Friday, July 17, 2015

I am not as afraid of radical Islam as I am
of nonradical Christianity.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Jn.4: 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
I watched a little of a conference on worship and in these last days worship is almost all music. Wonderful music, complete with harmonies and many instruments and clapping and dancing and an atmosphere of excitement. It moves the emotions and makes people feel oh so good. It has become almost a science. Even worship leaders, if there is any Biblical office as such, are exalted and promoted in advertisements.
But worship, true worship, is done in the chambers of our hearts. Music may be a part and clapping and raising of the hands and sometimes even dancing, but if true worship is not present within our hearts all the rest is then sounding brass and clanking cymbals. Worship must never be for man. It must always be an offering unto God…sacred and humble and holy. Excitement may be a part sometimes but that must never be the prominent emotion. We must be humbled and grateful and filled with an unspeakable love and awe and reverence. If God is truly present it should shake us and even change us as we bow before Him in complete surrender and brokenness.
It is shocking that men have become so wrapped up in themselves that so many make worship a thing which seeks “success” by manipulating people and through music and decibel levels bring the crowd into some kind of frenzy. And when that happens people will actually say (over lunch at a restaurant later) “What a great worship service that was!” That might seem innocuous but in reality it diminishes God and it refers to the service and our emotional experience rather than to Christ.
I would suggest that when God truly visits a worship time we might say, “Halleluiah! What a Savior!”
Or better yet, we might not be able to speak at all.
Phil.1: 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Oh the sacred privilege of suffering for Jesus’ sake. And yet some of these “Christian conservatives” squawk loudly about how Christians are being stripped of their rights and how they are being forced to bake cakes they do not want to and almost every slight pokes the bear and brings loud complaints.
But that is not the spirit of Christ. Paul rejoices in his imprisonment because it seemed to embolden his brethren to preach the gospel. I am not really sure we here in America really know or understand what true persecution is. We love to take a political stand against gay marriage or abortion or even socialism, but that cannot be compared with what some of our brethren in other parts of the world must endure. The very lives of many of our brothers and sisters are in peril every day as well as their children. And yet they pray and serve Christ as best they can. But the American church continues to bathe itself in self serving activities. Hold a conference on world hunger or world evangelism or ministering to innocent civilians who have been harmed by war and you may get a corporal’s guard to attend. But hold a financial seminar or a marriage seminar or even a self esteem conference and the place will be packed with people only too willing to pay the entrance fee.
But when true humility is absent from the community of faith then we will not only drum up hollow ghosts and call them persecution, but we will posture while we do it. Our Master went willingly as a Lamb to the slaughter and yet must we publicize some political inconvenience and demand satisfaction? How can it be “given in the behalf of Christ” to suffer for His sake and yet God allows us to complain? How far off course have we strayed from the true faith which follows and exhibits Christ and His kingdom? And in face of such godly believers like Corrie Ten Boom and Elisabeth Elliot the western community of faith has constructed a political group which calls itself “Christian” like an antiseptic political identity with no deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Himself. Issues are their gospel.
But let us not only endure persecution and hardships for His sake but let us embrace them. We must relearn everything about Jesus and everything He taught and everything about His kingdom. We must unlearn the lies and hypocrisies we have swallowed in years past and become a sponge that is ready and willing to receive true revelation regardless of how convicting and how inconvenient and how it goes against the ecclesiastical establishment.
Yes, we must learn what it truly means to follow Jesus and not what men have told us. That just may mean persecution from within the visible church itself.
Lk.22: 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
This is a great mystery indeed. Jesus prays so earnestly that He sweat drops of blood. What kind of pathos is this? I have often guessed about the nature of His sadness and pressure but I have only scratched the surface. How can we pull out God’s hearty and examine it like it was a medical procedure? And just how can we understand the communication within the Godhead? How do we even understand the Trinity itself? This is holy ground in which we are spectators.
But here Jesus exhibits His feelings and heart and His human side mingled with His divinity. Many assume He is dreading His coming sufferings. But what if He is experiencing the burden for lost souls and how many will reject Him? But whatever the source of that emotion what remains is that God Himself sweat great drops of blood in prayer. And now I ask you and I ask myself. Am I that committed in prayer? Do I labor in prayer with such intensity?
Let us reexamine ourselves in the light of His life and see how we measure up.
We in America live in an unbridled hedonistic culture. The pull and allure of money is all around us. The culture itself is based upon capitalism. The country was birthed over money and taxes. Every politician will make all kinds of economic promises which appeal to the base senses of people.
But in the midst of such a culture the church began to slip little by little first into some benign acquiescence and then to major compromises until the church surrendered completely and even endorsed this money culture. In fact we have grown accustomed to calling every monetary success “God’s blessing”. We fail to recognize the utter foolishness of such a tradition. Is God blessing Donald Trump? Hugh Hefner?
But the pattern is revealing. No one calls suffering a blessing. No one calls a financial setback a blessing. No one calls an illness a blessing. And yet Paul gloried in his infirmities, and he considered financial hardships an opportunity for God to provide or for God to whittle away more of Him so more of Christ could come forth. But even our verbiage has succumbed to the mores of this fallen culture.
Eph.3: 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
When you attempt to look at and absorb and even study the love of God you must realize you are a blind man looking at and attempting to describe color. I love the way the Spirit through Paul makes such a vivid metaphor by using words that usually describe some geometric shape. He showcases God’s love with words like depth and width and other tangible descriptions and he then says that we may able to comprehend God’s love, and then He turns right around and says God’s love passes knowledge. Is your head spinning yet?
