The Real Work of The Spiritual.

A lot of people think that pointing out sin is the great highlight of Matthew 18. It makes a lot of believers feel spiritual, when they are able to point out the sins and weaknesses of others. It does not.
Jesus Christ did not die on the cross, so His church can be experts in pointing out the sins of their brethren. Any Pharisaical and self-righteous person, deluded into thinking that they have no sin can do that, APART FROM THE CROSS OF GOD’S SON.

SIN IS REBELLION TOWARDS GOD, IT IS POSSESSING AND EXHIBITING A WRONG KIND OF JOY IN SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE, IT IS BEING MISTAKENLY HAPPY IN SOMETHING OR SOMEONE ELSE AND IT IS BEING ENTIRELY DISCONTENT IN GOD.

THE REAL WORK IS CALLING THEM BACK TO SUBMISSION AND JOY AND GLADNESS AND CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST—IN GOD. 

Taking God’s Awesome Power For Granted.

One of the great sins and impediments to a true and progressive work of God is seeing God’s work as “not up to standard”.  In saying that I mean, not up to personal preference or bias. For some believers, revival is not revival if it isn’t according to how they see it; revival isnt revival if they are not directly the ones who benefit from it; revival isnt revival if it’s not the way they want it. Even if there were great conversions, which, on this side of eternity we would have to call genuine and sincere, these biased brethren would still say that it was all hype, or it was all because of the music or the air-conditioning or some other reason even though. . .the word is faithfully preached–not for gain or fame but simply that people might come to Christ and His name be glorified.

When was God’s work subject to our approval? When did we start judging God in the “degree of difficulty” in which He displays His power?! Dont we always say as evangelicals that we don’t deserve His mercy and yet, when in fact He does show it, we would rather have “another kind of mercy”. Its like being given water in the desert, after walking for days without a single drop (which by itself is a wonderful act of God’s power and mercy), we ask, “Do you have Evian? Because only Evian can quench my thirst”.

Are we not behaving like the Pharisees wherein they taunted the Lord to get down from the cross, “IF” He was really the Messiah?

Should God in HIs mercy send revival to His church, to a group, to a missions outpost, cell group or Bible study, it shall certainly not be because of these skeptics. It will simply be for the glory of His name.

Not A Split Personality Messiah.

Depiction of split personality

Many Christian teachers preach that one can be saved from the fires of hell, by simply believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. The heresy they create with this is that they willfully set aside the truth, of Jesus Christ as Lord. No one can believe in Christ, simply as Savior, but they also must believe in Him as Lord. I don’t recall a portion of the Gospels that Jesus Christ excluded one title from the other. Neither is Jesus Christ schizophrenic–split personality, to preach exclusively as Savior one day and the next simply as Lord.

Such teaching has gained so much mileage because they say that people don’t have to follow Christ and obey Him. They can continue in their hell destined ways, for as long as they already have fire insurance in the Savior. People can choose to follow Him at a later date. Sounds like Jesus Christ postponed HIs authority.

Such preachers don’t like to tell the people that Christ Himself preached to the people to count the cost in following Him.

Once you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior you also say that he is Lord. And that calls for a full surrender of your life to Him. IT CALLS FOR A TRUE, ABIDING AND DEEPENING COMMITMENT TO THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES!

CHRISTIANITY TODAY IS SUCH AN ENIGMA AND MANY TIMES A JOKE, BECAUSE MANY OF A CONVINCING NUMBER REMAINS SHALLOW AND STAGNANT IN THEIR COMMITMENT TO JESUS CHRIST.

SUCH A COMMITMENT IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY A FAILURE TO COUNT THE COST.

John Stott (Basic Christianity):

“The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half-built towers. The ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. . . thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cost . . .

The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity.

Comatose Confession

One of the great problems of the modern day church today is that when we read the prophets condemning the sins of Judah or Israel, we fail to see ourselves in those same sins.  Perhaps thinking that as the church we could never be guilty of such ghastly sins. Our sinful, defensive mechanisms point elsewhere.

For example, if we see the church not as zealous, not as holy, or as loving towards one another, what do we say? What do we do? There are times that instead of asking ourselves, “Perhaps I have not prayed enough for this person or that concern. . .?” Instead of zealously jumping the gun and putting the blame on others.

