Friday, February 14, 2014

To Whom Shall We Go?

TO WHOM SHALL WE GO?

Jn.6: 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

I realize these verses are in the context of professing disciples walking away from Jesus because of a teaching which was hard to digest. Jesus said that no one could have life except by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. And after many walked away from Him Jesus turned to His original followers and asked if they also would walk away and they wondered to whom they could go. You see, although they did not understand many things they knew this one thing: Jesus had the words of eternal life. And after all is said and done that alone can make a true disciple.

But I would like to take this post in a different direction but with the same Scriptural theme. You see the world is searching for someone, anyone who can share with them the words of eternal life and the true love of God. I was moved today by the words of a sister in Christ who commented on my Facebook post saying, “I think many of these hurting souls would run to someone in Christ, if they could find Christ in someone.” I was moved deeply by those piercing words. And that statement beggars this question, “How deeply must sinners search before they can find Christ in you and me?”

Have you not heard that we called to let our lights so shine that sinners will glorify our God? Have you not heard that we are to be a city set high upon a hill where sinners can see and find our Lord? Have you not heard that our lives are to salt so that sinners can taste our wonderful Lord through us? And if we look around at the state of the church and the average American believer can we truthfully say that is the norm? Can sinners see and hear Jesus through our lives or do they hear little that is different than our conservative neighbors? Are we known for morality and conservative issues rather than Jesus Himself? And to be absolutely clear you cannot be known as a conservative American AND a follower of Jesus. You see those two paths lead in different directions.

Millions upon millions of souls are wandering about in spiritual darkness. Some are imprisoned by all kinds of sinful strongholds while others are in deep emotional pain and still others are in a state of desperation. They take drugs or alcohol or even engage in sinful sex in order to help alleviate their pain, but to no avail. Do you and I realize Jesus no longer walks this earth except through those He inhabits? And given that truth what should be, what must be, our commission? But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. You see, we are called to die to ourselves so that Jesus Himself may live through us. This is no hyperbole of philosophical musing. To be sure this is the glory of God and the very essence of discipleship.

Many people define discipleship as being taught the Scriptures and orthodox doctrine. Yes, that is foundational but it falls far short of being a transformed follower of Jesus. I have known many people who are well versed in orthodox doctrine who were nothing like Jesus. That is not being a disciple. Being a true disciple is one who has died to himself and now Christ manifests His life through that person. Sure he should have a great love for God’s Word and embrace certain tenants of the faith, however the world needs more than just theologians. It needs Jesus.

And of what does our theology consist? Does it magnify love and humility or does it magnify certain doctrines? Should it not magnify both? Of what good is theology if it can be thorough and complete on paper and requires nothing of our lives? And are we called to stand and defend or are we called to go outside the camp bearing His reproach? All throughout the life of Jesus He was a humanitarian who was active in meeting the needs of the people while using every opportunity to let His deeds and miracles point to who He was and what His ultimate mission was. We must never forget or even downplay the gospel message of eternal life.

And here are the crossroads ( And I do mean cross.) where theology either dies on the statement of faith vine or bursts forth with life through a crucified believer. The Scriptures teach us what we should believe on many levels and in many truths. But much of what we should believe demands action in speech and deed which should come forth from a heart which has been bathed in that truth and has been transformed by the power of God’s truth. That sounds very flowery but in reality it is a labor of love. Do you think it is easy to deny oneself and one’s flesh? Oh on the contrary it is a great and painful spiritual battle which even when won demands a daily occupation of the victory. Your life is not a partnership where you and Jesus discuss the best way to proceed. No, you have been bought with a price and your Master will show you and empower you to proceed on the path He already has trod. And in an amazing paradox the path which bears His footsteps is both the most painful and yet the most glorious. You will not know the power of His resurrection without knowing the fellowship of His sufferings.