One of the problems is with human language. We say we love this pizza and then we use that same term to say the love of God. And then we say we love pizza and we love Jesus. Do you see just how meaningless the word can become because it is used to define such a large range of things including food and cars and sports teams etc.? And then we speak of God’s love using the same word we use about our pets. That is not just a major problem. That reduces the essence of God Himself because we define His “love” with the same verbiage we use for inanimate things.
But I guess we are stuck with that word. But let us fully understand the difference between human love and divine love. In fact there is a great divide and disconnect between the two. Human love demands a feel good emotion and human love is almost always displayed to someone of something which positively affects us. The object of our love is almost always that which deserves our love. Even if we extend some kind of love to those who do not deserve our love part of that equation is that it makes us feel good to do so. Do you understand what I am most ineffectively trying to communicate here?
And then there is this: God’s love is most clearly and even fully realized at Golgotha. That alone should shock us. Where is the romantic music and the flowery meadows? Where is date night? Where are the Valentine’s Day cards? This scene at Calvary with all its visceral visuals and emotions as well as the spiritual understandings must take us aback. This…this is love? Blood and sweat and suffering and wounds and mangled flesh and cruel mocking and matted hair and thorns and spears…this somehow is love? Given that how have we so minimized the cross many times through the use of human language? Yes, that is all we have, but as I have said so many time even when we read and use human language the Holy Spirit of God can illuminate our hearts and minds and we are led into understanding that soar way above the confines of human language even while we use the same words.
So when we associate God’s love with God’s death we must surrender to the Spirit or else we are just prisoners of human words and human understandings. And to be sure that is a prison. All of us have been in that prison. It is cold and doctrinal and empty and full of some truth written on dry paper without life and treasure. Yes, we believe the Bible is God’s Word, but if ink and paper are the extent to which we understand then we belong to a doctrinal community which reclines on well organized verses connected by topic and applauded by men but which so often do not lend themselves to the glorious mysteries of Christ and His cross and His everlasting gospel.
There is a great difference between being able to regurgitate doctrine and allowing Christ to transform our minds and filleting them wide open before Him so that the Spirit can inject life giving and convicting truth eternal in the heavens. And if we are given to seeking an understanding of God’s immeasurable love through His immeasurable sacrifice, well then, we must surrender completely to the Spirit. We can read words and they are very important, but without the Spirit they can only carry us to the doorstep of glory. But the Spirit can take those words of truth and expand them into powerful instruments that teach and reveal and transform.
God is love. About what man can that be said? The essence of God who is a spirit is love itself? Again we find ourselves in a realm about which we are completely dependent upon God’s Spirit. Who really can love one’s enemies without being overwhelmed and empowered by the love of God? And who can love an enemy even when it does not make us feel good, nor does it seem to affirm us, or that we cannot tell anyone to receive our rightful praise? God’s love revealed through the cross is in a completely different realm. Human words can describe the event in some detail, and human words can illuminate some of the redemptive doctrines found only in that sacred event, but how can we connect the word “love” with such a savage display? Only the Spirit can enlighten our understanding and usher us into realms about which we not only did not know and understand, but that we never knew even existed.
The world can never understand how anyone can glory in such a vicious act of injustice. They are confounded by our claims that we find life in all that blood and gore. And much of the church world as almost offended by such talk. It is almost like they are saying, “We have heard that story before, tell us something new”. Well there is nothing new except that newness and freshness which emanates from that same crimson tree. It grieves me to think how many professing believers know nothing of the glories of those Roman planks which served as an altar to show God’s eternal love.
So allow me to end this post by setting up a tabernacle at the cross. I have been a believer for over forty years and yet I can gaze at that cross and still find exhilaration and life every time I visit that hill. I cannot fully reveal God’s love with my feeble words. Only the Spirit can take blood and ripped flesh and labored breathing and communicate love. Only the Spirit can take written doctrines and breathe life into them and infuse that life into a human being. So look at and gaze at and meditate upon that crucifixion. Take it in and embrace all its majesty. Enter into its sufferings. Nail yourself upon its wicked but loving stakes. Surrender to its death and open your eyes inside that tomb. Let your being be filled with all its smells and sights and emotions and truths and open your heart to the fellowship it offers. This is God’s love. This is God’s sacrifice. This is God.
Ez.33: But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
God has placed watchmen within the church. In fact the spirit of a watchman is for every believer. The spirit of a watchman, or discernment, looks above the fray and sees what the evil one desires to do and he warns the people. His vision is most clear in the night and when the situation is most dire. We live in a day of great spiritual darkness camouflaged in a wrapping of peace and prosperity and personal fulfillment. The so called leaders of the church have filled their own pockets and are very well off. They speak with enticing words of men’s wisdom and they have piped and many have followed.
Those of us who reveal such things are often labeled as negative people and wet blankets who sound alarms where there is no fire. But how can we remain silent when the Spirit has opened our eyes? What kind of believers are we if we watch deception swallow up people’s lives and keep quiet? Surely there is great glory and spiritual refreshing inside the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and we must not get so wrapped up in discerning falsehoods that we leave the sacrifice. But we still cannot help but speak that which we have seen and heard.
But the tower in which we can see the farthest is in the valley of humility. On our knees, physically and spiritually, is where our eyes can pierce the darkness and expose the falsehoods being propagated upon and within the visible church. Gospel truth is not just something to be discussed or argued over. To defang the gospel is to place souls in great jeopardy. We see and hear these diabolical falsehoods being preached and we hear the truth not being preached and we must warn others. The watchman is many times a thankless job except in heaven.
Jn.3: 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
It is simple. If we are not willing to believe and abide by the teachings of Jesus which apply directly to our earthly lives and practices then how will the Holy Spirit teach us things that pertain to Christ and His spiritual kingdom? And, sadly, that is where most of the western evangelical community lives. They live within a world of their own making which has been taught to them by a fallen culture and therefore they actually know very little of Christ at all. And, sadly again, they are very comfortable living in that world.
