Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If We Can Live Without Him - We Will


Acts 17: 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;

Paul stands before the men at Mars Hill and addresses their idolatry and intellectual paganism. This Lord of which Paul speaks does not dwell in human buildings nor does He stand in need of anything. Men have long thought that erecting monuments impresses God and that doing things, albeit good, elicits divine favor. But Paul openly reinforces the truth that all creatures are only alive through this Creator. And although He is separate from His creation, all creation still exists through His power. Paul would later say “and by Him all things consist”, speaking of the Lord Jesus.

The whole world searches for the source and meaning of life, and specifically the meaning of their own existence. And in the midst of searching man has created all sorts of gods and superstitions. In fact, millions have taken the name of Jesus and made their own religion via a false religious construct called “Jesus”. There are many false cults which use and misuse that precious name. But from the first time a man looked up at the heavens he wondered. Many still wonder today. But Paul reveals the Creator to the men at Mars Hill and to us.

Col.3: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Here Paul speaks not to heathen, but to believers. This outlines who we are in Christ Jesus and just what should be the desire our hearts and minds. When we by faith in Christ are translated from darkness to light we are new creations. We have begun a journey which must continually lead away from the past and into the future. And while in the flesh we walk in the temporal, in the Spirit we must walk in the eternal. This is not some suggestion. This is the life of a believing follower of Jesus.

But how often does the temporal muscle its way into our hearts and then it becomes the driving force of our thoughts and lives? It is that easy. The things of this world shout and clamor and demand our utmost attention. They offer an ample supply of worry and doubt, and once we become fixated upon earthly circumstances the reality of eternity flees. Suddenly we are alive to this world and dead to the things of Christ. We are overwhelmed with plans and schemes that we believe can lead to positive outcomes for any and all circumstances. In the midst of trouble we take up arms with which to do battle and we ask God to bless our energies.

But we are dead and our lives are with Him. This is His life not ours. But how often do we treat that as orthodox doctrine and not as a life changing reality? Do we really live in the eternal? The ramifications of such living are expansive. But that kind of life must begin in the heart and mind. And that is a process which requires much training and a relentless pursuit of changing our thoughts. And that kind of internal metamorphosis can only become a reality through the power of God’s Word and Spirit. And it is much more than mental memorization. It goes beyond being versed with systematic theology. It transcends being doctrinally mature or being acquainted with all the present controversies that swirl among western evangelicalism,. Perhaps most of us have experienced the touch of eternity somewhere along this spiritual journey, but what does it mean to walk daily in that reality?

Is anyone completely tired, and yes even disgusted with how the expression of Christianity in the west has deteriorated until we are left with a few moral causes and being a part of a local religious organization? Does it ever break our hearts to watch as millions upon millions of people, church members, leave their cars and file into the same building they did last week without an ounce of the eternal coursing through their spirits? And what of the spectacle where so many who have not spent any time with Jesus can spring to life when the music begins? What kind of fast food restaurant have we constructed? But let us proceed further for there is more.

II Cor.3: 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is almost completely ignored except for a few who seek to use Him for their own doctrines and to draw attention to themselves. But all change in a person’s life without the Spirit is carnal and part of the Tower of Babel. In order for us to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ we need the power of the Spirit, and in a mystery of immense splendor, that Spirit is Jesus the Lord. Of course that is where words must confess their pitiful inadequacy and bow to the ministry of that same Spirit. Yes, the Spirit of God can and does speak to us in ways which cannot be translated into human words.

And in another unspeakable mystery God desires to walk with and in us every single day. This kind of Sunday Christianity is an affront to His eternal grace. But even as He is grieved, He still allows those who profess Christ’s name to walk in the flesh. And if you can live without Him, you will. You see, this modern Christianity secures heaven and then resumes its normal life with a few minor adjustments. And in a startling display of open betrayal, over the years the church has become a servant of men and not a servant of Christ. Church members by the untold millions seek money and success and advice for problems from the church instead of seeking Christ and His glory in order to be changed by His Spirit.

Professing believers approach Christ with a list of grievances and problems and they desire solutions. But how many approach the Risen Christ with no motivation except this:

Ps.27: 4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

You see, we have been deceived! The solutions and the answers are in Him. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Under the shadow of His wings is life and peace. This is not some interesting truth; this is THE truth which must capture the hearts and minds of those who desire to follow and serve the Lord Jesus. This is our calling, this is our destiny. If we desire to be like Him, we must pursue Him, grab hold of the hem of His garment, and hold on to it every single day. Only then can we be made whole.

The cares of this world are our enemies. They imprison us to the temporal and to ourselves. They bring death to our souls. They distract us from Christ and they demand our fullest attention. There is a mysterious secret to walking with Christ in this world. When you can perform the tasks of this life without losing His constant presence then you have unlocked a great mystery. And that is the mystery which is not pursued today, and it is not even desired. And to millions its existence is not even known. Millions upon millions of believers live day after day within the confines of the temporal while reserving a few morsels of time to sing songs and listen to messages about Jesus. And many are not even about Jesus at all.

And the church in general has learned how to live without Jesus and has taught the people to do likewise. Do you wonder how God feels about that spectacle? I mean beside the rampant adultery and addictions and hedonism and construction projects and impressive church staffs, the church masses walk without Christ as well. That, my friends, is a colossal scandal. And since we have come to expect no real and tangible spiritual power within the kingdom of darkness, we have turned to politics and moral crusades and guns and military prowess. And eventually the church has become an American religious organization with no more eternal perspective or spiritual glory than the Elks Club or the People for the American Way.

