JESUS KNOWS YOU

PS 139“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.”

Do you realize how much God KNOWS you. He knows your heart. You do not have to be afraid of that knowledge.

If you are a child of God. God no longer sees a heart that is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Why would he? That was the old you. That was B.C.

He loved you as a sinner. Christ died for you as a sinner. He took your sins to the cross and forgave you, forever. This power of the gospel cannot be underestimated.

God has given you a new heart! He has put a new spirit in you! You no longer have a heart of stone-he removed it. Now you have a soft heart and God’s Spirit dwells in you. His decrees and laws are written on the very fiber of your being.

This is all his work and it is marvelous in our eyes and he delights in you.

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DEFINE FOR ME, “PENTECOSTAL”

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THERE WAS NEVER A GREATER NEED FOR A GENUINE PERPETUATION OF PENTECOST IN THIS LAST HOUR! To see and be part of those who have turned the world upside down with the Gospel (Acts 17:6).

At this present time in one form or another there are around three hundred million people who claim to have experienced Pentecostal blessing and being baptized in the spirit. But sadly for some and an increasing number it is only in name are they alive but in reality they are dead (Rev 3:1-2). Yes we see the wildfire folks in some groups but sound and noise does not mean motion and forward movement. It is only madness.  Others churches have little or no sense of the presence of Christ in them, very little biblical, Christ centered preaching. They are dead or about to die! How sad!  It is those that used to be vibrant are now those with the dead preachers and dead congregations.

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am NOT referring to ONE DENOMINATION OR GROUP.  I am speaking about the movement that began on the day of Pentecost known as the true expression of Christianity.

This movement reached the world in exponential time with the gospel of God’s grace: that is, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This movement in which the Lord Jesus Christ himself worked with men and women confirming what they preached by signs and wonders.

Those signs and wonders were exactly what they were: signs that pointed to Christ and things that were done by God himself that would lead people in wonder and awe of Jesus and Jesus alone.  Pentecost is not about signs and wonders. Pentecost is all about Christ who has been exalted in majesty at the right hand of God who, “hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33).

When the people saw them declare the wonderful works of God he explained, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17). 

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am not referring to the charismatic movement which has distinguished itself from the Pentecostal movement. I’m referring to those who believe that after the new birth experience all believers in Jesus are promised to be filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).

We must embrace the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while yes, it brings a greater degree of holiness, it is really more of and empowerment to be a witness for Christ and his gospel (Acts 1:8) for those who are already saved by the blood of Jesus.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings what is written in the scriptures into personal experience as the reality of the presence of Christ in the preached word and of the ministry of prayer for those who have need. The real Pentecostal resists the post modern programs and inventions for marketing the gospel and sees any lack in the church attendance, backsliddeness, sickness, deliverance as a greater need for seeking God for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit in every dimension of their lives.

© 2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. Hey give credit where credit is due!

The Conveyor Belt of Guilt

The picture that you see is an X-ray of a unnamed 36 year old Norwegian man who passed out and curled up into a fetal position on a baggage claim belt at a very busy Rome airport in August 2012, and inadvertently received this full body scan in the process.

He had arrived at the international terminal with a backpack and a can of beer in his hand and when he went to check in for his flight he found nobody on duty at the airline desk. So, he jumped over the counter and went to sleep.

Eventually, the belt began to move and took the man for a ride. It is believed he traveled for 15 minutes before his body was spotted by shocked officials in an X-ray image on their screens.

Officials say it was difficult to wake up the snoozing traveler, who was still clutching his beer as he went through the scanner and traveled 164 feet on it before anyone noticed.

If you have any kind of sense of humor this is quite the story to tell around the office.

But as I heard about this story I immediately began to think of how we are laying in a fetal position on a conveyor belt of  another kind. Did you know that when a certain people suffer extreme trauma or distress, they resort to a fetal position. It seems this is a natural reaction of the brain and the body to protect itself  and when they are no longer able to cope-the mind just shuts down for a time. Drug addicts during withdrawal or even people suffering from extreme anxiety resort to a fetal position.

This is the dangerous conveyor belt of guilt and misguided self examination on which some believers in Jesus have been crippled and traumatized by the wrong view of God and sin.

Paul says this, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Cor. 7:10NIV 1984).

There is a godly sorrow. There is a worldly sorrow. There is a sorrow that results in repentance and salvation. There is a sorrow that results in death.

There is a healthy repentance and there is a toxic regret and remorse. Repentance is a special grace, a gift of tears, a result of seeing our sin in light of the Cross. Where sin abounds grace abounds even more. The gospel offers God to the ungodly and forgiveness to the unforgiven. Repentance is a God-kind of change. Your thinking changes and the direction of your life changes as a result. You were moving away from God and His love brings you back home.  It is the gift that God gives when He releases the human will from the confinement and chains of sin and enables a person to turn to Christ for salvation.  That is repentance after a godly manner. It is a change only God can bring about.