So to whom can sinners go? If believers throw up moral crusades and legislation barriers and mixed multitude organizations designed to combat certain earthly “agendas” then to whom can sinners go to find life? “But”, you say, “They do not want life”. Yes, just like I was not searching for life, and although I was doing my best to make the death I was living my life the Holy Spirit still sought me. That precious Spirit of God did not seek to attack me or condemn me or even come after me with hollow and corrupt politicians. He gently and relentlessly sought me and revealed Jesus to me. Is that not our charge as well?

Away with all the carnal weapons of this world which seek hollow victories by “winning” over sinners through political agendas and legislations and the power of numbers which include the very enemies of Christ. It is all vanity and vexation of spirit! It is time we as believers allow that same Spirit to circumcise our hearts and crucify that old man who desires with all his might to reign in our lives. There is only one kingdom for us and only one King! Oh when will we understand that we cannot be friends with this world? Of course the world attempts to make tablets of stone which outline certain sins and which leave out their own sins and with those stones they will accuse and excuse each other. And in the end all that is accomplished are moral theatrics which have the appearance of life but which are nothing but spiritual death.

If you do not enjoy being vulnerable then following Jesus is not for you. If you object to being judged by the religious world then stay within the world’s systems. If you wish to keep your hands from being sullied through interaction with sinners than stay well within the hygienic place called self righteousness. But if you truly wish to follow Jesus then be prepared and count the cost. It is a lonely path but with deep spiritual fellowship. It is path that is filled with humility and self denial and yet with great glory. And when you esteem others as better than yourself it is there you will find your own esteem. And if material things are important to you than this path will seem quite unreasonable.

But you truly desire to see sinners find the Jesus that saved your own wretched soul then you must allow Christ to seek those sinners through your own life. Yes, you must surrender to a crucified life to which desperate sinners can find the only hope they have…Jesus.

19 comments:

michael said...

Rick, I think you are being to kind!

Here's what I mean:

Acts 3:22 Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.'

Peter, "moved upon by the same Holy Spirit" you write about said that. He was deadly serious!


Isaiah 24:17 Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.
21 On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.

You said something in a recent post just how "insignificant" it seems Adam's variance from the First Commandment was when we consider the sins of murder, adultery or homosexuality.

No, violating the First Commandment is the GREATEST of sins. All other sins pale in light of it and the next Two of the Ten Commandments.

Why?

We are directly sinning against the very one Who after He kills the body can cast the soul into the eternal judgment of hell!

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.


Rick Frueh said...

If you believe we should sift things through an Old Covenant than so be it. But I believe we must see things through a gospel prism until He returns. By the law of Moses the woman caught in adultery should have been stoned.

Reine Gnade said...

Disobedience against holy God is never an insignificant event.

Michael, I think that only the Lord God has the say on what the greatest of sins is. God can forgive disobedience like the disobedience of Adam's sin but there is a deadline, that He knows, when He will no longer forgive man.

Everyone who sins, sins against the very pure One who can cast the soul into the hell!

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear (honor) him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

michael said...

In the book of the Revelation we are seen and heard singing two songs, aren't we? We are signifying that there is one way, the DOOR, into Heaven! This door is the door of both the Law and Gospel. John 10:7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.


Jesus said there is one state of being His Bride will be in in Heaven. She has made Herself ready being given/Grace to wear, the fine Linen which are the Righteous deeds of the Saints! This state of being, Jesus says, is PERFECTION. James says Faith without these righteous deeds/works is dead!!! We are saved BY Grace through Faith and that not of ourselves, it is the GIFT of God!

How can I or you or any living attain this impossible PERFECTION? We are all fallen creatures, imperfect, defiled, unclean leperous and blood stained sinners like the woman with the issue of blood and the lepers!

Jesus is Holy, meek and mild so full of Grace, like a fountain well that has an eternal supply of water/Grace. According to the Law no one could touch or be touched by a defiled person and NOT become instantly DEFILED as them!!!

What do we see when reading the two stories in the Gospel narrative? The leper is instantly cleansed of leperousy! The woman is instantly cleansed healed of her issue of blood! PERFECTION, Jesus says, is the ONLY state of being any fallen sinner can come into Heaven by when they die! Jesus warns that we should not die in our sins and expect immediate access to the HOLY Majestic Presence before the "set" Throne!

Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!

John was shown an "open DOOR":

Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."

Jesus is the Lion who was seen as a sinless Lamb that was slain "STANDING"! He said He came to fulfill the Law! He did! We are declared justified, acquitted, as if we NEVER violated His Law though there is none righteous.

Through His Grace and Faith we sing both the song of the Lamb and Moses, being made perfect washed and sanctified and justified in the Name of Jesus and His Blood and by the Holy Spirit:

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.


Cherie c said...

Didn't Jesus say to one of the Pharrisie that forgiveness of sin or take up your bed and walk (meaning healing) is the same? Didn't Jesus say there is one commandment; to love The Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? And the other to love thy neighbor as thyself? I have not yet read the post, but from the comments see where this is going. I may want to add to my comment after reading the post, but for right now it seems to be the same old story of denominational views. Calvinism vs. .........

brcorcoran said...

Apostle Paul Speaking -

2 Timothy 1:11
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

1 Timothy 2:7
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

Romans 11:13
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office

Romans 2:16
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to (MY GOSPEL).

Romans 16:25
Now to him that is of power to establish you according to (MY GOSPEL), and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began

1 Corinthians 9:17
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

2 Timothy 2:8
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to (MY GOSPEL)

Until we understand that "Apostle Paul" is "OUR" Apostle, (the Gentiles), there will always be confusion...

What it means for Apostle Paul to be (our, the gentile) Apostle means to follow the "Revelation" that God gave him (that was not given to anyone else)...the writings of Paul...

This revelation came after the Cross...it's these teachings of Apostle Paul we are to live by else why didn't God send Apostle Paul to be taught by the 12 Apostles that walked with Jesus?

Even the 12 Apostles were not given this revelation Apostle Paul received over a three year period...else how could Apostle Paul say this -

Galatians 2:7
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter...

Acts 15 shows us Apostle Paul was fighting (legalism) well after a decade past the Cross..

We still fight it today...God judging, God demanding, God holding sin against us...condemning others with the written law of ordinances...demanding right living from others through moral laws...

Do we understand Grace?...

Or is it we understand it a little and are trying to mix law with it...

Rick Frueh said...

Good word.

michael said...

Brcorcorran, not sure your point?

Could you explain this that Paul had written?:

Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Cherie c said...

Yes, I thought that is what some comments were leaning towards. You know who is too kind? God. He hates our sin so much He became flesh to fulfill the commandments. You know the commandments, moral law. He did not condemn us, instead He DIED so we could live. Us, who spit in His face every day we live without love towards a fellow human being. You know, what we still are. Human beings? Those of us offered the Gospel and accepted and drank of the water that makes us thirst no more ought to have that same love for a lost sinner, that which we once were. Now we are a saved sinner


Jesus hated self righteousness so much, He used the Pharasisses as examples.

No, we excuse, bully, and demand our own way and do not yield to the Spirit. The Word calls it quenching. And when we allow that to happen, we miss out on the blessing of just see our Lord magnified. No one truly believes and our life loudly demonstrates that, much to my dismay. How different life would be if we did truly believe. May God have mercy on my unbelieving heart. But i will not quit, nor will i stop running towards the mark. I'm in this for the long haul and some days the road is filled with rocks thst cut my bare feet, but the prize, oh the thought of that wonderful treasure which is our Lord fills me with wonder, hope and longing. And the desire to see more come to faith. If we exercised our humility, and really esteem someone better than ourselves, then we truly would have life, and life more abundantly. I killed a baby at 19, and my brother in law is gay. Who is the worst of sinners? We both are, and we both need the saving Grace of God. I am not a conservative, and Praise God my son is seeing the difference, of which the Glory goes to the Lord. Who are we that we should condemn another when that Grace is offered to all who would come? Unless you're so self righteous, that you would think that Grace is only for a select few. That, my friend, is condemnation to the utter most. May God have mercy.

your sister in Christ

Rick Frueh said...