  • If the people are backslidden and sinning who gets blamed first? The person backsliding and then the pastor (the preaching, the manner of delivery, the substance of the message, the examples).
  • After that the kind of music and songs we use in worship is tagged as one of the usual suspects; then the seat mate; then the name of the church; then the time of the service (9am is just too early), so on and so forth.

We tend to blame so many people and things. And yet, fail, because of both self-righteousness and cowardice to bring the finger around and confess that we are part of the problem.

  • In my 13 years as pastor, observing believers in this church and other churches as well, I have concluded that there is a great willingness, almost a perverted sense of excitement in so many brethren in confessing the sins of others—pointing out their sins.
  • But in those 13 years as well, it is my definitive observation that we are almost comatose in confessing our own sins in a very sincere and humble way.
  • We develop a sense of spiritual arthritis with our fingers and wrists. We have the utmost difficulty of bringing around our fingers to point to us and say, “I have also sinned”.

There is some confession, but not always humble. Some confessions always have the bodyguards of Self-Righteousness and arrogant Self-Justification. and lets not forget managed by their manager False Humility.

With that kind of scenario, it is truly and simply the Lord’s mercy that shall help us out of where we are.

May we see in it in our lifetime!

 

Churches and Babies: From Cute to What Happened?

This past month (December) most of us have probably been attending several reunions (e.g. Family, high school or college, office mates, etc.). And in some of those reunions there were probably a few babies.

  • When we see babies our usual reaction is, “Aawww” and not “Ngyeh”. Because babies are cute and even if they haven’t taken a bath they still smell nice. Almost all people show a gentle fondness for babies.
  • People probably reacted to us that way when we were babies.
  • But now that we are all grown up, the humored reaction is “What happened to you?! You were so cute when you were a baby! You grew fat or your nose got so big! What happened to your hair?!” Clearly, we don’t look as cute anymore, compared to when we were still babies or toddlers.

Churches have that same reaction at some point.

How?

At the start, because we are a new creation, because we are clearly and sincerely declaring the excellencies of God (cf. 2 Cor.5:17; 1 Peter 2:9-10), we are cute. There is a sense of abiding and warm attractiveness to people, to fellow believers. The commendations that the Lord made on some of the churches in Revelation are with us; we are the church of Ephesus in Revelation (STILL with their First Love intact).

  • We share the Gospel; we stand up for the truth; we censure sin in love; we show love to the brethren, even to our enemies; prayer is alive; people are praying for all things (from the small to the great); people are enjoying the Word; people are enjoying and thanking God for the privilege of ministry and being part of a local church.

There is no denying that the Name of Jesus Christ, the name of God is powerfully seen in the life of the church. The church is indeed a site to behold!

But somewhere along the way that changes.

Because of the sin that creeps in, we slowly become dirty.

Our view and love for God has diminished, we no longer consider ministry and the church a privilege—

  • (The cell servants which we used to thank God for are now the greatest irritants of your life); clearly the love has gotten cold.

Da Vinci’s Model of Christ.

  • We can be likened to that story (As to whether fiction or not) about the model of Lenoardo Da Vinci for his painting The Last Supper. The story alleges that Da Vinci used the same model for Jesus Christ and Judas in his painting of the Last Supper. He painted the young man, 19 years old at that time to portray Jesus Christ. And painted the same man years later as Judas.
  • The man was unrecognizable to Da Vinci because of the years spent in crime and sin.

As the guards were leading their prisoner away, he suddenly broke loose from their control and rushed up to Da Vinci, crying as he did so, “O, Da Vinci, look at me! Do you not know who I am?”

Then, lifting his eyes toward heaven, the prisoner said, “Oh, God, have I fallen so low?” Then turning his face to the painter he cried, “Leonardo Da Vinci! Look at me again for I am the same man you painted just seven years ago as the figure of Christ.”

Wouldn’t that be a sad thing to say as a church?

  • “Look at me, we were a church! Oh dear Lord how could we have fallen so low?”

As offensive and difficult it is to swallow such a comparison, it is nonetheless possible and real for the Lord’s church. Instead of magnifying Jesus Christ, we are now only fit to portray the one who betrayed Him for the price of a slave.

When the church has fallen so low, the church must seriously bring into conscious thought and active life the need for God’s revival.

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