Many Christians due to bad teaching have a caricatured view of God, a distorted view of sin and a toxic view of obedience. They actually should repent of their thinking when it comes to who God is! That is the deepest repentance one can have. They way you see God must be through the scriptures especially in light of the finished work of the Cross and New Covenant. God loves you and it is not his will you walk about in sorrow all the time.  He has forgiven you and offers a clear conscience to you and complete open access to him and his gifts.

You do not have to live in regret and call yourself a sinner all the time. Do you think that pleases God? Walking around all day thinking how unworthy and undeserving you are? It does not please God at all  that you are going around and around on this conveyor belt with the baggage of guilt. God is not hostile to you, nor does he treat you like a stranger. You are a warmly welcomed, dearly loved child of your Heavenly Father.

All this is real change is it not. It is a changed life, with a changed heart and a changed destiny.

Sadly, some Christians are dominated by a guilty conscience and consciousness. They attempt to earn forgiveness and acceptance with God by saying, “I am sorry” over and over again confessing their sin as if they were an legal accountant and there is always simmering in their heart a sense of guilt and hurt because they think God will reject them when they fail. It seeks to make such an account of sin that it must name each individual sin specifically to satisfy their conscience and God. But can one confess sin perfectly? We always leave some sin out. We cannot even do this  correctly. I get exhausted just thinking about the way I used to confess sin. This so called form of repentance is “worldly”  it is spiritually suicidal  not Christ-centered nor founded on the biblical fact that God offers forgiveness at the point of failure and mercy when we crash and burn. He gives beauty in exchange for ashes. He takes off your dense heavy overcoat of sorrow and replaces it with the light linen fabric of joy! All you need do is ask and he has answered “forgiven” before the words are on your lips.

Some of the oldest “Christian” churches in their tradition are nothing more than a mill for legalism. The conveyor belt of guilt is incorporated in their rituals. They are taught to ask for God’ mercy over and over again as if by mere words and repetitive chanting God will hear them. Ever wonder why legalistic people are so mean? Because people who feel unloved get angry. Oh that they knew they were loved by God!

We may criticize the Roman Catholics for their sacrament of penance or Eastern Orthodox for their view of Penthos but we have our Protestant penance we call it revivalism. We think by our efforts we will bring the church back to life do we not? There is only one problem- we end up looking like we are trying to kill the people who are alive. We are attempting to satisfy God and please God by our own efforts and there is no need to do that. God is at rest and reposes on the work of Christ his perfect Son on the cross. He calls us to lean with all our soul on the cross and what Jesus did for us.

The sad truth is there are so many Christians who are alive but they are wrapped in a shroud of guilt, they are camouflaged in the legalistic uniforms of remorse and joyless living that must be unwrapped by the teaching of God’s generous grace. God is rich in mercy and he has thrown open the door to his throne room of grace! He has already shown it powerfully in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God. Yet there are people who say they are saved and born again who never find any relief or rest in their hearts and they live in a fog of uncertainty about where they stand with God. It is a mindset that is hard to break and only understanding God’s generous grace can unravel the slavery of guilt fear and anxiety.

Don’t allow your guilt and disobedience to overshadow God’s grace! Repent!  You have become nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that you have been cleansed from your past sins  (see 2 Peter 1:9). You do not need to morbidly and constantly confess in the name of spirituality or godliness.  Your sin consciousness is working in reverse cornering you in sin and your attempts to keep the law is reinforcing sins grip over-making you feel dead. Like the shocked officials who found this man on the conveyor belt, may this article find those who are in the fetal position of guilt and wake you up out of this stupor of  remorse and regret!  Christ has given you a new life, a new heart and a new spirit.  It is time to move ahead.  God wants us to build on what he has started in us by grace! We mature spiritually not by riding in a helpless fetal position of the conveyor belt of keeping religious rules but by actively maturing and growing in the fruit of the Spirit.

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries. If you use this article tell people about us and where you found it. Don’t plagiarize.

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.

Upset at God’s Generosity

The Bible is very clear that God’s election, his choice, his predeterimination is based on his grace alone, not works or anything we do.  “In accordance with this decision he graciously softens the hearts, however hard, of his chosen ones and inclines them to believe, but by his just judgment he leaves in their wickedness and hardness of heart those who have not been chosen.” (Canons of Dordt, Art. 6) 

Are we angry because God saves whom he wants to save? Do we think him unjust? Or have we embraced the modern version of a “knock off” deity that is fair and universally inclusive?

“What shall we …say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Rom 9:14-18).

Christ asks, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ ” (Mt 20:15). God does not owe and is not indebted to show anyone mercy, love and grace. They are his gift.

On the other hand, God is obligated to act in justice against sin. He is holy and he hates sin (Rom 1:18). People love darkness rather than light, they hate the light, neither come to the light because their actions would be exposed (John 3:18-21).

People act in accordance with what they love most, do they not? If they love sin, they are the slave to sin. They cannot serve two masters- they will love the one or hate the other.