But if you truly wish to know Him you must bow before all His teachings not just the ones which cost you nothing. The Holy Spirit is ready to lead hungry hearts into greater revelations of Christ’s glory. But where are these hungry hearts? You see you cannot fool most of us because we sat in the pews. We spoke with other church people and we sat and listened to pulpiteers. We remember clearly just how blind we were and we remember clearly just how blind everyone was. We were there and we were one of them. And knowing all this our heart breaks for the blind mice who run to and fro from a building of activities but have no real and self denying hunger to know and follow and worship Christ.
Do we desire to know heavenly things? If so we must be faithful to what He teaches about earthly things. I can remember the metamorphosis and the evolution that took place within my heart and soul. One by one the Spirit would bring before me something I had blindly believed and I was challenged again and again to prayerfully reexamine all of it. I did not want to change for change’s sake or to be controversial or hailed as some rebel. But when the Spirit opens your eyes you cannot turn away and live just as you had before. You see authentic revelation changes you or it is nothing but some new perspective which changes nothing.
Men stand behind pulpits and try and present some clever point by point verbiage which will entertain people for about an half an hour. And people file out with a sense of a fulfilled obligation and they head back to the lives they led before and await next week’s choreography. What percentage will search the Scriptures looking for more of Him? How many will actually engage in sacrificial prayer? How many will seek the riches of Christ and be rewarded by the Spirit through the grace of God? How many will fast and pray for greater revelation concerning heavenly things?
The answer would be shocking but we have nothing in ourselves with which to boast. By God’s grace we have been plucked from the hollow and mundane exercise which passes for Christianity and we have been brought before Him and His cross. And there we have found true life indeed.
II Cor.11: And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
There are so many paradoxes in Scripture. The first shall be last; he who would be master must be the servant of all; we must die to live; and others including when we are weak we are strong. In fact Paul says through the Spirit that his strength is made perfect in weakness. Think about the implications of that truth. But until we understand what “weak” means in the Spirit we will cling to earthly definitions and thereby be deceived.
Please be aware that the truth we are to walk into now goes against everything the world knows, believes, and practices. It is the fine china of spiritual truth. It is the hallowed ground of following Jesus. It is the sacred key which unlocks the door to Jesus Himself. But it does not come without cost. And just what is that cost? It will cost you yourself. It will cost you everything. It will cost you your life. And yet the cost is so very small compared with the eternal reward that soars above all we could ask or think. The weakness of which Paul speaks is actually the glorious exchange which remits a cost and receives a reward immeasurable and filled with His glorious Person. It is the mystery of mysteries which carries with it such an eternal treasure of His grace.
This weakness is fully realized by one’s own self denial and even one’s death. Oh that we could grasp this truth and embrace it every moment of our earthly lives! How much we have missed by inviting our own whims and desires and intellects and even our own thoughts to rule, or even be a part, or our beings? And the apostle says that he actually glories in his infirmities because they remind him of who he really is and Who Christ really is. I have experienced that place far too infrequently in my life, but oh the glory that has flooded my soul when I have!
“That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Such a thought! Such a desire! When that power rests upon us the whole world means nothing to us. It is within that sacred place where Christ is revealed through our mortal beings and He alone receives all the glory. I hunger and thirst for that place, but I am well aware that the cost for such is within my own hands. I have no one to blame for any insufficiency in that regard but myself. How often have I offered most of myself and yet held back a portion about which I thought was hidden from His view? How often have I redefined “surrender” to mean “with conditions”? Oh when I think of what I have forfeited so many times because I refused to embrace the weakness which would result in my ridicule, or my demeaning, or my misunderstanding because I refused to defend myself? My flesh demands a hearing so I can defend myself even when my intentions were righteous. I refuse to stand mute as did my Lamb before His shearers. Oh no, even if I am to be sheared I need tom explain myself so that I can be seen as better in the eyes of men. This weakness thing can only go so far.
But if that be so then the cost is far too high. If I must mitigate my persecution than His footsteps are not my path. If I must receive some earthly satisfaction then His glory cannot be mine. If I must embrace a partial weakness then I cannot enter into the sacred life of weakness found only inside the cross. If I cannot be weak with all its vulnerabilities and implications than I cannot follow Him into the eternal treasures which He has prepared for the disciples who will die.
This is no game. This is life and death. Please, Holy Spirit, let me choose both.
I Cor.1: 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Surely the preaching of the cross is archaic and foolish and even Neanderthal within this sophisticated church structure and practice. We hear much about marriage and finance and self image and boldness and charting our own earthly course. But the cross? Oh no, it is such a downer and a doctrinal relic. It is relegated to metaphors unless it is ignored altogether. Men seek riches and self worth and all kinds of worldly thing which are just ways to seek themselves.
But without the cross men seek in vain even if they gain the whole world.
Phil.3: 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
That shocks me to my core. To be an “enemy of the cross” is a spectacular evil indeed. And Paul says there are many. If Paul lived today he might have used a much more descriptive word when describing ministers. He might have said “most”. God forbid that we should not only ever be called an enemy of the cross, or that we should even support or endorse any who are. Test the spirits my dear brethren.
Heb.12: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
And here it is once again. We are to keep looking unto Jesus by keeping the cross ever fresh in our hearts and minds. The word the Spirit uses here is “joy” when referring to how Jesus viewed the impending suffering upon that cruel tree. And as we gaze upon this selfless act of love we do well to remember that word love. For it is in this scene upon Golgotha’s hill where we see love exposed and unfurled in all it eternal power and elegance and divine glory. Who can measure the length and width and depth and height of such a love which reveals itself within bloody wounds? Who among us can question the sincerity of God’s love once we have been led to that cross and taught by the Spirit its wonders?
