Shot Down By Christ!

sword_spirit“Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the kings enemies whereby the people fall under thee.”  (Psalm 45:5).

Why does the Psalmist employ the metaphor of arrows and war?  It is because Christ is the ultimate conqueror!  Does that startle you about Jesus Christ?  How can he be the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and at the same time be “a man of war” (Exodus 15:3). Christ “is Faithful and True and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” (Rev. 19:11).  This is not war like we see in the world today. He does not use man made weapons, nor is he interested in real estate since he has a rightful claim to own all the earth (Ps. 24:1; Isaiah 66:1-2).  But he chooses on conquering the human heart and he uses spiritual arrows.

The scriptures use the picture of warfare because the bloodiest fighting  in all history was waged upon Mount Calvary where Jesus died for sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)!   The Bible says, “His “robe is dipped in blood and his name is the Word of God” (Rev. 19:13)! The living personified Word of God proclaims his sacrifice for sin, in the symbol of “his robe dipped in blood.” In war the enemies blood is spilled, but in this war Christ spilled his blood and became victor. The blood stained banner of the Cross is the flag of victory.  There is not a day that goes by where The Son of God whose  does not engage the human heart and mind to win it to himself and save them from destruction. No one comes to Christ easily! 

The Lord Jesus Christ fights in a sitting position (Ps. 110:1)  to save those inwtj_throne_ls_1 danger of losing their eternal souls  and he exacts justice upon those who stubbornly refuse to change (Isa. 42:13). In the time in which we live, Christ redemptively subdues the hearts of the men and women of this world. He will overthrow sin through the message of gospel. The Bible states that he waits expectantly until his foes become his footstool and his worst, his most hated enemy will be saved for the final coupe de grâce –death (1 Cor 15:25-26; Heb 10:13). 

The Bible says that these arrows “are sharp.  They are not blunt but exact, precise and intentional. They are able to cut through the excuses of people by razor sharp grace and power.  Through the teaching of the scripture the Spirit of Christ shoots down the root issues of argumentation, twisted thinking and barriers to the truth of God. The minister of the gospel acts like a  “crossbow” preaching the cross of Christ and he  launches the message of the gospel out of the quiver (the case that holds arrows) of the scripture. 

How important it is that the preacher must have weight in his message and force in his words! He has an incredible arsenal at his disposal-in the word of truth, the scriptures. The pastor must be like Jonathan and shoot arrows that send a precise message (1 Sam 20:18-42)! When someone begins to understand the Cross they will be cut to the heart with its truth.

When a courageous man preaches the message of the cross it is a gospel arrow that is shot into the deepest part of a person as the only means to awaken and regenerate that dead soul. You will know when a man is preaching the scripture by its character and disposition. It is a two edged sword (Heb 4:12) and God asks,“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”   If it is not like that, it is not the Word! Look, the human heart is not a soft target. The heart is so hard before it comes to Christ it must be struck hard by a gospel hammer in order to be broken. The heart is so rigid it must be melted by fiery preaching.  The gospel is an act of compassionate aggression to fight for those who are “against themselves” and oppose their own spiritual welfare and salvation (2 Tim 2:25). Oh,  I pray that if you do not know Christ as Savior and Lord that the Spirit of God would slay the bondage of sin in your life by the power of his word!

christ1The problem with many preachers today is that they want to do not want to cause any pain in the hearts of people by the scalpel of the word so they medicate them with messages that numb their symptoms. Let us weep in prayer before God and ask his mercy that the Holy Spirit would not only operate in our church gatherings but perform operations on the hearts of those who hear the man behind the pulpit and the remove the malignant sin that has killed them and regenerate their souls that they might repent of sin and turn to God. “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” (Hosea 6:1NIV).

They are also shot “in the heart of the King’s enemies.”  Who are these targeted enemies?  People who do not know Christ are called the enemies of God and are hostile to God and prove it by their thinking and actions (Col 1:21).  The worldly mind hates God (Rom 8: 7). Christ loves these enemies, like Saul of Tarsus, who was rushing headlong to destruction (Acts 9),  he must stop them by Sovereign Grace and this involves the launching of these Divine arrows!  He shoots at close range and the arrow strikes with force that is point blank and they enter into the very core of the human being.  Sinner interrupted! He aims a spined arrow that cannot be easily removed! Oh how people need to be convicted of sin, struck through with the sharp arrow of the accurate gospel as Charles Spurgeon says, “Whether for love or vengeance, Christ never misses aim, and cause{s}… a wound which only he can heal.” 

Whereby the people fall under thee.   Christ causes people to fall. His message brings fallout. There are those, how sad, of whom the Bible says, that Christ is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Pet. 2:8).  Oh, how fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living God! And there are those who will fall in line with Christ, who will be enlisted by his call to follow him as disciples of Christ.