 Therefore, the sad case of men and women is not that they are unable to come but also that they are unwilling to come. God can only remedy this by coming to them in his Sovereign Grace.

 

© 2011 Stephen S. Gibney Soul Health Care

 

All material may be reproduced and distributed for edification, just leave a note that it was our article, please.

 

The Struggle with the Godhood of God

The scriptures are very clear about the Godhood of God. The Bible says,

“That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:6).

All emotional reactions and experiences aside, He alone is God.  The very original and conventional sin of man is pride. It is self idolatry. Pride deifies man and makes him in control of his destiny and life. We are not only uncomfortable with the fact with the freedom of God’s power and “he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. ” (Ps 115:3) but we have an aversion to it.  He makes choices, he decides what is best and for us because he is God and whether we like it or not it is done. God is relentless and unstoppable. When it comes to salvation, God who is mighty to save them who are, “predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Eph. 1:11).

Saying, I don’t believe something does not make that truth go away.  Being inept at explaining that truth does not make it wrong and being a Christian and still struggling with that truth does not you a bad Christian.

My issue is that Pastors and preachers feel God has called them to be a spiritual public relations person for Christ. It is despicable reinterpreting God in terms, “He meant to say this…” or, “When he did this he actually was…” We are called to be spokesmen for God, to say all he has commanded, not to decode the scripture into oblivion.

With all the talk about trusting God I really think we are suspicious of him. It seems his freedom to do things with which we do not agree with is intact.  I know I still struggle with my own uncertainties.  If I did not struggle, I would doubt my own salvation. For struggle is the very essence of spiritual life.

The Bible is clear, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30).

It is pretty scary predestination and all. It is at first terrifying and then comforting.  

Should all truth make us comfortable?

That is a joke.

Is that true faith? 

For people who decry lying, we sure hate honesty, yet honesty has a way keeping both feet on terra firma.

Perhaps faith is when you grapple with some truth and are afraid of it-is that not faith as well?  This is not a rationalization of being double minded and half hearted. It it about being able to explain genuine faith or explaining in terms of embracing the belief in one God who predestines all things.

Does the ability to explain or lack thereof effect your faith? I struggle everyday with trust in GOD’s plans and purposes for my own life. The calm assurance that I have at times is much more precious than trillions of bailout dollars.

 The logical conclusion to predestination is a strange mix and fear and confidence. But the Godhood of God is a fact. One may speculate and struggle with it but in the end when we see he has done all things well,  we submit in surrender to him.

DO NOT DISHONOR GOD’S NAME

“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”  (Isa. 33:22).

The last time we focused on the immensity of God the LORD. This message is much more sobering because it deals with God’s holiness and the grievous sin and error of  misusing God’s name and titles. God’s  name shows all that He is.  It shows God’s disclosure to us, pulling back the curtain on all his attributes. The recent controversy calling the God of the Bible the Islamic name of  “Allah” is seen as blasphemy according to scripture.

That is among the many reasons why we should hallow his name and never at any time misuse it. Understanding something about His name should produce a holy horror and a sense of scared sacredness in our hearts!  This is not theophobia. In fact,  it is only because of people’s love of sin and hate of God, that they see him as dangerous and they run away in fear from Him (Gen. 3: 10; Ex. 20:18-20). 

I know many men do not preach this way today, but the Bible does not give us a surface report of the human condition. It gives us a diagnostic of the human heart and life and exposes its depravity for all to see.  Oh how I long for men of God who will teach people, “the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezek. 44:23). People may have redefined the fear of God to the point that even their definition of it as “reverence” is watered down. It is not just respect. It is loving God for all he is: His wrath and peace, his love and holiness. They are devoted to Him for who He is, even if it scares them they want to know and become closer to Him. 

The Bible teaches in the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7).   The Word “vain”  is sheqer in Hebrew which means all that associates God’s name to anything that is deceptive or false (Ps 119:29).  It is anything that misrepresents, defames, blasphemes his name. “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19:12NLT). We should not even  “idly utter”  his name (Ex. 20:4 Darby).

Blasphemy  is a serious sin (Lev 24:16).  People have such hardness of heart and a dangerous willful rebellion and ignorance when it comes to holy things. 

The Hebrew word for blasphemy is nĕ’atsah. It means a disgust and hatred considering God unworthy of respect (2 Kings 19:3)  and it also involves actions that provoke God’s anger (Neh 9:18, 26).  The Greek word blasphēmias paints a picture of  character assassination upon God Almighty (Mt. 12:31)  with disrespectful actions and speech that  brings disgrace to God’s majesty (Col. 3:8; Rev. 13:6).

God is offended by disrespect and it  provokes him to holy anger (Rom 1:18). The Bible says, “ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:15).  “For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.” (Ps. 139:20).  God is so insulted by this that  he says he will punish anyone who dishonors his name, as a Judge would sentence a criminal and, “he will not hold him guiltless.” 

