Saturday, June 23, 2012

On the Doorstep

On the Doorstep of that Great and Terrible Day

Matt.10:32-39 - Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

The time has come where believers in Jesus Christ must be engaged in a spiritual war of profound proportions. And yet our war is won by surrender and humility, even as we speak the truth. We must rebuke heretics without neglecting our own spiritual mirror. And if we, by His grace, are led to a deeper devotion and commitment to our Wonderful Master, we might suffer at the hands of those we call family or those with whom we worship. In today’s climate of spiritual compromise and the mixing of the profane with the holy, it is impossible to be committed to Christ and be found unremarkable within most churches.

We will be called “judgmental” and we must certainly guard against such a spirit. We ourselves were sometimes foolish and serving diverse lusts. But our past and present shortcomings cannot deter us from speaking His truth and rejecting that which besmirches His name and causes us to stray from His cross. We are in a war not of our creation. The God of the Universe has already triumphed, and His patience is solely for the benefit of those who stand on the brink of eternal demise.

Dress it up with glitz and glamour, but this life has not one iota of glory when compared with the surpassing glory which awaits those who know Christ as Lord. To see Him for the very first time cannot be fathomed. Jesus is the Creator of all that is, and although man has rendered Him as nothing more than an aid to our earthly success, He will one day be revealed in great glory and in the midst of a great company of His angels. But the church is not interested in His return, and we surely are not concerned with the implications of His glorious return.

This year will see many sermons on morals and politics and all kinds of earthly endeavors. And Jesus will be presented as not much more than a spirit guide who leads us to a greater prosperity. But that is not the Jesus of Scripture, and it is not the Jesus that awaits the Father’s command to mount His steed and bring the divine wrath to all the inhabitants of the earth. There are many symbols found in such prophetic peeks, however the reality will be a thousand times more dramatic and terrible than we can imagine.

These issues are not fringe. These words are not the words of a madman. The warnings of Scripture have been cast aside and replaced by soothing words which distract the soul and provide salve to any conscience that feels the slightest concern. The Joel Osteens have replaced the Jonathan Edwards. The Rick Warrens have replaced the Charles Finneys. But even among the so called “orthodox” clan there is scant talk of His return, and no genuine concern. No one could accuse us of being fanatical about the greatest event that may soon come.

In fact, if lost sinners would be informed about what we say we believe, they would have every right to call us hypocrites and liars. Do we have a holy fear? Do we weep for the plight of our family? Do we lust after the next car or the new house? Is our passion for sports more demonstrative than our passion for Him? If the Lord Jesus is indeed returning to this earth, and if that event will eternally affect all of us, and if that day may be today, then should not that knowledge have a dramatic affect on how we live our lives?

But as it is, here we sit comfortable in our westernized caricature of the faith once delivered to the saints. This Sunday will be no different than the last, and it will be an exact replica of the next. Revival? Who are we kidding? We cannot even pretend to believe it ourselves. Where is the faith that shakes cities? Where are the prayer gatherings which strip us of ourselves and release inward emotions of conviction and repentance? When were we last completely broken before Him so that nothing mattered but Him and Him alone?

It is easy to doctrinally espouse Bethlehem’s event, but if we say that we believe this:

“…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”

Our hearts and lives indict us as giving lip service without life service. The event described in those verses, if completely true, requires more than just a doctrinal genuflect. How can the church suggest it actually believes such things and yet continues to live such unremarkable lives? We study prophecy as if it were a Michelangelo painting, to be admired but not touched. And when we read those words how can we retire to our mundane lives without a tear or a shout or a demonstrable change of life?

And still the church insists it believes such things while night after night the church house is dark except for an exercise class or a boy scout meeting or a choir practice. Where are the prayer meetings that beg and beseech God for His power in order to warn those who are in the divine line of fire? Let a dog die and we weep, but sinners by the hundreds die all around us and we are careless and unconcerned. And still we insist we believe the Scriptures.

