The Love Behind the Words

The last time we discussed the wonder of the Holy Spirit’s work of heart in Psalm 45. Here we see the results.

The sweet singer of Israel says, “His heart is “indicting a good matter.”

This is word carries a different meaning than the english word for “indict.” In the original Hebrew language it  means to bubble up and overflow. In this Psalm the song writers heart steadily boils and then overflows at what it understands.  His teaching in song (Eph 5:19-20) serves to reveal Christ. The saint serves God with heartfelt affection and gratitude! I know we joke about God’s chosen frozen, but there is no room for a frigid, aloof relationship with the Savior of our souls! The problem with church people and preachers is Jesus is not quite enough for them! Preaching the cross seems too simple for them despite their abject ignorance of  penal substitutionary atonement. Calvary is not the Gospel 101 and we move on to better or deeper things-it is our doctorate of divinity! It is the love behind the words!

Christians are men and women who have been given access to the Holy of holies by the blood of Christ (Heb 10:19) and there like Moses they may hear and read the written word of God (Heb. 4:12) and see his ultimate Word in Christ (Heb 1:1-2).  The Bible says, “Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The LORD spoke to him from there.” (Num. 7:89NLT). The LORD spoke to him from there. Where? The place of atonement? Only the Bible can bring us directly to the place where Christ’s blood and cross still speak his love to his own people through the gospel!  Christ and his gospel, his love behind the Words, is the only cure for men’s sin sick souls and the power of God that raises them from among the spiritually dead!

The one who truly stands in His presence will melt  and their eyes fill with tears as they see the battered body of Jesus on Calvary! We see his pain, his forsakeness and it comforts us in our trials and we give that gospel comfort to those in need (2 Cor 1:3-6). Ah how we look for the finely crafted hand made, melted and molded preacher of the pure gospel and not these factory cookie-cutter models of today! These are the weathered Shulamites among all the sterile daughters of Jerusalem (Song 1:5-6). They may not be attractive, people are repulsed by their sun baked blackness and brokeness as they derided Jesus on the cross (Mk 15:29) but God has ordained that these people are his workmanship (Eph 2:10) and they are those who know their God, who LOVE their God and that have served him graciously and humbly no matter the trials or circumstances. You don’t have to be good-looking and talented to be a vessel for the Master-just one who has endured the storm with this testimony, you pleased God (Heb 11:5) and speak with love behind the words.

This Psalm is an outburst of one who loves the Lord who has knowledge of the holy (Prov. 9:10) and unlike so many rude, meaningless, emotional outbursts that distract us from true worship these days, this directs us to “seeing him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:27).  We must point with forthtelling  prophecy to Christ for their welfare. Paul says, “But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.” (1 Cor. 14:3NLT).  We need MEN (and I mean MEN) who can mark the Word of the Lord! Jeremiah asks, “For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?” (Jer. 23:18). This is the churches greatest advantage over the enemies of the Lord. In these days of apostasy how there is need for an intelligible, clear and meaningful sound from those who preach.

There is so much false doctrine these days it is like chasing pillow feathers, we must preach Christ crucified as the cure for sin and error! People must not only repent of sin but false ideas about God. The Holy Spirit will convince and cross-examine (oh what a thought) of their need of Christ (John 16:8).  May the preacher cross-examine his congregation. What I mean is preach the cross so that they will examine their hearts (1 Cor 11:28)! “As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.” (1 Cor 14:25NLT).

I must also add that our friend the psalmist heart began to become full and gush with so much love that he felt compelled to speak the revelation he received to bring relief to his soul. For example, in Luke 3:2 it says that, “the word of God came unto John” or it came upon (epi) John. It pressed down upon him and exerted force. This teaches that there is a Divine pressure that comes upon a man who loves Christ in that he must preach Christ in order to sense release in obedience. There is a weight with which the Word of God is carried by a man (Jer. 23:38). I doubt if we could even see a finer example of the superintendency of the Spirit of God in breathing the scriptures into the hearts of men. May God in his mercy grant those who preach his word that if our message be not from the Lord that our tongue would cleave to the roof of our mouths and if it is his message that we would be free to speak (Ezek 3:26-27)! Oh that God would grant us men in the pulpit that could not feel relief unless they obediently preached the Word of God as written.

Those of us who have settled the issue of the Holy Spirit’s power in the authorship of the Bible sometimes fail to see the Divine love that was in the weeping pens of the writers. The love of God was poured into their hearts (Rom. 5:5)! Like a cloudburst of rain upon a parched and dry countryside so the love of God is poured into our hearts from these Bible words. We have a dire need for true gospel preachers whose hearts have been warmed by being with God in the oracle room of the written Word (1 Kings 6). In that place there is only one light-the candlestick of the Holy Spirit that illuminates their hearts with understanding (Eph. 1:17) and that room has no place for the counsel of the ungodly (Ps. 1:1) and there they learn the love behind the Words.

