our Churches? Do we want the Holy Spirit to work? Then we must stop grieving Him our selfishness.

— B. H. Clendennen

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