We, by faith, and children of the cross and by that moniker we are followers of Jesus. Let us never forget that the Spirit beckons us to embrace, and yea carry, that same cross as we walk through this darkened world. What does success mean to one who embraces that cross? How can riches tempt a cross carrier? What temptation does that glitter of this world have to one whose glory is found in His cross? There is no way anyone can truly follow Jesus without forsaking himself and loving the cross. In fact who can even live without it? No one…no one at all.
“…for there are many, nowadays, who do not glory in it, but forsake it! Alas that it should be so, but there are ministers who ignore the Atonement! They conceal the Cross, or say but little about it. You may go through service after service and scarcely hear a mention of the atoning blood—but Paul was always bringing forward the expiation for sin—Paul never tried to explain it away.” (C. H. Spurgeon)
What is there in which we can glory save in the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? It was there where the death we earned was placed upon Christ and the sins which were the cause of our death were forgiven and atoned for through His sufferings and death. This is no Sunday School lesson nor is it some example of self sacrifice which we should emulate. Oh no, my brothers and sisters, this was the place where the door to eternity was opened and through which all sinners could pass by true faith alone.
Those who do not speak often of its glory are no ministers of Christ at all. Those who have truly been to Calvary’s spectacle and seen and heard His sufferings can never assign the cross to a spiritual aside. It is our life. It is our core. It is our glory.
Many conservatives and evangelicals say that “Muslims hate Christians!” and supposedly that should make everyone take action against them. But there was a time when you and I hated God and lived in defiance of the Lord Jesus. And Jesus knew all this when He walked this earth. So what action did He take because of that knowledge?
The cross.
Ti.1: In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
God cannot lie. Man’s promises are never ironclad and many times self serving. But God is not a man that He should lie. One day kneeling before His presence we will understand just how powerful and faithful He was to every syllable of His Word. By faith alone in Jesus who IS the Word we have been grafted in and now we are the sons of God. Does that thrill your soul and draw you to Him all the more? Yes, we are part of His eternal family and we will be forever.
How can we know this? God has promised it and He cannot lie. Praise His name!
Ps.33: 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
I Pet.2: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
So many define the word “nation” as a country. In the Old Testament it meant God’s people, and the same in the New Testament. In fact most times the Greek word “nation” is ethnos or ethnicity. Our ethnicity in found in Christ. There is no Jew nor Gentile, no slave nor master, and even no male nor female in Christ. It is a great and glorious mystery which has no equal. So much of the American evangelical community commits two glaring errors which have many spiritual consequences. They have given their hearts to America as well as Israel. Both are secular countries and not God’s people at all.
God’s true people come from all over the world out of every race and every age and both genders and we are called the Bride of Christ. Can you even fathom such a thing? To be His Bride awaiting the marriage feast of the Lamb? So what would you think of a bride to be committing adulteries while she awaits her marriage? But that is exactly what has happened. You may go with your family to watch fireworks because they enjoy it, but is your heart given to that spirit? You may choose your words carefully because you do not desire to be a stumbling block, but is your heart His alone? Yes, we must be wise as serpents but harmless as doves.
But let me make this bold proclamation. Unless you see yourself as a part of an unseen kingdom and as a humble but completely separated spectator in the kingdoms of this world you can never go deeper in Christ. You might be saved but you will always be playing with idols and believe God approves of them. Those of us who have been there can testify that when you leave the kingdoms of this world and cling to Him alone your eyes and your heart is opened to the wonders of His sacrifice.
I realize many people do not understand or appreciate what I write about sometimes. They cannot understand what I find so offensive about Joel Osteen or patriotism or even capitalism. I know and I do not judge them. But please remember this from Acts 4 - 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Gen.3: 6 - And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The fruit of evil has always been pleasant to the eyes and is desirable.
Rev.1: 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Let the world obsess over politics and sports and fashion and Hollywood and world events. But let us, who are not of this world, obsess over Him. He is all glorious and yet He whose face shone brighter than the Sun places His nail scarred hand upon John and He says, “Fear not…” There is coming a time when men’s hearts will fail them for fear. But for those who have been found safe inside this glorious King, for us we will be afforded the greatest gift of all…the privilege of worshiping the Lamb forever. Who can even fathom such an eternal gift of grace? He who holds the keys to death and hell pointed the scepter of grace upon me the moment I truly believed.
And now I am headed for that Celestial City where the light of the Lamb permeates every corner of eternity.
With each passing day things of this earth become more and more meaningless. Empty shells aimed at entertaining men’s darkened hearts. While men and women and children search for food and water in many parts of the world the western church continues to borrow and build and invent creative ways to entertain goats and sheep together. Millions are dying as you read this post and most of us will lay our heads upon dry pillows and with air conditioned homes knowing when we awake we will eat anything we want.
I often wonder just how God feels about all this hedonism while others suffer and die. And this Sunday thousands upon thousands of churches will celebrate the modern Babylon. The nation in which it is legal to rip unborn children from the supposed safety of a mother’s womb and men are paid to do so…that is the nation professing believers will celebrate? In what kind of spiritual fog do we live? Do we even know God at all? Have we treated Jesus like a coupon which can allow us into heaven? We dwell in a land of great apostasy and millions who name His name seek their own comfort and wealth.
This is not the Bride. This is a whore.
Rom.2: 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Do you ABHOR idols?
...I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world? Whether you can consent to see her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?