This sin is so often committed and is so obvious that there is no need to illustrate it. We should avoid using God’s name as a swear word or meaningless exclamation. We are not to commit blasphemy which means we are not to use his name flippantly, tell jokes about God or spiritual things, laugh at spiritual things or connect anything that relates God, Christ, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost  to profanity because all these violate the third commandment.

I have heard even some “brethren” justify their use of profanity with some lame cultural arguments. It is clear that anger is connected to cursing and profanity. It is a sinful habit. When it comes to saying, “Oh my God!” a common exclamation we have developed, it would help us to know that it is profanity  in any other use than prayer. It’s very simple. Do not connect God, Christ, Lord or the Holy Spirit to anything except in testimony, preaching and prayer-period.

It can also be the misinterpretation and misapplication of scripture by false doctrine (Deut. 13). It is a violation of God’s law to attach God’s name or approval to something that  human beings came up with on their own (Deut 18:20-22). This is something every pastor, expositor, preacher and teacher should keep in the forefront of what they say: does what I teach and preach glorify and represent God Almighty correctly. The idea that the preacher gets behind the pulpit as a humble servant and representative of God should bring a godly fear to his heart.

Notice the prophetic role of the preacher is seen simply in this: preach the Words of God as he conveys it in scripture.  Do not add anything to it, do not take away from it, tell them what I tell you. Anything else is vanity. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Tim 4:16).

Misusing or taking God’s name in vain can be  seen as saying one thing and acting in another way: hypocrisy,  offensive unchristian behavior and backsliding. This is always a danger for those who profess to know Christ as Savior. That is why the King prays,  “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” (Prov. 30:7-9). Matthew McMahon (my favorite Presbyterian) puts it this way, ” …When we profess God’s name but do not live answerably to it. It means we live hypocritically. Thomas Watson said, “pretended holiness is merely double wickedness.” Whenever we do not live up to the call of the Christian life, we take God’s name in vain. We are mirrors that should reflect the perfection of God. If the mirror claims to be Christ’s and reflects tendencies of hell, then we use the name of Christ in vain, and people see that.” 

There is a relatively unknown passage (as far as the exposition of it goes) in the book of Leviticus that illustrates the serious nature of this subject: “And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.” (Lev. 24:11-16).

While that was an unforgivable blasphemy. People will still protest, “Oh well, that is the Old Testament.”  But it is still a sin in either Testament and payback of sin is spiritual death (Rom. 6:23).  This is not to promote a legalistic nitpicking about every word you say-so be cautious about that. Blasphemy falls under what the Bible calls presumptuous sins or a willful reckless, unthinking rebellion against God which despises his Word (Num 15:30-31; Ps 19:13). Whereas all manner of sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that a person that is not a child of God commits, “shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Mt 12:32).  There are certain sins that result in physical death (1 John 5:16) even among Christians for which God chastises them with death and calls them home. Christians once saved do not die spiritually, but some sins causes God to discipline them by physical death.  

This happened when the Corinthians approached the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy, undiscerning manner (1 Cor 11:23-34).  Some of them became sick and some even died (1 Cor 11:30) I know pretty scary-and this is the New Testament!  That is why the Bible says,  “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1 Cor 11:31-32).

People misuse and take the Lord’s name in vain so much these days, to correct others would be like cutting open a pillow and chasing its feathers. This is not to be legalistic but we do have a responsibility to confront people. “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” (Lev. 5:1).  God’s law is for all people but I think this applies more to people who should know better an profess to be Christians!  How is it they can swear, use profanity or take the Lord’s name in vain? Among Christians this should be a settled issue. We should avoid abusive, corrupt, obscene, filthy, foul language (Eph 4:29, 5:4; Col. 3:8) and never misuse God’s name.  As brethren we are accountable to one another for the witness of the gospel should be seen in our words and actions.

What about the unsaved or unbeliever? Some people might say, “Well it’s not me but I am around it every day at work or when I visit my unsaved family. What am I supposed to do? I can’t keep rebuking and correcting them.”   We are concerned as appearing self-righteous (but we should be more concerned about God’s glory) yet I would like to offer  some plausible  imaginative ways of approaching this.

When people at my work place break this commandment (which they do creatively and continually)  I have found if I am in the vicinity they apologize.

Funny how that works right?

They know what I believe and they think they are offending me. I appreciate that. I attempt not to be snotty or discourteous with them but I sometimes say, “You did not sin against me!” 

Or I will smile and say, “Don’t speak about God that way he is bigger than you!”

Sometimes they say, “Jesus Christ!” I reply, “He is worthy to be praised!”

I do sometimes hear them connect the expletive “damn” to the Divine (you know what I mean) and I tell them, “there will be no damnation today!”

Sometimes I just say. “Easy, easy, gentle…”

Let us hallow his name with our lives and magnify the Lord in the eyes of others and honor his name to the best of our ability.

THE LORD IN CAPS!