But Christ’s arrows will cause people to fall. He is Lord of heaven and earth and how ominous are his words in the Gospel of Luke, “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Luke 20:18). Those who come must be broken of all their ideas, all their rebellion, they must be regenerated and given new life and God will be near to them as they repent and are contrite in spirit. But others will have the stone fall upon them and will be crushed! Oh I am sorry for you if you do not repent of your sins! Christ can by no means clear the clear the guilt of those who refuse to embrace Him as Lord of everything! They will be crushed to dust and blown away by the wind like stubble! Eternity is a moment away, will you not turn to Christ for salvation?  Is the arrow he has launched into you, stinging with pain enough to make you turn to him for healing?

cornerstone02 Christ comes into the human heart and exposes the real enemy: sin and then he shoots at it by the message of the cross! The arrow causes the human soul to seek the forgiveness and deliverance of Christ from a life dominated by sin as if it were a lethal disease that he needs to be cured from.  They must go to Jesus by whose wounds they can be healed (Isa. 53:5).

“For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.” (Isaiah 66:16).  There is the fire of God for condemnation and the fire of the Spirit for sanctification. There is a sword that brings salvation and there is a sword that brings damnation. No matter, in the end God will get the glory! Either your old life will be slain and you will be given a new life or you will be slain in the “second death” of the Lake of fire! Christ never misses those he aims at whether for salvation or damnation.

The message of the cross of Christ is the most sharp instrument that demonstrates the love and justice of God (Rom. 3:25-26; 5:10).  When Christ and his accomplishments are lifted up he draws with irresistible grace all those he effectually calls!  Obviously, it is threatening when we see Christ shooting at people!  It may be seen by some in an negative light because Christ shoots in justice against sin, but if we understand it  in terms of God bringing back to life the human spirit and saving their soul from eternal hell it is good news!  Whether people seem near to coming to Christ or far from God as they can it does not matter! Be encouraged and warned! No one is out of his range and you are never far from his reaching, saving hand! But sin no more unless a worse thing comes upon you and you fall unable to recover.

Advertisements

The Mud and Water of the Gospel

healing_of_the_blind_man_jekelNotice that beautiful phrase: “And Jesus passed by.” Did you see it? Oh how I long for you to see him passing by you right now. Jesus the Messiah, God in the flesh, the same one Moses saw when, “the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” (Ex 34:6). Jesus passed by this man, stopped what he was doing and stooped down to help him. 

 

There were many beggars, many blind people but he did not stop for them. But he stopped for this man! Why? Grace! The Sovereign grace of God! He says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” (Rom 9: 15-16ESV). Will Jesus pass by you? Will he see you  and where you are at and help you with his presence and power? There are those in the church who wonder why they do not experience more of the presence of God.  Like Jeremiah we feel like God is a visiting guest staying only for a night (Jer. 14:8). I think we need the mud and water of the gospel!

 

Oh, I would like to pray like Elisha, “O LORD, please open the eyes of these people that they may see the son of Man, Jesus Christ walking in the midst of his church” (see 2 Kings 6:15-17; Rev. 1: 12, 13). There are people that do not realize that Jesus is passing your way! Throughout your life he lifted you to his cheek. Like a doting parent he taught you how to walk, leading you gently by the hand but you did not know or even care he led you through life with gentle cords of kindness and love (Hosea 11:1-4). Ah we are truly God chosen frozen! We need a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit! In our services have we forgotten that Jesus is walking down the aisle moving through every seat, touching people at the altar who are praying!  He says he desires the works of God to be seen in our lives! All it takes is some gospel mud and water!

 

Ah, but we want Jesus Christ to come to us on our terms! We want something that will blow us up, shake us up, and fire us up! At one time God told Elijah, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12).  The Lord was not in the show! He was in a whisper, a gentle sound of quiet stillness! Ah, that is where we miss it! The man in our story was not deaf! He could hear the words of the still, small calming voice of the Savior! This man was not blown up, shaken up, or fired up! But after some spittle, a little mud, and washing his face in a pool he could see!  But the voice of Jesus is so powerful a whisper can make all the difference. Do you hear his whispers?  By God’s grace you may not see everything that is being told you tonight but you can hear it. All it takes is some mud and water of the gospel!

 

“He saw a man blind from birth.” Jesus saw this man and he sees those who are lost in darkness. The blind man did not once ask Jesus for sight! This shows again salvation is not finding God or knowing God but God finding us and knowing us (Gal 4:9)! You have not been looking for him because you have no eyes to see! How helpless people are without Christ! The Bible says they are “without strength” (Rom 5:6) to repent (Prov. 5:22), have faith (Mt. 13:58) and pray (Isa. 64:7),  it is like they are curled up in a fetal position unable even to help themselves! They cannot even purse their lips to whisper a prayer for what they really need! But Jesus saw him!  He sees you are the very person he has been looking for to put his forgiving love on display. Dr. Jesus only comes for the sick, not the healthy!  But just one look from Jesus, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” (Isa. 35:5).