Adoniram Judson
Let me beg you, not to rest contented with the commonplace religion that is now so prevalent.
Adoniram Judson
 If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.
Adoniram Judson
There it stands at the very core and heart of the faith and yet it is so neglected. It is treated like a symbol, a talisman, or a tenant of doctrine. But it alone is the source of all true life. That power is not confined to history. It is alive today. It is the power of the cross. It has been rejected by so called Christian television. It is ignored by millions who profess His name. Men seek relevance and earthly success but not the cross.
But it is the zenith of all truth and under its shadow men die to live.
In the midst of all the hoopla and all the violence and all the screams and all the pain and all the suffering and all the sin there is still a sacred place to for those who know and seek Him. Let the world spin out of control. He alone reigns supreme and His presence can saturate the humble and listening soul. The whirlwind desires to take me away but His holy presence gives me life and anchors me to Him alone. It cannot be fully revealed with words. Only the Spirit can show you. And when you have found that place you want it again and again and again. And one day, one glorious and eternal day, we will experience His presence without a da4rkened glass or without our own hindrances. Now…we see Him in the Spirit. But then face to face. Oh my…
Bondage and more bondage. Bondage to money and events and the things of this world. Bondage to worldly thoughts and aspirations. Bondage to worry and the merry-go-round of human machinations. Bondage to politics and patriotism and hatred and even war. The chains of bondage are invisible but extremely powerful. Men and women live within their power and yet are unaware.
But when you are born again by God’s Spirit you suddenly realize just how imprisoned you actually were. And now you are free and liberated from your own sin and earthly designs. Who the Son has set free is free indeed! Halleluiah!!
Demonic forces are all over the world. They are much more intelligent that so many realize. They know if they appear as they did in the exorcist that people will know they are there. They know that so many attribute their power to many of the moral sins in America. They hear what people say and they create their strategy accordingly. Their power is in subtlety and suggestion and sophisticated errors which promote some truth. Their greatest power is in changing the gospel and presenting Jesus as man’s bell hop. That is what men desire and demons give it them.
When every atom has been demolished and the proverbial dust settles and time is no more, than Christ Jesus and His kingdom and all those who have been redeemed will be left alive…forever.
II Pet.1: 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
And oh what majesty! Our hearts cannot only grope and lay hold of the hem of His garment, but one day we will see Him as He is. Can you even fathom such a thing? To see the Risen and Glorified Christ! So many think we cleaned up our lives when we believed in Jesus but they are wrong. Our lives are just outward manifestations of an encounter with this Eternal Being of Light. I was not just made whole. I was given a new man which is eternal. And it is this new man which worships Jesus and seeks to obey Him and to know Him in all His fullness. I look the same on the outside but on the inside I am inhabited by this same Jesus. Yes we are supposed to love others and be kind and show mercy, but that is not why Jesus came. Jesus came to pay for our sins and offer every man eternal life through faith in Him and His sacrifice on Calvary.
They took Him down from that awful yet beautiful tree and He was a bloodied bag of bones, covered in wounds, and smelling of death. This was God? Natural man designs his own god and makes him a super human. But God came in the likeness of sinful flesh and laid down His life a ransom for whosoever will believe. But days later this same Jesus ascended into heaven and there He sits and reigns in a majesty we can never know this side of the temporal/eternal curtain.
This is no sentimental religion we follow. We have met Jesus and we have believed. And within that faith the Spirit has changed our hearts and our minds. We now believe things we never could have before. We now have compassion we never had before. We now worship like we never could before. We now see the cross not as a doctrinal tenant but as life itself. We can never hear enough about it. And Jesus…this Jesus, is our Master. We seek no other, we know no other, and we reject all others. And as Peter said we look for the “power and coming of our Lord Jesus”. This is our very life. We do fall short but we can never turn back. We know too much to ever search again. We have met Him and He is everything to us…forever. Selah.
It is extremely easy to get spiritually sidetracked and lose God’s perspective on things. We may think we are being champions of truth and morality when in fact we have strayed from the path, and yes, the Path Himself. We must daily remind ourselves that we are citizens of an unseen kingdom and we have no part in this world. But we live in this world do we not?, you ask. No, we do not. We live and move and have our being in Christ Jesus and our lives are hid with God in Christ. But how can this be in reality and in practice?
This kind of mindset emanates from a heart which has been strengthened by God’s Word and the Spirit and which is pursing Jesus. And that kind of soaring and overcoming life must be pruned daily. The flesh is eager to guide us away from the true riches as we grapple for crumbs. Stay the course always looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith and our life.
II Pet.3: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
There is no ambiguity here, and the implications are explicit. God would not have be longsuffering in order to see sinners come to faith in Christ if God already had chosen which He would save and who He would not. Just a cursory reading of the sentence clearly establishes some kind of fee will for each and every man. That is why when we witness we do not have to wonder if we are just wasting our time because the lost sinner to whom we speak was not remembered at Calvary. Salvation has been offered to every man and it is God’s will that none should perish.
But, certain theologians protest, does that mean man can override the will and purposes of God? Well, yes and no. When you sin was that God’s will? Absolutely not. But God’s will concerning forgiveness kicks in. It is unimaginable to me how men can teach that Jesus did not die for every sinner but only for a relative handful when compared with the entire human race. And God must have really loved Americans and Canadians and Brits and, well, you get the picture.
It is a wonderful paradox that the same Spirit which reveals to us the redemptive patience of God also says “Even so, come Lord Jesus”. There are so many glorious wonders that can be found in Scripture. Some are low hanging fruit which burst with the nectar of truth even as we read them. But others require prayer and fasting and meditation which can bring about a treasure uncovered which ministers and convicts and feeds our souls. And God, in His infinite love and wisdom, shares truth with us in ways we can understand.
