I spend a lot of time thinking on the things of the Lord, His Spirit and His Word. To qualify that, this is not always a good thing because man’s fallen mind often goes off on a tangent and twists the Word that was read.
However, I do not believe that this is the case here, given that this topic has to do with the Holiness and Righteousness that is God. This question has been on my heart for some time now, and I do believe that it applies to me and also, perhaps, to some of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
When we look at the whole counsel of God, His Word that He graciously gave us in printed form and in the flesh (John 1:14), we would do well to sit back and reflect on the information provided to us.
A short, condensed and by no means complete synopsis is: God spoke this world and everything else into existence (Genesis 1:1). When HIS (yes, everything belongs to Him!) creation rebelled against Him, He provided a way out (Romans 6:23). His Word is replete with examples of where He made promises and kept them, where He provided a way when there seemed no way. He parted the sea, gave water from a rock and provided fowl for His people to eat.
He stopped the sun from moving for a whole day! (Joshua 10:12-14). He allowed a man on more than one occasion to change His mind, going from deserved wrath to unwarranted, graceful chastisement. He came down to His creation, humbly, to provide a way out for His creation; He healed the sick; He opened the eyes and ears of the blind and the deaf; He raised the dead; and of course, He died for us. For us, we who were His enemies, He graciously laid down His life. It wasn’t taken from Him; He gave it…for us.
He has given us prophecies that have been fulfilled and are currently, as we speak, being fulfilled. He has given us hope and a future (1st Peter 1:3). Every day He provides for every aspect of His creation, patiently, both for the wicked and the righteous (Matthew 5:45).
And what is it that we do? We “play” church. We hardly know our Father, our Savior or our Guide. We might go through a phase when things are difficult and we draw close to Him but, in reality, we are only serving our own selfish interests. I feel that He deserves much better from me, from us, those who name the name of Jesus as our Savior – to whom we have admitted our sinfulness and our inability to save our own souls, and on whom we depend for forgiveness, guidance, provision and wisdom.
We go to church and allow the preacher, pastor, or whoever to speak over us a watered-down version of the Truth. We do not call out the board of the church, which guides the shepherd, to feed us spiritual meat, but are all too happy to drink spiritual baby food. We do not spend time in His word to actually check up on what is being spoken over us from the pulpit as did the Bereans (Acts 17:10-15).
We do not ensure that the election of the pastor, elders or deacons pass muster with the Biblical principles that have been given to us in the Word of God.
We are comfortable, asleep at the wheel. At least in the western world where no persecution currently exists. Why do you think it is that the Church is at its most vibrant and powerful when it is being oppressed? Because the persecuted Church draws near to God; that is why. Plain, simple, and yet elegant. Just as God intended it.
This pattern repeats itself throughout the Old Testament; namely, it would go well with Israel. They would leave God, their 1st estate; He would allow oppression or persecution of some sort, and they would repent and go back to Him; and, as is per His character, He forgives, raises up a Prophet, Judge or Savior of some kind, and they are delivered; they prosper and have peace until the next time they fall away.
SIGH… It seems that this is human nature. But, we as His people should know better and at least try not to be so.
Our Father rightly says that the fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). I am afraid that we could all, well, me at least, do with some serious “soul searching” and repent and draw closer to Him. This is not for His benefit, as He could cause the rocks to sing His praises. It is for the good of ourselves.
Often, when I try to get an idea of just how powerful our God is, I try to imagine standing at the mouth of an active volcano, or in the midst of a hurricane, or in the face of a roaring wave, in a cage with lions… Not that I want to diminish the experience of those poor souls that have actually experienced these things. I imagine these things because I know that my God has control over these things too… Think about that. To try and compare it to modern-day parlance: despite all the super-hero movies that we have been assaulted with over the years, they absolutely pale in comparison with our God. We have become so desensitized to His Glory and Power that we have become blasé, non-fearing instead of God-fearing.
We know from His Word that the judgment of the Lord begins with His own house (1st Peter 4:17). It is all good and well to rest comfortably in the knowledge that we are saved by Grace alone, but that does not absolve us from any further responsibility; in fact, it might just place more responsibility upon us, as the apostle exhorted us to pursue Christlikeness (Philippians 3:13-14). This does not mean that we can or will lose our salvation, but it implies that it is expected of us to pursue Christ and to change to be more like Him.
In re-reading the above, I think it is plainly obvious that the Church in general has indeed forgotten whom it is that we serve. Perhaps the current leadership of the Church, responsible pastors, et al., whoever they are, would like to read a long-forgotten sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” – Jonathan Edwards, Circa: July 1741. Even though this sermon is primarily directed to the unsaved, the description painted of our Heavenly Father is a punch to the collective gut… Unfortunately, it might just be what we need.
So, I am going to do some serious introspection in light of the above, as I know “I have to sweep at my own door” so to speak. Time will be spent in prayer, rumination and, of course, immersion in the Word of God.
Will you join me?