Archive for July, 2016

Be Dressed in Readiness

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

You do not know the day or the hour, keep your loins girded, be alert.  And He told them a parable saying, “The land of a certain rich man was very productive and he began reasoning to himself saying, ‘What shall I do since I have no place to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘This is what I’ll do.  I will tear down my barns and build larger ones and there I will store all my grain and my goods and I will say to my soul, “Soul you have many goods laid up for many years take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”  But God said to him, “You fool.  This very night your soul is required of you and now who will own what you have prepared?”  So is the man who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.”

Jesus, from the moment He began His ministry, was steadfastly walking toward His death.  Rich toward God He set His eyes ahead to the trial and the glory that was to be.  His disciples did not comprehend His mindset for they set their hearts on the things of man.  Jesus said to His brothers, when they were goading Him to go up to the feast in Jerusalem to make Himself public, “That your time is always opportune but that My time was not yet.”

Man sets his heart on the things of this world and cannot conceive that his days are fleeting and the day of God’s time for him is at hand.

We live for the life and satisfactions of this world but the deeper purpose of existence eludes our grasp.  We take the gifts of God’s bounty but not the reason for our journey.  As a result we are constantly taken by surprise.  It is never opportune for a man in this world to leave this world, to him it is a tragedy.  So Peter says to Jesus in response to his being told the fate that awaited the Lord, “Heaven forbid that this should happen to You.”  But it was for this reason that He was born and it was to this assignation that He steadfastly walked, without breaking step.

Always in readiness, no matter what time of day or night, He gave what He had to give, reaching out in love, without anywhere to lay His head, walking toward His goal.

We say we are disciples but are we really following?  A bit of idleness, a bit of folding of the hands, and we lose sight of the path that the Lord has prepared for us to walk to perform the good works He has assigned for us.  Just as the Father sent Him so He sends us.

Men face the leaving of this world as a tragedy while Jesus walked towards it as a goal.  His living was informed by His dying.  His love and His steadfastness and His resolve and all the love that He imparted was fully realised in His death.  Rich towards God He shared His riches with us.

If we love Him we too look toward Him, with unveiled face, longing for our redemption, not shrinking from our departure, our death, but urging others onward, to press on upward to the full hope of our calling, hastening the day of His coming, bearing the momentary light affliction, until we all attain to the full hope of the glory that will be revealed to us.

We become surprised when things don’t go as we planned, when our schemes and plans for our happiness don’t eventuate.  We retire and look forward to the wealth in our barns financing our trips and our years of idyllic heading into the sunset, and suddenly death upsets our plans, when really the hope of life should be in our leaving.

Our whole heart is not in our living as we ought, rich in longing toward God, not just in eternity, but here today, always living to be pleasing to Him.  Life should be lived dressed in readiness, oil in our lamps, always alive and longingly open to Him, so that whether in the body or out of the body we are always doing what delights Him

Being Saved – while remaining a slave to sin

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

I have recently been told by someone, I admit not for the first time, that they have been saved by Jesus and then in the next breath gone on to explain that they would remain in imperfection until they arrived in heaven.  It is such a spectacularly incongruous declaration I am amazed that anyone can make such a claim without any sense of irony or tragedy, indeed any realistic emotion at all.  Something is profoundly wrong, but just what?

On reflection it is obvious that they have not been saved at all.  Can you imagine a drowning man responding to his rescuer with such a glib response?  Here I have been swimming in the darkness of sin, drowning in filth and shame and emptiness, not knowing how to find the shore and a strong arm reaches out to me and gives me hope and strength and immeasurable help to pluck me out of the terrifying pain and loneliness and then I turn to him in the midst of the wonder of salvation and say “I just know I am going to keep on sinning until the day I die!”

It is obvious that what the church tends to call salvation is a lie, for there is no sense of love and wonder and awe, no thankfulness in it.  There is so much scripture to be discarded as the result of this kind of belief that it is hard to know where to begin to spell it out.  We could begin with John who writes, “My little children I am writing you these things so that you don’t sin.”  Elsewhere in the same letter he writes, “No one who is born of God sins, for His seed abides in them and they cannot sin.”  It is hard to fathom that anyone can find ambiguity in such words but the church manages to do so.

It is impossible to say, by the power of the Spirit of God, that “I am saved,” and by the same Spirit of God say “that as long as I remain on earth I cannot help but sin because I am human”.  The Spirit of God does not sin for it is impossible for Him to do so.  In other words it is not the truth speaking this confession.  So the enemy has planted a deception in their heart giving not life but the lie, a false gospel!  Having their ears tickled not only do they walk in smug false assurance but they also seek to convert others to their belief in order to comfort themselves by a weight of numbers to an assurance that not only are they saved but they are labouring mightily in the service of God.  In this way sin abounds.

There is no hungering and thirsting for righteousness in the church, no real hope that God can keep them from every appearance of evil, no heartfelt desire that the holiness of God might be made manifest in their midst and that He be glorified by His presence with them and that through this outpouring of real love the fear of His name might be established with them.  In the place of real revival and real love we see horrible Pentecostal episodes of laughter and ‘falling under the power’ a new name for the old ‘being slain in the spirit’.  All these grotesque shows satisfy the need for the sensational by the gullible, but more sadly they cause real pain and hurt to already wounded people.  Everyone is being spoiled by the enemy who sits in control of the established churches and he is happy to boast through their mouths the foolish claim “I am saved by Jesus yet I must remain a slave of sin until I die’.