But the longsufferings referred to in this verse is in the context of the return of Christ to this earth. Men love to identify signs and the Scriptures do speak of such things. Today it sells books and keeps programs on television. But I think there are two overarching signs that are unmistakable as Jesus prepares to return.
The sins of the world are getting worse and more open.
The sins of the church are getting worse and more open.
Let us be honest about America. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ you must face facts or retreat into your own rebellious sense of truth. America was birthed by war and killing over taxes which is another way of saying “over money”. And more than half a million slaves were sold in America which resulted in great economic growth. Millions of slave died en route to the Americas and many more died at the hands of their owners. Most of these owners were church going people who considered slaves as a sub-human species. Over 500,000 people died in the Civil War as the states battled over the right to slavery.
Since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land over 50 million unborn babies have been untimely ripped from their mother’s womb. Abortion and prejudice still exist today. America is the only nation to use an atomic weapon which killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Now America is no worse or no better than any other country. But if we as believers are to understand the kingdom of God then we must face what should be obvious. If America was completely pro-life, and if it never promoted slavery, and if it outlawed any gay marriages, it still would not be a green light for a true believer to pledge their allegiance to it.
We have but One Master and He is not an American.
The kingdom of God is here. It lives within every true believer in Christ Jesus. It is we who must die to ourselves and allow the Spirit to manifest that kingdom as well as the Lord Jesus Himself. But sometimes deception is very subtle. What may seem right just may be a deceptive tool being used very effectively by the evil one. Jesus must be high and exalted by His followers.
Somewhere along the line the church capitulated to the dictates of this fallen world and became involved with things which only hinder the gospel. This is very sad. You see sometimes the divine will is sacrificed upon the altar of what is right. The calling we have is the gospel and our Master is Jesus Himself. The world will argue back and forth and one side will claim victory when certain legislation seems to accommodate them and vice versa.
But we must remember and let is sear into our hearts that we are not of this world. All the wrangling and histrionics are not part of us. I watch as people stand outside the building where nine robed men and women decide things and I grieve for their souls. They may have an answer but they do not have THE answer. The greatest freedom a believer can experience is when he leaves the systems of this world and he recognizes that the kingdom in which he lives and breathes is an invisible kingdom.
Yesterday President Obama spoke at a church. He spoke about a bloodless grace which God gives so we can see the evils in the culture and fix them. That is not the grace of God. And grace that does not emanate from and draw sinners to the cross is a worldly grace invented by men in order to help them make their world a better place. This is not our world. It never was and it never will be. One day Jesus Himself will come with a world of His choosing and He will summon us to His world. That world, my dear friends, will be something to behold. The lion will lie down with the lamb and men will make their instruments of war into instruments used to feed others.
But as wonderful and amazing such a place will be it will not be that place which astounds us and captures our hearts. Oh no…never. It will be the amazing and brilliant and beautiful spectacle of the Lord Jesus Himself which will permeate our beings. And as Spurgeon once said we then will think ourselves a thousand fools to have ever desired anything of this present world. Amen and amen.
 I do not believe any honest reading of the teachings of Jesus can suggest He was in favor of war and violence…ever. But many years ago the king of that country would lead the warriors into battle and risk his own life. Today leaders sit in air conditioned offices and eat the finest foods served by servants and take lavish vacations and read the daily casualty reports. And after thousands of men and women have died, these leaders retire to a wonderful life of retirement. It is absurd but it is the norm.
Is.40: 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Oh how great is our God! Have we even understood His majesty and His power toward us? He who created everything exhibits that same power toward us who are but dust in His sight. And yet He loves us with an everlasting love. Who can know it? We sometimes think we can summon up our own power when in truth we have none. The young and vigorous men shall utterly fail. I have absolutely no strength at all.
But think on this. This powerful and awesome God of all creation who created everything out of nothing just by the word of His own mouth came as one of us and went willingly to that cruel cross which savaged Him and mocked Him and made Him the object of man’s own torture. There He hung and writhed in physical and spiritual pain and then recorded it for all to know it. Just what kind of monarch, separate from sinners, removes His robes and steps right into the hands of wicked men like you and like me? He who could have destroyed creation with one word or even one divine wink went to Golgotha for the likes of me. It is overwhelming.
But in order to open our hearts to His loving power we must wait upon Him. This does not mean to sit like we would sit on a park bench and wait for a bus. This waiting means to minister as well as casting all our cares upon Him. To pray, to read, to meditate, to fast, to praise, to worship, and to seek His glorious face so that we might die to ourselves and rise fully in Him. That is waiting on the Lord. What a privilege of grace.
Thank you, Father, for your unending and undeserving love. Thank you for being always there. Thank you for listening to me even when I was babbling. Thank you for sending me comfort when I was the victim of my own undoing. Thank you for being my shelter when storms hit hard. There is no one like You. I praise Your Holy Name. I am, by faith, your child. I call You Daddy, Father.
What if there were never supposed to be church buildings?
What if there were never supposed to be congregations over 75 members?
What if gatherings were never supposed to have any business meetings?
What if ministers were to teach young called ministers and not some big colleges?
What if believers were to be accountable to one another?
What if the gatherings were to be an all day affair?
What if the pastor was paid a modest salary and not the salary packages which mirror the world?
So what if a man named Constantine changed the very spiritual fabric of local gatherings and now hundreds of years later the structure is not only completely different than the Spirit intended, but it is at odds with what God designed? If the church never acquiesced to the carnal demands of a dictator just how would the church look today? How many billions and billions of dollars that were spent on buildings and mortgage payments could have been used to send missionaries around the world?
