Friday, April 13, 2012

Broken Prisoners

Broken Prisoners

II Cor.4:6-7 - For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

And if we lift the veil that protects us all from honest transparency, we are all exposed as broken vessels. And if we claim that we are not broken, then we are dire need of being broken. The church has become proud and arrogant and full of her own purposes. And this church, this body that is His, is in need of being broken once more in order to reveal the glory of the Risen Christ.

From the evangelical precinct captains, to the emotionless editorials on gay marriage, the church has become a club where religious people gather to hear a little talk and meet familiar faces. The Titanic is sinking and yet we still exhibit a redundant revelation of activity and a little convenient activism. And when you keep placing a car in drive but it never moves, well Houston there is a problem. When you point your flashlight in the dark without any illumination, well then it must be time to change the batteries.

It is most distressing when so many millions of professing believers get energized and mesmerized at election time. Do we think anything will change? Do we believe THESE politicians even though the previous batch made similar promises? And as I have said before, if believers could be sure that a certain president could make the country more prosperous than at any time in its history, they would elect that person even if he was an abortion doctor, or a married gay man, or even Satan himself. Let us not kid ourselves, the entire thing is about money.

And so we all stand in dire need of a spiritual breaking that leads us to a deep repentance and into a dramatic process of transformation. It is absolutely astonishing that men who say they have been called by God to preach and shepherd God’s flock are blind to the spiritual condition of the church. They are busy “building” a local church by addition and are observably uninterested in seeking the face of Christ and the power of the Spirit in order to see the church reborn in His image.

There are a group of believers in America who are separated from the temptations and distractions of this fallen culture. They do not care about numbers or church buildings or how the economy is faring. They are not caught up with elections and moral/political issues. They are not spending most of their time e earning money or buying new cars or seeking avenues of entertainment. Who are these believers?

Eph.4:1-3 - I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

They are prisoners in penal institutions all across this nation who believe in and follow the Lord Jesus. Paul refers to himself as a “prisoner of the Lord” several times, and surely he was. But all of us should exhibit the same focus that many hundreds and thousands of prisoners exhibit while incarcerated. Yes, they have been forcibly separated from the hedonistic culture, but that is no excuse for us. The church should be comprised of spiritual prisoners, but instead she has embraced the world around her.

Our lives should be so separated from the carnal distractions of this present world that it would seem as if we are walking prisoners. But the temporal has eclipsed the eternal; the carnal pushes out the spiritual; the fallen rules the redeemed. And what is left is a severely moderate profession of Christ that is so diluted and so compromised that those law abiders who profess Christ live just as those who do not. How can that be acceptable?

And yet we have grown accustomed to our convenient and self rewarding expression of Christianity. Revival? The average preacher believes revival is membership growth or cutting the ribbon on a new facility or electing a pro-life president. Like kids in a candy store we reach for almost every gadget or system the world invents. And instead of being gospel vessels that seek out spiritual consumers, we have become consumers of what the world has to offer. And we have elevated preachers whose hearts are after the flesh and not the spirit.

The entire western church construct is fleshly, and what passes for a disciple is a disgrace. Being a “follower of Jesus” costs nothing more than a church membership, which in itself is fleshly and designed to control. A “disciple” can be immersed in debt and engaged in all sorts of worldly activities and still be called a faithful disciple. The preacher can drop his kids off to school, open the mail at his office, and meet an affluent member for lunch and be considered a spiritual leader. The entire construct is an affront to all that is taught by the Master Himself.

We are prisoners to this culture. And any lifestyle that aligns itself with His teachings must be considered extreme and out of the mainstream. In short, we have lost what it means to be His disciple. And even someone who gleans a little vision has to answer to his or her spouse and that usually defeats any legitimate spiritual energy. Rarely do two marriage partners enter into a pure New Testament journey together. They are prisoners to each other, and any spiritual unction is usually brought into a more culturally acceptable alignment because one of the spouses is anxious over the future implications of any radical vision. And so it goes over and over and over.

But remember, we all will be prisoners of something or someone. You decide who or what will rule you. Don’t look around or you will be a prisoner of the illusion that is reflected by those to whom you ascribe a form of spiritual example. But if you receive the words of the New Testament in their undiluted purity, well then, you and I will have to be broken. We cannot mirror those words without being broken. But until then, lean back, relax, and go to church. You see, you are a prisoner and you don’t even realize it.

1 comment:

Richard Ludwigson Jr said...