If what we say we believe is not true then we are madmen at best. But if Jesus will return in the fashion described in His own Words, then what else matters? Preachers from all persuasions sit on talk show panels and discuss the political and moral issue du jour, but when will they breathlessly look into the camera and knowing the terror of the Lord persuade men to repent and believe the gospel? It has become so antiseptic and so passionless that the world does not even take notice anymore.

Why do the masses flock to the Warrens and the Osteens and the prosperity preachers? Because they speak their nonsense with boldness and clarity, but warning sinners has fallen out of vogue in these last days. And the dearth of sacrificial and deep prayer should be embarrassing to us all, yet we refuse to blush.

You and I cannot look to the institutional church for guidance or exhortation. It has played the harlot and is now enjoying the grass offered in the fields of the wild ass. This church has left the template of the early believers, and has craftily manipulated the Scriptures to accommodate that which the church desires and God despises. It is an overt mockery of the faith once delivered to the saints. The western church has taken the worldly life and all its accouterments and shamelessly pasted the name of Jesus upon it.

As long as there is a building, as long as there is a pastor, as long as people carry Bibles, as long as there are missionaries, we are satisfied that we are serving and imitating the Lord Jesus Christ. But the devils believe and tremble, while those who name His name live without Godly fear and any sense of eternal urgency. The devils tremble and we live without passion and emotion, except when some melodic church solo stirs our flesh.

There can be only one conclusion. When asked if we believe that Jesus will return we nod our heads but with no outward evidence of such a belief. Faith without works is dead, and only that which changes us can truly be considered what we believe. This coming Sunday will find all kinds of sermons which are little more than the processional before the lunch buffet. And this week will find professing believers no more like Jesus and no more moved by His coming than they were last week. It is a disturbing display of redundant unbelief.

Pretty harsh? Read Revelation chapters 2 and 3. My words and pitiful communications when dealing with such sacred and terrible truths. But there is coming a day, and there is coming a God, whose words will melt the mountains and send the stars in hiding. Does it all sound like so much Lord of the Rings? Well, that is what the evil one would have you believe. Can you remember the most amount of fear you have ever felt in your life? Multiply that fear by one million and you will only touch the hem of the garment of fear that will blanket all of mankind when He comes in all His power and glory.

This is not the day to sit back and relax.
This is the day to watch and pray.
Too many are doing neither.


Mark Palladino said...

Amen! A sad truth. Very frustrating seeing the Word of God abused, misused and largely ignored. There are some of us out there though, that have not bought the lies, and I find myself finding fewer and fewer who truly understand who Jesus really is. God Bless, and keep warning, and preaching it!

Steve said...

Strong words of Truth. Exactly what we need, and what God requires of us, at this dark time.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus !

Full Gospel Now said...

"Where are the prayer meetings that beg and beseech God for His power in order to warn those who are in the divine line of fire?" This is what I would like to know. If there were any around here, I would be the first there. One pastor in the area was asked, "Why don't institute prayer meeting here?" His answer - "no one would come" even though the place is full for the potlucks. Sad state to say the least. :(

seventeen said...

where are the people who are not afraid to pray: "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" surrended to what may be coming due to poor judgement from our leaders - if the king's got off and allowed their people to worship idols, they lost to their enemies - has our country not gotten off but at the same time Our Father has a plan and it is being fulfilled by HIM as we speak
we cannot manipulate HIM to change men's hearts who are filled with greed, power, etc. Ez 34 kicks in here - HE has another plan. HE took care of it in noah's day and with sodom and g. we need to TRUST HIM that HE is going to fix the mess we are in and HIS will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Rick Frueh said...

He is going to "fix" the mess here on earth. He's coming back. I am not in a mess, I am in Christ.

seventeen said...

sorry rick, i forgot that we are not on the same page in our theology - but i still think the line from the prayer: "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is valid on everyone's page.

Rick Frueh said...