What if the body of Christ was to be more than theology?
What if we all were to be unmistakable lights in the midst of a perverse nation?
What if we were never supposed to be entangled with the affairs of this world?
What if the gatherings were filled with much prayer?
What if there were never supposed to be professional Christian singers?
What if the cross was supposed to be the very heart of our faith?
What if we were supposed to allow Jesus to live the same way He did through us?
But how many even ask such questions to say nothing of examining what is practiced in the modern version of what is called colloquially “church”? Symbols and days and seasons and holidays and church mottos have replaced the Spirit. But now the burden of obedience lies before each and every one of us. We are now accountable directly to God. We have been granted the privilege of seeking His face through the indwelling of the Spirit. There is no excuse. Just because most of the modern church structure has eviscerated the Word of God does not excuse any of us. We have the Word, we have the Spirit, we have prayer, and we have divine power that empowers us to seek and to find. Let us do just that. What if we did just that?
To ignore the statistics that openly and undeniably show a direct link to murder and violence when guns are more available to the average citizen is to be willfully ignorant as well as culpable to the many innocent lives that are being lost. To be sure gun laws can never change the human heart, but keeping guns out of the hands of fallen and wicked hearts would seem like a very good idea. But how many who name the name of Christ will cling to their guns regardless of how many lives are lost? It is way past time for us to acquiesce to that which has been obvious for a very long time. It isn’t liberal to be in favor of stricter gun laws. It is just common sense. You may never use your guns to kill innocent people but what about your neighbor? Are you willing to take that chance?
Yes, I guess you are.
Perhaps 15 years ago a missionary family to Pakistan sat in Sunday morning church service. The couple had three young children. Some terrorists threw several hand grenades into the church and several people were killed. The missionary mother’s leg was badly mangled and their 8 year old little boy was flown to Germany with life threatening injuries. Two years later and after the little boy had undergone many surgeries the family climbed the platform to address the church body. The wife limped noticeably and the now 10 year old little boy seemed to be doing well.
The father first thanked God for His grace. He praised the Lord Jesus for their salvation and for seeing his family through this crisis. And then the father asked for prayer for his family because they were returning to the mission field to reach the lost in the same general area. You think you endure hardship? You think you sacrifice for Jesus? I was there and wept with those who heard that man. There are many, many families who have left all and endured great hardship and even tragedy and yet stayed the course and remained faithful to Christ and His gospel.
One day these families will be recognized openly in heaven and allowed to present the Redeemer with jewels for His eternal crown. It is testimonies like these that forbid me from thinking too highly of myself. Let Jesus Christ be praised!
Mk.8: 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The world presents things as precious. Careers, physical appearance, business success, intellect, cars, national identity, and all things that pertain to money. But how value does the world place upon a person’s soul? The answer is none. That is because the world cannot know spiritual things or the True and Living Jesus. But just absorb those words from the lips of our Lord. They are powerful and unnerving as well.
If you took all that is in the world and gave it to one person it would not match the value of his own soul. How do we compare a few decades with eternity? But so often we walk by sight and not be faith and the eyes of the Spirit. We look at the temporal and not the eternal. But where will you be one billion years from this very day? That is no trick question. That is a probing question which should give us all pause.
The church has reduced it to a heaven and hell question and to be sure they play a part in redemption. But the words of these four verses go deeper than just punching a ticket to heaven. They speak of losing our very lives for Jesus’ sake. Think about what that means and all the implications. And when our Lord says to for us to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him just how does that translate into our temporal lives? What indeed does that look like in the natural? When we sincerely embrace those words it must find some unmistakable expressions in our lives that even lost people can see.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of eternal redemption which is spread through lips and lives.
Sometimes we are prone to make a list. We love to make a great and swelling theology and doctrinal dissertation. But in the end, if we truly are a disciple of Jesus, we are on a quest to seek and to know and to follow His heart. There…simple but unfathomable.
Gary Ridgway is the Green River killer. He murdered at least 48 women. At his sentencing many relatives came forth and shouted accusations at him. But then one man with a long white beard and dressed like a very poor man came to the lectern and looked directly at Gary. He said, “I am want to hate you but my God says I must forgive you. I forgive you.”
Ridgway had listened to many, many people scream at him and he sat stoically. But when that one poor man said “I forgive you” Ridgeway broke down and cried.
There is great power in forgiveness. Just visit the cross and feel it.
I unfriended another man. To be my Facebook friend is no great honor. But I feel like some monarch who points his scepter and says, “Off with his head!” And “The rest can stay…they amuse me.” You know, in reality, I have come to cherish this FB thing. I realize many do not understand some of the things I write. And I love them for their forbearance. I love my FB brothers and sisters in Christ with a deep and abiding passion.
I do not know almost all of you in the flesh, but I know you in the internet spirit. I have grown in Christ being a part of this mysterious communicative vehicle. But be aware some of you are hanging by a thread! (Only kidding) The only way you can be unfriended by me is to consistently post hatred, racism, or just being a jerk of which I am the sole discerner. ( laugh out loud)
Eph.6: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
This principle should permeate itself within our very beings. How often have I done what I think is right without embracing this truth? How often have I not done right without even considering this truth? I serve Jesus alone whatever the circumstance. The relatives of the slain victims in South Carolina deeply convict and exhort me. They have come forth with a manifestation of Christ which should exhort us all.
Jesus is greater than any sin a man can commit! Halleluiah and [praise His eternal name!
It is entirely possible and many times most convenient to embrace “Christian values” without embracing Christ. You see men have invented so called “Christian values. But Christ IS our value and everything He teaches is devoid of us and all of Him. Let me explain something or at least try to. If you take a right principle or moral truth and separate it from Christ it becomes an instrument of human self righteousness. Without Christ is brings death. But that very same truth when seen through Christ brings life regardless of what it may mean to men.