The LORD in caps“The LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; he will save us.” (Isaiah 33:22). 

You can’t help but notice as you read this verse in Isaiah’s prophecy, the three times God is referred to as LORD. In a following article I will discuss the Hebrew name for God, but for now, something struck me: the three times that the letters of the word LORD is capitalized.  It is no mistake or translator preference that the Holy Spirit made sure the  letters  LORD are emphasized to stand out from all the rest.  When we see the King of the universe in his beauty, he is the chiefest among ten thousand (Isa 33:17; Song 5:10) he stands out among the rest!

He is the only One worthy of worship!  “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isa. 2:11).  He is above all other lords and gods because they are not real! They are lower case and miniscule-small potatoes. But the LORD alone is the living God,  “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.” (Ps 96:5).  He is the only true God and there is none else. He is King of kings and Lord of lords!  

I am sure I am not the first one to emphasize this.  I am only a humble voice. But I can join the choir of  men of God, “that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.” throughout the ages (Mal 3:16).  How we need to see our LORD  as he really is-the Sovereign matchless King of the Universe! Let me tell you who love scholarship something incredibly deep about the LORD. He is BIG!  HE is immense!  He is GIGANTIC!  The LORD is HUGE! He is the great LORD. “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deut. 4:39).

He is not small nor miniscule. You cannot fit an image of him in your pocket, paint him on a stain glass window or wear him around your neck.  “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth.” (Deut 5:8).

He does not fit in church buildings! Solomon builds his golden temple for God that today would bankrupt several nations and then moans, “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!” (2 Chr 6:18). 

This does not mean God is limited to time and space. It does not mean volume or size per se.  What it does mean is that He is Omnipresent or everywhere present!  “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jer 23:24). This LORD is uncomfortably close.  “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” (Ps 139:7-8).He is unavoidable. He is everywhere at once! He cannot be contained localized or reduced! Every person alive must deal with him and they cannot run away from him.

We do not serve God in small case but in caps! We should be “case-sensitive” in our proclamation of the gospel for many of those preaching today have minimized God in order appease people. The Psalmist says, “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Ps 34:4). The word “magnify” shows that God should be praised, prized and valued! But I like the other meaning-intensify. We must make people see the great LORD God they cannot see. God is always great and even our praise cannot ever at any time match his greatness. But again, Peter tells us to “sanctify” the Lord God in our hearts (1 Pet 3:15).  God is already Holy.  There are angelic beings that cannot cease to spill this fact from their lips (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8).  But Peter  makes it clear we must see the LORD  and value the LORD  as the apex of holiness, the highest and the greatest. The LORD  is God all by himself, without worship, without acknowledgement by men “from everlasting to everlasting thou art God” (Ps 90:2).   The reality of God must be pressed upon people.

He is uncontrollable. I know in this age in which we live people prefer a domesticated Deity to the biblical untamed Deity. But He is the Sovereign Lord, ” Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Rom 9:18). God is not civilized enough for today’s culture and world. The religious marketers for years in all ages have attempted to repackage and sell their new and improved deities to no avail. Men have attempted to dumb truth down, they have attempted to create a more acceptable image of God.  God does not need better public relations men in the pulpit but prophets, those who preach his word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Despite all this, God remains the same when the universe and its inhabitants are moth-eaten and are tossed aside like old clothing the Bible says of the LORD, “but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”  (Ps. 102: 26-27). Here is a novel idea-preacher tell people who God really is!  We are under the impression that we should hold back on certain truths about God because people will not understand or that is “too deep for them” We love the old, “don’t scale the fish before ya catch ’em.” philosophy.  It is pathetic. Churchianity in America  has become intoxicated on the notion that it should make the less palatable or harder to digest truths about the LORD like the fine print or a disclaimer.  But God is the immutable and impassable  God who says, “For I am the LORD, I change not!” (Mal. 3:6).

Let me end with this Psalm, “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.” (Ps. 66:1-5).

God IS God

god-creates“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” is the most radical statement ever made. Clearly it means there is a God. God confronts face to face, challenges, dares and threatens people with his existence. Even more drastic, it means that you and I cannot escape God. “You are all around me-in front of me and in back of me. You lay your hand on me.” (Psalm 139:5GW). If you don’t want him around-he’s there anyway. If you want him around he’s not going anywhere. He is always there and always will be there for all our lives and when we are dead and gone. God will always be God. You are eventually going to have to confront the whole “God” issue, now or later.

 

Genesis teaches that it’s all about God. Is your life really theocentric-centered around God? Is it Christocentric or Christ centered? Or are you serving God for all the benefits that come with being a “Christian?” What is the message that we are giving the world? Do you trust God enough to serve him no matter what trials come or do you exchange him at a religious store for another kind of God? Life cannot be life; love cannot be love without God and his only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

 

John Piper says, “The crucial question for our generation-and for every generation-is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you have ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked and all the leisure activities you have ever enjoyed and the all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you have ever tasted and no human conflict or any natural disasters could you be satisfied with heaven if Christ were not there?”[i]


[i] John Piper, God is the Gospel, from the chap. What the World Needs Most-the Gospel’s Greatest Gift, God. pg 15 © Desiring God Foundation. Published by Crossway Books Wheaton, Illinois.