The love of God constrained the writers of scripture (2 Cor 5:14). They sensed not only obligation but divinely inspired devotion as they wrote. Most translators see this as the word constrain as “control”, but from what I have derived is the love of Christ pressed in on them, motivated them and took up their thoughts!  It gave them focus, it kept them in a straight line.

It is amazing what happens to the heart when it is focused on Christ! When John preached in the wilderness his message carried a sense of urgency because Christ was coming. There is much teaching about foretelling prophecy these days, one for every mood or opinion. But John’s message was not just eschatological but Christological. He pointed to Christ in his message!

Such is the direction in the torrents of the river of scripture. It rushes toward Christ and when he arrives there is nothing more that needs to be said (Heb 1:1-2). Could it be that the Spirit of God caused such a love for Christ in the hearts of apostles and prophets that they wrote down the testimony of the scriptures in an unbroken, elegant and fluent manner that could only be described as the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Is it any wonder that when a true child of God reads the scripture he begins to shed tears or rejoice every time he beholds in the mirror of scripture the love behind the words, the glory of the Lord Jesus?

© 2011 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

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A Work of Heart

“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45:1-2).

We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at his unspeakable love.  ~John Owen

I preached this Psalm in a message a very long time ago about a Christ I only thought I knew.  Since that time, God delivered me from false doctrine and now as he gives me strength I will not let him go but bring him into my mother’s house, the church.  I will attempt to write on this psalm for the next few weeks. So many groups only carry in their doctrinal flash drive a certain facet of Christ and church is only seen as a USB port to plug it into. Those who do not proclaim those pet doctrines enough are in their eyes lesser Christians or not Christians at all. The worst false doctrine is to exalt the distinctive of one group, it is imbalanced and will certainly lead to error.  We ought to exalt Christ alone. We must always insist that in Psalm forty-five as in the other scriptures we would see Jesus (John 12:21).  This is the goal of scripture, to reveal the living Christ, walking among his Church and conquering the world by a redemptive kingdom.

The first thing the songwriter mentions is his heart. He says, “my heart.” The heart think, feels and here it writes. This is a heart felt Psalm. Did you know that the heart is mentioned over nine hundred and fifty times in the scripture? So we are assured that the heart is a biblical doctrine. The heart is the nucleus of human affection, desire and thought. It is our inner nature. It is synonymous with “the hidden man” (1 Pet. 3:4) and “the inner man” (2 Cor. 4:16).

It is God’s goal to capture the heart, he calls to a person by His Word, thus the preacher ought not just appeal to the head but the heart.  Ah that men would preach and it would cause a blue flame that burns with a love for the words of Christ! That Christ would dwell in the hearts by faith and his word grow and prevail in their heart!

Psalm forty-five is not just a work of art, but “a work of heart” sweetly performed by the gentle Holy Spirit.  The Psalm instructs those who read and sing it regarding the husband/wife relationship between Christ and his church, much like the books Song of Songs and Hosea which should be used as an encouragement to the church when she is overwhelmed by trials and failure.

Here we see the heroic Savior, Christ the Beautiful, the Divine King of Kings, full of grace and blessing. He is God the Son, Supreme ruler over the church and the universe (Heb. 1:8). Here God the Son in his everlasting love  draws the Psalmist  into the inner chamber of his Word and we will run after him!

God creates by his command a pure and true heart in us (Heb. 10:22; 1 Tim. 1:5 ) as he did when “commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts.”  (2 Cor. 4:6). What is the light in our hearts?  It is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  This is when we become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).  As light is to the eyes so is understanding to the heart, that is what we call illumination.  The heart of the psalmist is flooded with spiritual light (Eph. 1:17).  As Charles Spurgeon comments, “The eyes of a true heart see more than the eyes of the head.”  Here is the key to understanding Christ: grace, it is all of grace! 

Oh this it is this the priceless gift of grace that God has made to be stored in the hearts of his elect children. The heart that understands is a heart that has been opened by the presence of Christ (Acts 16:14) and has been set on fire  by the words of Christ (Luke 24:32).  

Can you hear the Holy Spirit today with a still small voice and if you hear his voice do not be stubborn and harden not your heart, “And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me.” (Gen 24:49).  Is there a work of heart yet to be done in you?

 

(c) 2011 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

Stuck on the Steeple

Recently two men were stuck at a height of 122 feet in a construction bucket which stopped working and lodged against a New Jersey church steeple for hours before they were rescued. These men were working on a restoration project, according to the church’s pastor. Not even the fire department could help them.  As surreal as it seems, the New Jersey State Police dispatched two helicopters to assist those men! After about three hours, the men were taken down by a basket hooked to a crane. The Pastor was thankful and even prayed with those that helped.

I wonder what it would be like to listen to these men tell the story to their friends and family about the day they were stuck on the steeple.