We uphold the law by rightly seeing it in God's redemptive economy. The law is dead and either Jesus fulfilled it and we are free or Jesus did not and we still have to. And if you desire the law you must fulfill it ALL. Where is your priesthood after the order of Aaron?

brcorcoran said...

Yes Pastor Rick and also...

Romans 7
Or don’t you know, brothers[a] (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives? For the woman that has a husband is bound by law to the husband while he lives, but if the husband dies, she is discharged from the law of the husband. So then if, while the husband lives, she is joined to another man, she would be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law, worked in our members to bring out fruit to death. But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held; so that we serve in newness of the spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.

Galatians 3:19
What then was the purpose of the Law? It was added [later on, after the promise(to Abraham), to disclose and expose to men their guilt] because of transgressions and [to make men more conscious of the sinfulness] of sin; and it was intended to be in effect until the Seed (Christ) (the Descendant, the Heir) should come, to and concerning Whom the promise had been made.

Galatians 4:21-31
Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise.

These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. As Isaiah said,

“Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout,you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!”

And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.

But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

Rick Frueh said...

Paul says the law was "done away with". So if you want to keep the law then keep it. Of course you cannot. But do not attempt to put free men in that bondage.

brcorcoran said...

Amen@Rick!

Anonymous said...

I came out of, no ran, away from a legalistic church where "god's police force" was alive and well. It monitored the walls quite well and wormed its way into families, many of which became broken as a result of the wickedness that lies within human hearts to seek and destroy. Yes, they live and breathe within religious Christianity, but there is no love for Jesus, only the magnificent self.

Has not the church system created by man, for man, set up a system of rules and regulations by which the individual soul is considered "saved?" Think about this for a moment. And when a spirit filled soul enters this parade of legalism and does not measure up according to the standards chiseled in their limestone, well then, the useless eater will be used as the scapesheep. The sins of god's police force will be cast upon the one who is deemed weaker, lesser, and a "babe in Christ" and you will be blamed for "their sins."

One does not have to be in many church systems long to discover that those who are members of "god's police force," have such a difficult time living up to their own man-made rules and regulations, let alone expecting the rest of us to abide in them.
I believe Jesus called this hypocrisy and yes, those who profess Christ, and Him crucified, exhibit hypocrisy beautifully here in churchianity.

If one can stand there and preach it, well then, should they not live it as well. But then, Christian double standardism is alive and well in church, and this, my friend, is what those we label as "unbelievers" see in church.

This is a painful admission and by God's eternal grace, we can still walk with Him outside the gates. Amen.

brcorcoran said...

@Anonymous -

I enjoy the Amplified version of scripture...it seems to bring out the scripture a bit more so I can understand it...the following is powerful to me...

Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).

and
Philippians 3:10
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection...

So 180 degrees out from trying to obey laws and encouraging others to do also...

Grace has been under attack since the days of Apostle Paul in fact, look at what the Holy Spirit told him -

Acts 20:23-24
except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

The war is still on...we can only pray for others "blinded by legalism" and live a life worthy of grace...you can't force relationship, it's a personal choice whether or not we want intimacy with the Creator...

and, may we all look in the mirror searching for anything within us that even hints to legalism...constantly renewing our minds on grace and agape love, a walking testimony of our conversion...

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, can I go back to eating bacon, for I was told by one in church leadership that we are still to abide by Old Testament dietary rules and regulations? Just asking.

brcorcoran said...

@Anonymous -

Ask those that told you that bacon cannot be eaten where it states this under Apostle Paul's revelation to the "Body of Christ"...

Here is what Apostle Paul brought from the Jerusalem council in Acts Chapter 15 - (Acts 15 and Galatians 2) go hand in hand...

Galatians 2:9-10
New King James Version (NKJV)
9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

Read also Acts 15...

Cherie c said...

Yes, Amen BR! The council at Jerusalem where James stands up and asks only two things, "abstain from blood and idol worship! That's it!

And didn't Peter have a dream along the same lines regarding the Gentiles?

Praise God!

Cherie c said...

Remember Anonymous, give thanks for all God provides, even bacon.

your sister in Christ Jesus