Reformation Now!

martin20lutherHappy Reformation Day! is not the usual greeting you expect on October 31st. But it is this day in history over 490 years ago that began a spark that turned into a blaze when Dr. Martin Luther challenged the existing form of Christianity with the Holy Scriptures. Sadly, the real meaning of this day in history has been ignored or forgotten by the evangelical church with its harvest festivals to substitute for the secular celebration of Halloween. In a day when the study of church history is either revised or ignored we are tempted to relegate the chronicles of the Christian church and things like the Protestant Reformation to the place of insignificance. 

 

In the days of the Holy Roman Empire, the church was living in a Babylonian Captivity or under a religious slavery for over a thousand years! The people of God could not even read the Bible or pray in their native tongue in those days. The scriptures, written in Latin, were chained to an altar for a thousand years and prayers prayed directly to God by ordinary people were forbidden. People were told that absolute unquestioning obedience was the only way to be saved from hell. People could not partake of the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. People lived in fear of a vengeful God and forgot the mercies and love of God.

 

But God heard the cries of his people groaning under this tyranny and began to light the torch of the Protestant Reformation. Through men like John Wycliffe, John Huss and William Tyndale who set the foundation for this movement, Martin Luther arose.

 

Through a simple, innocuous act on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a proposal on the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the erroneous doctrine and practice of indulgences or paying for the forgiveness of God as a tax to release people from a mythological place called purgatory a place where sinners went after they died to pay for their sins and be purified by a “temporary” punishment that could last from hundreds to thousands to millions of years!

 

People were taught that gazing at relics would shorten their time in purgatory like purchasing an indulgence or a payment for pardon for sin. A relic was some body part or clothes of a dead saint. A saint was a person who seen as having a superior holiness and virtue above other people in the eyes of the Roman Church. People were taught that the viewing of these relics promised to reduce their time in purgatory just like paying for an indulgence. This entire tradition that existed for hundreds of years, was based on the false doctrine of a metaphysical “treasure chest of the church,” which supposedly contained the merits of Christ and the extra spiritual credit of the super-saints. They were like leftovers of good works that these super saints did not need for their own salvation. The Roman church taught that this surplus could be used vicariously or used on the behalf of others. The Pope was entrusted with this surplus and could draw on it as if it were a bank account for the use of others.

 

The Pope at that time, Leo X, used this tradition for to raise funds for St. Peters Basilica and to fill the empty bank accounts of Rome. He appointed a Dominican monk name Johann Tetzel a fast talking religious salesman, who went through the cities and villages of Germany to promote the sale of indulgences. This monk produced live infomercials that manipulated people to buy indulgences to get forgiveness of personal sin and amnesty for a loved one or a relative who had died and whose soul was in suffering in the flames of purgatory. It was a fast growing Christian marketing technique that some people bought hook, line and sinker. Others were disgusted by it. It was confusing and was a major turn off to Germans and a blatant double-cross of true Christian faith and teaching! Pope Leo X approved as long as money kept rolling in.

 

Thus Dr. Luther was strategic in his choice to nail his 95 theses to the Castle Church doors. Since the Castle Church faced the city of Wittenberg’s Main Street, the church door operated as a public bulletin board and was the best place for posting important notices. It was All Saints Eve and indulgences and relics were particularly sanctioned. This one document exposed the rats hiding in the Church of Rome’s basement! Martin Luther’s life had been completely changed by the discovery that the scripture taught that being made right with God by grace alone, through faith alone and by Christ alone. He began to scrutinize other practices of the Roman church in light of scripture at that time and the more he investigated the practices of the church he saw this religious business as a symptom of an ever-growing deformation of the Church. We could say more but time does not permit. But let me ask you a few questions.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO INTRODUCE A NEW REFORMATION INTO THE CHURCH? Do you even think American Christianity needs to reform? This church needs an overhaul and restructuring! By this I do not mean peripheral issues of church government, styles of worship or denominational distinctiveness. But we should break down the idols of the new church growth movement and focus in on growing the people we pastor. What we need are men and women who are attentive to the illumination of the Holy Spirit upon Holy Scripture. God is calling us to respond to the words of Christ who said, “I will build my church!” (Mt. 16:18). Christ will build his church and he word of Christ should dwell in you richly (Col. 3:16). You must let God’s Word shape the church you have been called to pastor. God created the world by his Word (John 1:1) and he can build his church with it! You must read, preach and pray the scripture and let it by itself interpret itself and it will change lives. It should hurt you to see the preaching of the gospel substituted with motivational humanistic messages. Media and religious entertainment have replaced the spiritual gifts. The church is spiritually sick. People are wounded, hurt, and guilty and slaves to destructive, overwhelming sins. The church today focuses on behavior modification, psychology, marriage seminars, step programs, principles and keys for success instead of having the heart changed through an encounter with the one who turns the heart of stone into a soft heart! Where are those shepherds willing to pour in the stinging wine of truth and correction where there is disease? Where are the men and women who comfort not with false hope but with the application of the balm of mercy and forgiveness to heal them after their repentance?