I am not here to blame the pastor for that nightmare, and the breakdown of equipment.  I am not against church repairs. But for the sake of illustration, I wonder about pastors who are more like religious business owners and whose focus is on how tall the “steeple” of the church more than the souls of their people.  There is a sermon  here in fact, it is very possible churches and church goers are stuck on the steeple. I am prompted to advise pastors with the scripture,

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds.” (Prov 27:23)

This passage encourages the pastor to know the faces or the state of his sheep, to put his heart into the condition of those that God has entrusted to his care. The pastor has a job to know the condition of the souls of the people he pastors, nothing else is more important. Soul work is hard work and all the work done in a church should flow the condition of people’s hearts.

Pastors today feel the lure of the new models of religious marketing and church growth. That shining serpent beckons to them and promises them freedom from “old religious ways”  and to attract more crowds to church in the name of love and healing. I am concerned that they may have forgotten their true call, to care for their sheep.  I have seen pastors and churches advertise and market programs and go light on preaching. When they do preach, they are sloppy on the gospel.

There is a possibility of involving people so much in “God’s Work” that they get end up in a dangerous situation. In seemingly thriving churches I have seen adultery, drug abuse and financial controversy. How could this happen? They are stuck on the steeple. Pastors may be putting people  in danger, because their agenda has become their gospel.  We shuld love helping the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry we should do it without a second thought but these things are NOT the gospel. Man cannot live on bread alone. Full stomachs can result in anorexic souls.

I have been part of churches where Sunday after Sunday they push small groups, leadership programs, denominational conferences so much that it becomes forced. It is like an arranged marriage to an ugly partner. The religious peer pressure kicks in and you either get left out or singled out.

The bottom line is not the project it is the condition of people souls! Their souls are more important than any agenda you may have. Is what you are doing, contributing to a dangerous situation for them spiritually?

Many of these pastors seem promote membership and Churchianity.  They preach with passion the importance of attendance and faithful tithing. If only they would preach the cross and exposit scripture with such fire! They quote Hebrews 10:25 and have the nerve to shake their finger at people for neglecting the fellowship. But I wonder, what is the sense of going to church when they nauseatingly preach a man centered message to a gospel hardened people?

I have heard messages that were not messages at all. I have heard pastors talking about sex until it bordered on soft porn. I have hjerad them use vulgarity when preaching. I have heard them preach on finances until you felt like you were going to work and they were about to sell you a new 401k plan. They act like stand up comedians who use the Bible as a punchline. Many look like slobs and act like slobs. They will show movies, plays and concerts in place of what used to be Sunday morning worship. This is a bad dream and “Ouch!” that pinch hurts when you realise you are wide awake.  It breaks my heart. When you confront these things all you hear from these same people is that you are “religious” “judgmental” or pharasaical! That gets old fast mainly because it is so unoriginal.

How many more churches and preachers must be exposed for their malpractice until they repent!  Some men see people problem and clear themselves of the blame saying it is this or that person’s fault. But they say that are praying for them. Oh you will pray for them? Ah, to little too late. 

Recently, the Michael Jackson wrongful death case was blazed in the media. Dr. Conrad Murray was found guilty.  He gave drugs to this troubled man who was depressed, full of anxiety and despite all his success and charity was empty inside. The man that should have helped him heal, created the perfect storm in his body and killed him. We do not know all the wherewithal about this case still, but we know that a Doctor who was supposed to keep an oath to care for the welfare of his patient literally gave him the drip of death. We are aghast at this! Yet how much more those who give the drip of death to the soul.

You are being charged with malpractice by the Surgeon General of Souls! If you continue to go against the scripture or only use scripture as a garnish for the toxic candy you serve people God will remove your license to practice. The salt is in danger of losing its savor. Repent now, help those people stuck on the steeple you have made!

Imagine your people stranded to the point where the world has to come in and “rescue” them. We surrender our problematic people and flock to the programs of men, their philosophy, their psychology and counsel. We exalt the counsel of the wicked to help them and because we have laid aside God’s Word, his true grace, true love and true forgiveness. The repair of their souls cannot be found in the hands of those like Absalom who kiss them and steal their hearts from the Lord. People who call themselves Christians live dangerously close to the world and not for the gospel. I watch them dabble in all sorts of witchcraft, violence, idolatry of all kinds and I wonder what are they hearing in church? Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?

Stop using the pulpit for idiocy! You are endangering the souls of your people! Stop being an activities director, a marriage counselor or financial guru and start looking at the faces of your flock. Look at them burned out on the steeple, forced  to work in man-made vineyard and yet neglecting their own spiritual vintage. Start preaching and ministering to their hearts.  Look at your people, they are miserable, on the verge of spiritual collapse stuck on the steeple you sent them to repair. They trusted you as their pastor and you are more like a taskmaster.  Repent now, your candlestick is in danger of being removed!  Look to God’s Word for your guidance. He will show you the path and he will make it clear how to minister to your people. He loves them. He will rescue them. Let God’s glory and their spiritual welfare be your goal. Let God speak to them through you by his Word, and he will rescue them from being stuck on the steeple.

God is sending help to rescue these people from these taskmasters and their steeples. Just like in the Garden of Eden he will expose these lies for what they are and all your fig leaf suits and hiding behind your Bible won’t stop his presence from exposing it!

 (c) 2011 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.