 

We are clear that the context of the story is that this man or his family’s sin did not bring this blindness upon him, but this scripture is a case and point for those who are spiritually blind. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Eph 4:18). This man was born into a world of darkness and those who do not know Christ are living in complete spiritual blindness.  Many of you have taken the life God has given you and live a life of blindly sinning against him. You cannot even find him because you have no eyes. But the Alpha and Omega, The beginning and the End, the First and the Last, he who is “Everything” has passed your way tonight, and he is looking for you. He has eyes that penetrate the thickest darkness and can restore sight in this simple place of prayer by the simple mud and water of the gospel.

 

The most brilliant light cannot be seen by a corpse. You cannot see the beautiful shadow of the Son of God if you are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). The Bible says that there is a darkness that is so dark it can be felt (Ex 10:21-23).  It is a gloomy thick darkness that chokes the atmosphere of your life. “A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” (Job 10:22). Do you have a spiritual pulse? Oh it is the work of God to pass by you in this dead condition and he will say, “Live!” (Ezek 16:6). Even now if in your heart you are saying, “Let me live!” there is already a spiritual pulse in your life. Even now you are coming to life by the presence of Christ and the simple mud and water of the gospel!

 

Then it is amazing grace that God has shown you to hear Jesus whisper your name.  To hear the sweet voice of Jesus whisper in your ears as He says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world! I must work the works of him that sent me, night cometh when no man can work.”  Christ’s life and ministry were like the sunrise that blossoms into a noon time sun on the whole world and his death would be like the sunset and then night. The Father set a time for Jesus to come who arose like “the Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2).

 

Oh that is the mercy of God if you can hear his voice even now! I pray he will speak the word to your heart. You cannot run from his smiling face, His face full of pity and compassion for you. He can find you wherever you are at this very moment. The word of God, the Bible, is living and powerful and that is why God is talking this way to you at this moment. He can speak the word “Let there be light!” and that light can penetrate into the darkest life in less time than it takes to say those words! 

 

He whispers to you “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph 5:14). The word that he speaks is like, “a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts!” (2 Peter 1:19).  That dark place means, “A parched, squalid, dirty, dark, neglected murky” place (Vincent)! Oh like the first star in the morning he will rise into the darkest night of your life- that is the beginning of what we call illumination (Heb 10:32). It is a special work of God that imbues (soaks and make a soul rich) in the light of salvation (Thayer). In a moment that midnight darkness will see at first the glimmer of the bright and morning star Jesus Christ and as he comes closer your soul will be turn into a noonday of mercy and grace. Only then can you really say, “I was blind but now I see!” It is all because of the Mud and Water of the Gospel! 

 

The text goes on to say, “When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  There are many interpretations about the clay and spittle. He created eyes in him like when God created Adam from the dust of the ground (Gen 2:7). I especially like what ancient Christian father taught, “For he spat in a human fashion, yet his spittle was charged with deity, for therewith he caused the eyes of the man born blind…to receive sight” (Athanasius). 

I think if Jesus used some kind of medicine the religious people would have started selling it on their cable networks! But the simplicity of the spittle, clay and pool are found in the preaching of the gospel!  The gospel offers life from the dead and sight for those who will respond to his voice! All the motivational speaking, relevant preaching cannot give life like the ancient message of the Bible. It is never out of date.  Sometimes gospel spittle, smearing some gospel mud, and telling people to get to the gospel pool is what it takes! Because it shows that the power is not in the mud and the water but in Christ! God is the Savior not us! 

 

Jesus ordered that blind man to wash in the pool of Siloam, Shiloam or Shiloh. It was a mikvah or a ritual bath designed for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Isaiah reproaches the men of his time, that they despise the softly flowing waters of Siloam and preferred the rapid and impetuous streams of the world (Isaiah 8:6). They want loud entertaining religious shows not quiet cleansing pools. What is the sense of being religious if you are stained or defiled with sin! Christ wants to cleanse you from sin!

 

The mikvah also points to the bridal bath.  Paul refers to the bride of Christ the church and that Christ died for he “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Eph 5:26). This is a type of going to that pool and washing yourself in the Word of God, you hear it and read it and it washes and cleanses you from sin (John 17:17). When Christ commanded him to go and wash when he washed he found out that, “The commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes!” (Ps 19:8). 

 

The meaning of Siloam is Sent. It refers not to a pool but the Sent One of which the Bible says, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Gen 49:10).  It is not where you are sent but who is sent to you. True Christian faith is not just being sent to something or somewhere but it is God sending Christ to us-it’s the theme of the entire Bible. At this moment, we pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would come and make your life a new creation. He is simply coming to you using the mud and water of the gospel to open your eyes!