 

THE CHURCH MUST BE VERY DIFFERENT IN ORDER TO REACH THE WORLD. Consider what God sees in the world and says that, “I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease.” (Zech 1:15MKJV). The people in your community are not terrified at their coming day in court for eternal sentencing in hell. They are rushing headlong into it! He is grieved with what is happening in the world. Today is much like the days of Noah, human wickedness is becoming more and more unrestrained and the earth has become a cesspool of sin. We live in the last days! Seven years have passed since 9-11 and even then after the short lived flood of souls into our buildings, it showed us that the church is not ready to bring the masses of hurting souls to Christ! Mobsters and madman control entire countries. Terrorists unafraid of killing others and themselves are brainwashed in thinking their eternity is secure if they will annihilate themselves for their religion. The global economic collapse around us is a wakeup call to the corruption that is rampant in the government and corporate America and smacks of a certain inclination to having the man of sin ushered into power. Christianity has become an object of scorn by those who do not know the Lord and we have lost our credibility. Oh that the church would return to the Lord their God with fasting and weeping in his presence! You must lead and be an example in that repentance.

 

LET GOD OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE WAY THINGS REALLY ARE. Like King Josiah who rediscovered the scriptures you may be shocked at what you see (2 Chr. 34:14-21)! How things change when the word of God is really understood! In certain periods of history the church’s beauty has gone to its head and made her vain and apathetic. But the people of God who think they are rich can be miserable, poor, blind and naked (Rev 3:17-18). Many churches and preachers are backslidden. The religious and societal pluralism and multiculturalism of our day has made the people of God in danger of unknowingly exchanging their God for other gods and ensnaring them in the trap of Satan. All the compromise with the world has left the church of America powerless and we sit outside begging for the blessings of God like Lazarus did for the crumbs of the rich man (Luke 16:21). Christianity has become an object of scorn by those who do not know the Lord. Hypocrisy is the worst enemy of the church, not atheism or liberalism. The children’s bread has been given over to the dogs, the pigs trample the pearls of biblical spiritual truth and we have forgotten the blueprints that scripture gives us for a simple pure love for Jesus Christ. Instead of being beside themselves for Christ, consumed by a love that breaks their heart for the lost people in the world (2 Cor. 5:11) people in church are selfish and cold. The people of God are living dangerously close to the world in these last days! No matter your beliefs about prophecy we are not to take this lying down. Can you handle the truth about yourself and the church? It is a special grace to love the truth! That is why,

 

YOU MUST BE WILLING TO REPENT OF PRAYERLESSNESS AND NEGLECT OF SCRIPTURE. This is the pastor’s greatest sin and a gravest error! A preacher must be a man of prayer. Do people see you as someone they would call for prayer? There are not many preachers that we would call for prayer but we know some mothers among us we would call first. Satan would rather you do anything other than pray. He will begin to see if can distract you by urgent issues and will even viciously oppose you and try to stop you by guilt, fear, loneliness, accusation and anxiety. The scripture is our food and sustenance and if we do not feast upon it we cannot feed others. We cannot give a drink of living water to anyone if we have not tasted of the powers of the age to come on a regular basis. You have not had a call on your life since you were born to throw it all away because you are unwilling to spend time with God in solitude and secret prayer. You will become cold, dull and lifeless and Satan will lull you into a stupor and a conceit where you won’t even know you are dead. Nothing can satisfy us like being in the presence of the God who loves you. We were set aside that we might be with him (Mk. 3:14). Without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5), but it is not what we have done that Christ looks for but if we knew him (Mt. 7: 21-23). Our greatest asset in the kingdom is that we know him (Jer. 9: 23-24). A person who knows the Lord is a vessel meet for the Master’s use. No matter how animated and skilled in speaking you are it does not matter. That is not the anointing only man fueled talent. On the other hand, your messages are not dull and ineffective because of your personality, but because they are not delivered with a burning heart ignited by the Spirit of God. Where have all the men of God gone? The Bible says, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” (John 1:6). To be a man or woman of God you must come from his presence in prayer to be sent out to the world. When we pray with all our hearts we will find him (Jer. 29:13) that is how,

 