But it is so very easy and self affirming to champion certain truths, but it will take a lifetime to follow Jesus as Master and Lord. And once you follow Him as Lord you will not dare present any truth without presenting THE truth Who alone can heal and redeem the sin sick soul.
I can only find peace in Christ Jesus. When I find myself in turmoil or discontent or entertaining a judgmental spirit the Holy Spirit reminds me of something.
I forgot to die that day.
Who am I? What am I? I do not engage in inerrancy debates. When I get to heaven if God told me that the story of Jonah was a parable much like the ones Jesus told it would not shatter me at all. If a gay couple moved in next door I would invite them over for dinner. I embrace some theology but I do not form it into a club nor do I wear it as a badge. I do not vote nor do I pledge allegiance to the flag. I am against war and violence. And yet I believe with all my heart Jesus Christ is the only Savior and a personal born again faith is required to gain an entrance into heaven.
So I am not a conservative nor a liberal. I am not a fundamentalist nor am I ecumenical. I am not a Baptist nor am I a Pentecostal. I am not an evangelical and yet in some ways I am. I guess I am just a common, humble, and manifestly imperfect follower of Jesus the Christ. And that is all I ever want to be.
“I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”
Elisabeth Elliot
I have a soft spot in my heart for those believers who have left family and friends and travelled great distances and placed themselves in harm’s way just to reach sinners who they have never met and in the natural should not care about or maybe just remember them in prayer. Here is a woman who followed God through her husband and then was there when God took her husband at the hands of the very sinners they were sent to win. It is an amazing story of God’s grace and love exhibited through common and yet uncommon followers of Jesus.
Many who found themselves in Elisabeth Elliot’s shoes may have questioned God or at least shrunk back and engaged in self pity. But this wonderful lady of God kept being used of the Spirit and has often been used of God to challenge and convict me. I have read her works and her life story. “Through Gates of Splendor” is one of the deepest Christian books ever written. And it is testimonies such as hers that make me cringe at what passes for discipleship today.
There are Alcu Indians who today are following Jesus and some who are in heaven because of the Elliot’s and the others. Jesus Himself made mention of those who have left earthly comforts in order to bring the gospel to strangers abroad. Their reward in heaven will be great. But think on this: What kind of ecstasy, what kind of immense pleasure and privilege, and what kind of worship experience will there be for those who have such rewards and are allowed to place them before two nail scarred feet? Oh my…just oh my. May Jesus Christ be praised.
Eph.4: 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Jn.14: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus not only speaks truth. He not only teaches truth. He not only lived truth. But Jesus IS truth.
Jn.18 37… Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
So much of moralistic Christianity culls out some principle or proverb and presents it as God’s truth. But not only is that incomplete, but it is a form of law. Everything presented to the lost world must be covered in the redemption which only comes from Christ. You see, Christ is the truth and attempting to force feed some truth to a lost world without Christ is like demanding a person start a car without the key. Even further it is like demanding a corpse straighten his tie. And yet not only do so many professing Christian practice that kind of useless law, they also condemn lost people for being…well…lost. Jesus did not come to condemn the world because they are already condemned.
Our calling is to present Christ and in Him alone we will find all truth. Truth presented apart from the gospel to the world is hollow and on some level self righteous. In fact the ONLY reason you even embrace ANY truth is because of Jesus. So how can expect others to understand and embrace any truth without Jesus? The gospel of Jesus Christ has become hidden under a blanket of moral, political, and national truth.
Someone once said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men…” That, my friends, is truth spoken by THE Truth.
Phil.4: 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Oh that the Spirit would sear that into me heart and into my being. Why, oh my soul, am I ever discontent in any state as long as I am the dwelling place of the majestic Son of God? What condition could be greater than that? And you, my wandering heart should be ashamed. That God Himself would pay for my redemption and then come to abide within me should be the end of the matter. But how often some inconvenience or some trial draws my attention away from Him and onto myself?
Oh keep me looking unto Jesus not only as the Author of my faith, but as the Finisher as well.
II Cor.12: I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
The presence of God was so real and so tangible that Paul could not even tell if it was in or out of the body. Think about that for a while.
 Phil.3: But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Oh the soaring majesty of the grace of God through Christ Jesus our Lord! In the previous verses Paul lays out his Hebrew qualifications which are impressive. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees and was zealous of the law. His Old Testament credentials were impeccable. If anyone could have passed on Christ and relied upon his obedience to the law it was Paul.
But Paul makes a shocking pronouncement. He gathers all his qualifications and adherence to the law and even his personal resume and calls them dung. That in those days was a startling acclamation and it was meant to be so. So after he rejects everything he has worked a lifetime to achieve he counts them all as dung and concludes with this: And being found in Him. And therein lies the distinct line of demarcation. When we come to faith in Christ Jesus we must reject our past whether it be good or bad. As we embrace Him we must see all our sins and all our so called good works as chains of self righteousness.
Paul says he has suffered the loss of all things for the knowledge of Christ. But in today’s heaven stamp Christianity you can gain heaven and pretty much keep everything you have and even pursue getting more and more. You have had your ticket punched now you can return to whatever you desire to do. But is that New Testament Christianity? Sure we can count doing drugs and being immoral as dung, but can we count our obsession with money or politics or our allegiance to America as dung? Or can we count our pride as dung? And is our faith in Him so deep and so unlike anything else that it makes it seem like we actually hate everyone and everything else?
But if we truly catch a glimpse of our Risen Lord our hearts will be changed and the things of this world, good or bad, will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.