Friday, 17 April 2009

"I testify concerning the Jews, that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge"

From the fall of Man to the present, mankind seems to know instinctively that he owes his life and well being to someone larger than himself. This instinct needs little prompting in causing men to seek a god who bestows such favor and blessing in this life. No man is immune from life's difficulties and trials and eventually even death overtakes us all. It is precisely our impotence that most often forces us to our knees and causes us to seek whoever might be listening and then to offer some sacrifice in exchange for help. If we could fix life's problems ourselves or hire men to do it for us, we would! Oh, but the hands of men are weak and feeble! And who but a close circle of family and friends can be said to love us with any depth or regularity?? It is for good reason that man has learned not to depend on the "arm of the flesh" for life's most pressing issues. To whom ever and where ever man goes for help, he goes because he lacks the might to fix it himself, or else he would. Even if we were to hire the most skilled surgeon in the world, would we still not pray that God would guide his hands?
     What is the criteria for measuring a god? In which god should we trust? What is the process for examining whether or not a god has answered you and granted you your requests? How can we be certain it wasn't just dumb luck? How do we measure the strength of a god? Do men ever really inquire of their gods before deciding to serve them? Questions like: How old are you...how far back do you go? How vast is your knowledge...is it infinite? Are there limits to your strength? What do you require of me!? Dare we ask him if there other gods higher than he? One must exercise great caution when choosing a god or gods who will ultimately be in charge of their temporal and eternal well being.
    Christianity is the only religion in the world where God is the one who chooses those who will be His worshippers! Jesus told his disciples, "You did not choose me, but I chose you!" and again He told them, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Jesus also said in another place, "No man can come unto me, unless my Father, who is in heaven, draws him first." We would think it was absurd if a child told one of it's playmates that they chose their parents. We all agree that it is a sovereign act of parental choice to bring children into this world, never the other way around. Is the living God any different? Can human parents not tell the difference between their own children and someone else's? Can God not distinguish His own children also? Jesus told a group of Pharisees, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God...you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires." Are all men really the children of God...or do many belong to someone else? Why did Jesus say, that in the judgement, when He is seated on His throne, that "I will separate My sheep from the goats"?  Why are we so surprised at this...didn't He expressly state that, "I lay down my life for my sheep"? Who is a God like this?...who chooses His children before they are born and then upholds that choice at the final judgement? Does this sound like a God who's favor can be bought with offerings from this world? Can forgiveness of sin really be obtained through such empty trinkets? The bible says of Him, "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness of it" and in another place we read, "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills". What can we possibly offer to a God who already owns everything?? If men would just pause for one moment, and consider this point alone, how much closer to the kingdom of heaven they would be!  And when the scripture says to men that "salvation is of the Lord" and that "it is the gift of God" they scoff! "Surely I must do something!" is their objection. But I would ask them this one question, What did you require of your own children before you brought them into this world? And what did you make them pay you, before you granted them life? Consequently, they shall be brought as witnesses and plead God's case!
      Micah knew well the futility of "earning" Gods favor by offering sacrafices of earthly origin. He said this, "With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my loins for the sin of my soul?" But what does the bible reveal about how his chosen ones will express their zeal toward God, and how does this true knowledge instruct them to draw near? We read, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" This offering is of heavenly origin...not earthly! A salvation who's Author is God himself. He is the one who planned it and gives it to whomever he chooses. We read, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" and again we read, "All that the Father gives to me shall come to me, and he that comes to Me I will in no way cast out."  Not one part of it is left to us! From our Conception, to our Royal Coronation in heaven, He alone is our Savior!
     
In His Majesty's Service,
Mark 
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3 comments:

  1. Here's a quote from Charles Spurgeon that comes to mind.
    A sinner can no more repent and believe without the Holy Spirit's aid than he can create a world.

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  2. That's a great quote. What a staggering comparison...as if to say, "while you're at it create a planet!" I have found myself more and more convinced of preaching these things as core to the Gospel message. People have asked why? I think the reason is twofold. It's a preservative...tares cannot grow well in this soil and it keeps the population of wolves down; they require churches that are dull of sight and mind to thrive; on the contrary, it is perfect for growing wheat! His chosen ones are hit squarely by it! They are rightfully humbled and brought to see their utter need of His grace and mercy. Their flesh is necessarily weakened and they are thereby convinced that He must reach out to them in their "helpless estate" or they will surely be lost. The true Gospel insures that God receives all the glory and preserves without question the specialness of Christ's bride! When a man takes a wife, he is proclaiming to the world that this one in particular is loved by me...and no wife would ever object, but agrees that it is right and good, even if it means that his choice must thereby cast all other females on the planet into hopelessness! The Gospel is a precision, dynamic instrument who's designer is God, not man, able to "divide assunder both soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart", if we would stop tampering with it and let Him do His work. If it could be said, that this or past generations have been guilty of twisting any one subject of scripture more than another, the Gospel would be king. I say that because even baby's in Christ abuse it...they are not likely to be found twisting regularly some doctrine concerning the nature of angels. The leaven of gospel errors move with such speed, it is almost impossible to stay ahead of it! We need to teach early...especially during the "drawing" process of the Father, a biblical Gospel. We must strive to preach a truly unleavened Gospel as the health of the church both individually and corporately depends on it.

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  3. Hi Mark,

    Well said:

    Jesus told his disciples, "You did not choose me, but I chose you!" and again He told them, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Jesus also said in another place, "No man can come unto me, unless my Father, who is in heaven, draws him first."

    Michael

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