WE LET GOD REMOVE ALL OF OUR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HIM. God says, “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.” (Jer. 4:22NIV). We cannot be valiant for the truth if we do not know the Lord ourselves (Jer. 9:3). This can only happen as we pursue to know the Lord intimately, personally and let him remove all our mistaken beliefs about him by the study of scripture and learning about our relationship to Christ (Hosea 6:3)! What we understand about God will impact our personal lives and the relationships around us. Job said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6). Men and women of God how we need to know the Lord! Dr. Luther had many issues but despite all his faults and sins he was the vessel God chose to use in his day! An unknown monk, the product of the religion of his day who shuts out all other counsel and turned to the Holy Scriptures for guidance about his guilt ridden soul, his misconceptions about God and found out that a merciful loving Christ was a man forsaken by God and crucified to make us right with God. We must do the same and that revelation will shake us to the core (Psalm 1:1-3). God tells us,

 

YOU ARE A SERVANT OF CHRIST AND MUST PREACH THE ENTIRE SCRIPTURE IN ORDER TO PLEASE GOD. You cannot pick and choose what you think will help people, or what you think will meet their needs. A man pleaser cannot be a servant of Christ (John 12: 43; Gal 1:10). You are first and foremost a messenger that gives what God says, not what you say. God can replace the preacher who refuses to preach his Word with someone who can do it much better. There is a homeless man drunk sleeping on a park bench somewhere that God can save and fill with his Spirit that can preach better than you. God speaks through his Word and Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church, is very interested in what is being taught in your church (Rev 2:14-15). We have been wrung out of truth by the tightening grip of men who refuse to preach the Word of God, the Bible (Rom 1:18), and let it loose to do its work despite the consequences. They are disappointing clouds that have no rain and that cannot quench spiritual thirst! These rebels are wandering planets who cannot be trusted for direction because they do not proclaim hearty, wholesome biblical truth. They have a look of godliness that denies the power of the Word and the power of the spiritual gifts (2 Tim 3:5)! No wonder the Bible says, “And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them.” (Jer. 5:13).  They seek to meet the felt needs of people but sell those souls religious products and principles rather than giving them Christ-God’s unspeakable gift! God says their need is the preached Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit at work among them! It is only the spoken Word and the Holy Spirit that can slay the spirit of antichrist that has run amuck in the United States with the sword of his mouth and the brightness of his coming among the people of God. How we need men like the prophet Elijah in the scripture who had a voice like a thunderclap and a heart like a raging inferno!

 

YOU MUST DETERMINE TO BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. What if men and women of God, pastors, and churches, decided this Sunday that enough is enough? The Bible is not just a sermon book but a book that is living a powerful to reveal the God who saves, heals and fills people with the Spirit of God (Heb. 4:12)! What if right now you developed a courage that is completely fueled by heaven? A courage that despite all your fears of what your people in your church or community will do or say or act that you will determine to preach what God gives you through your intense prayer and study of scripture every time you stand behind the pulpit. This decision you are about to consider has danger. It may cost you. Courage is not the absence of fear but right action in spite of fear. It is at times these that God has a man or woman to speak the heart of God to the Church and bring them back to him. You must determine to be that person. The religious spin doctors, powerful leaders in the community, even some positioned in your church are far more agile and powerful than you and they will oppose you. God will be with you, do not be discouraged and depressed or fearful (Josh 1:9). The Spirit of God will give you a mouth, or ability to speak and wisdom that your enemies will not be able to withstand or contradict (Luke 21:15).

 

YOU MUST RECOGNIZE THE CLEAR TRUTH THAT THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IS WHAT SETS THE CHURCH APART FROM THE WORLD! The place of religious amusement and pretending end with this truth: Christ among us and in us and as us. The church is the body of “Christ members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”  (Eph 4:30). Should we not begin to ask, “Saw ye him whom my soul loves…My beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.” (Song 3:3; 5:6). Without the scripture being the center of our lives and preaching how can we say he is among us? Jesus among his people is the real acid test of the Christian faith. For he says, “there am I in the midst of them!” (Mt. 18:20). Is it unreasonable theology to believe that Christ walks among his churches (Rev. 2:1)? There is a unique, biblical experience other than omnipresence (Acts 17:28) that Christ actually manifests himself in the life of obedient Christian individuals and church gatherings (John 14:21-23). Where is the preaching that talks about Christ as the scripture portrays him? Where are those who preach about Jesus Christ and who he is? Where is the message that Jesus saves and Jesus heals and Jesus fills with the Holy Ghost! The beauty of Jesus among his people is our main message! The old chorus we used to sing was, “Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noontime, Jesus when the sun goes down!” That was the secret of the apostles-it was a full diet of Jesus! We are poverty stricken without Christ’s abiding presence. It is time to seek the Lord! It is time to stop the wheels of religious machinery from turning and fill the altar of our churches with weeping! We must pray that God cleanses our hearts from sin, prayerlessness and disregard of his Word! The hammer of Martin Luther that tapped so long ago the Wittenberg Church is now drowned out by a louder knock of Him who seeks entrance to this lukewarm, tepid, church in America! How long will we leave him outside covered with the dew of the night as we live sterile lives, focused on self and success rather than on those who need the message of the scripture! We need a Reformation Day of our own.

 

God Bless you as you go to prayer and the Word to seek him!