If you can live without Him, you will. And since we can, we do. This is a monstrous tragedy of epic proportions and with eternal consequences for those who walk in darkness. For who will shine the light into the darkness if not those who profess they know Him? Who will bear His name if not for those who claim it? Who will be Jesus in a world who needs Him if not those who say He lives inside them? Who will bear His reproach, who will know His sufferings, who will seek His face, who will love His appearing, who will walk in His presence, who will be His voice and legs and arms?

Who so desires to be changed into His eternal image that they cannot live without Him? It is time for each of us to examine ourselves in the light of who He is and who we are. If He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and if He is the Creator of all there is, and if He is our Savior and Redeemer and Master, then what impact should that have upon those who profess His name? If He alone is life and life everlasting, then can we actually live without Him? Is an orthodox theology what satisfies our Beloved or does He wish to commune deeply with us?

We have become masters of ourselves while retaining a thin veneer of Christian ornaments. Our time is offered unto idols, our hearts follow after the material, and our minds are lent to fables. We have become clones of the temporal and servants of fleshly passions. The mystery has vanished and the pragmatic is now lord of all. But there is a shaft of light for those who look to see it. There is a door which opens for seeking hearts. There is a guidance of the Spirit for broken vessels. For those who are relentless and whose thirst and hunger can only be satisfied by Him, for those there is Jesus in all His eternal glory!
But if you can live without Him…you will.


Anonymous said...

Amen! This is a good word for these pressing times.

There are those who laugh at some of us and would say we are so heavenly minded we are no earthly good. So I back off and try to blend in with the crowd, not being offensive too much. Then I get pulled back, realize I could get easily influenced and realize I need to come back to the true source. I feel frustrated being around 'religious folks' as there is this fake pious persona that they project. Yet, I may have given that vibe to others in my early days. Then, I try to reach those in the world, and some are just not ready and the lack of spiritual awareness is so defeating. So, I retract and go in caveman mode, and stay alone in my thoughts and prayers. I've been there and done that, gone to great lengths to look holy, gone to great lengths not to look holy, or bring attention to myself. There is nothing I could have done myself to witness to others by codes, or laws, or doctrines of denominations.

Yes, I am completely tired of seeing what we see, and am helpless to do anything (which my carnal woman tells me). And, it's true that the Lord allows those who profess His Name to walk in the flesh. And Bro. Rick asks, "what does it mean to walk daily in that reality?"

A few years ago, after leaving church, just due to having this hopeless depressive feeling coming home from church, I decided to start back to the beginning of my walk with Christ. I used the "do unto others as I would have them do unto me" command, which is the second command after the first one, which is to love the Lord with all our heart....." I gave all my questions about Godhead doctrine to the Lord, reminding myself He is faithful to reveal that in His time, if He wishes. And if I don't have all the answers, to always keep those two first commands.

That new creed seemed to work and I never looked back. To this day, I try to understand those who are stuck in the world, in sin, in habits, what they were taught at home, what they hear at work, social activities. I listen and try to edify with the experience that Jesus helped me with. He was so faithful and patient with me, so I have to remember that with others.

We are cluttered with distractions and no one has the time to think on spiritual things, or their mortality.

And as hard as it is to reach those, it is harder to feel in unity with the brethren of the church. The brethren of the church have gone off the rails. Many have been seduced and it's almost impossible to get through than talking to someone who has never heard of Jesus. Today's church has to be the most stubborn relentless divisive, intolerant, hypocritical, secretive, dishonest, undiscerning of the times, loveless, compromising, corrupt, faithless, lukewarm church there ever has been. And if some have left her, they are scorned and mocked and ignored.

So it is true, I believe, that the organizational church is living without Him. And Jesus said that He would build His church, and it's unseen right now. I can't rely too many men/women anymore to shepherd me We may have to travel this road alone at some point down the road. Now, thank the Lord, we can blog and meet, and reach out in a variety of ways, but it doesn't seem that it can be done anymore through a church. Maybe the Lord has a great plan, where His church will have one last revival. Or maybe He chooses not to sent the latter rain here, or maybe the latter rain has already been sent. Whichever way He plans, I'm praying we'll be ready for whatever plans He has. Until then, we enjoy the peace right now, and may we appreciate the covering of His wings.

Rick Frueh said...

Wonderful word.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhh......smitten and speechless reading this post.

I see the problems! I despair over the errors! I am condemned because I am part of the problems, or powerless to affect change.

Anonymous 1:35 could be me, and you articulate our experience so well! I thought I was reading my own history.

It is sometimes more painful enduring "phoney" church that it is easier to isolate. But am I really doing any better? I don't see great revival breaking out through myself. I keep my mouth shut, though I burn within with Scriptures of challenge and correction. Then feel guilty for cowardice. But to speak may be critical and condemning. When I have, been accused of disrespect for authority.

I am finding my way daily with Him, though. And in regular relationship, through which I am trying to lovingly allow Him to minister, correct, challenge, teach, inspire. And be patient. Allow Him to open doors.

Right now, personal devotion and hidden intercession are my priorities.

I am so grateful for this little blog community!

Anonymous said...

Dear Cherie, I just now Tues. afternoon saw your request for prayer on previous blog comments. I'm doing so now. I feel such an honor in the request, and so humbled by the grace to be able to fulfill it because of His precious promises which are all yes and amen toward us, that I am in tears. Love to you, little lamb sister Cherie.

Cherie c. said...

A blessing to know that I can request your prays. Please know you are in mine daily. All those who dwell here are in my prays.

A sisterly kiss to you dear Victoria.

May God see in us His church. May what Pastor Rick posts, and our humble comments lead others to a better walk with Christ, not our glory but to His Glory.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

michael said...

These words come to mind after reading this article just now and especially the title to it "if we can live without Him, we will".

Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God. (Ecclesiastes 8:10-13 ESV)

Cherie c. said...

Live without Him? I can't breathe without Him. So I am guessing that is a resounding NO.

Cherie c.