Saturday, July 17, 2010
WANTED - Righteous Raiment, Purified Gold and Sanctified Salve
Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the king of Persia; many of his countrymen had moved back to Israel after their seventy year captivity in Babylon finally ended. The prophet Daniel was long dead, but his writings were preserved for posterity and Nehemiah had every hope that one day, all the Jews would return home, that the people would return to God in righteousness, and that the LORD God would bless them once again.
Every day passed by with hopeful expectation in Nehemiah's heart as he attended to affairs at court in the foreign land in which he served. He knew that there was coming a time when his cousins would visit him at the palace or at his own residence and report joyously on the tremendous progress in Jerusalem, the City of Peace.
Finally the day came; perhaps Nehemiah was gazing out a window when he saw the sight he longed for: a caravan with his cousins at the lead, heading towards his home. Maybe he dashed out with undignified eagerness, and ran like a little boy with gleeful expectation. As he came upon his brethren, he breathlessly called out,
"What news from Jerusalem?" His eyes large and bright with brilliant hope. Yet a sudden, thin chill crawled over his spine when he saw the downcast expressions, and dim furtive glances exchanged between the travelers. One of them, his cousin Hanani, finally spoke, his voice barely above a whisper:
"The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire."
Nehemiah was certain he hadn't heard the man right, but as he looked from one dejected expression to another, and another, the words echoed through his mind, and like a spear of ice, shot through his heart. Blankly he stared as the men in dusty garb shuffled passed him.
In an unseeing daze the royal cup bearer made his way back to his residence; he could hardly refer to it as his home. Yet the one place in the world he did think of as home was still in ruins! Ashes, smoke, crumbling stone, bereft of any beauty or integrity, Jerusalem was just as desolate, if not more so, than when Nebuchadnezzar, Emperor of Babylon had finished his destructive work!
Entering his dwelling, he went to his bed chambers and silently sat down on a chair by a window that faced the west. He looked out and stared intently on the horizon and thought on his beloved Jerusalem.
Would there ever be hope for him and his people? Would the land of his fathers ever know the blessedness of God's favor? Would Jerusalem know nothing but desolation and ruin? When and where would there ever come a chance for Israel to regain her former prosperity under the loving guidance of YHWH and fulfill the glorious purpose He planned for her? Would she thwart the glory of God forever?
Sitting there and thinking such desperate thoughts, I can see tears form in this man's eyes as his heart was rent and he agonized over the ruin of his beloved city. Those tears then spilled down his cheeks as he gasped in a rasping, choking sob that overtook him.
Falling to his knees with a shriek of anguished sorrow, he clutched at his robes; he tore them with violent grief to shreds! Heaving with sobs, he fell further onto his face, and there this godly man cried out to God on behalf of his people:
NEH 1: 5-11
I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:
But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.
O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.
This godly man, burdened with the deplorable condition of his people that was rightly reflected in the condition of their city Jerusalem, confessed -
"I . . . wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven". These were prayers very much like the one that Daniel prayed, over one hundred and fifty years prior (DAN 9: 3-20).
Hundreds of years later, the LORD Jesus Christ, at His ascension, told His disciples to "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high" and "ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (LUKE 24:49; ACTS 1:8).
The Great Commission set off like a nuclear blast as these apostles and disciples brought the message of Jesus to lost souls far and wide, making such an impact that its effects could be felt for generations afterwards! What did they have other than the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit that indwelt consecrated hearts and lives, set apart wholly for God Almighty? THAT WAS ALL THEY NEEDED IN THEIR DAY!
WHY DO WE BELIEVE WE NEED MORE TODAY IN ORDER TO BE EFFECTIVE IN REACHING THIS LOST WORLD?
Thousands of years later, the history of the church has been a series of ebbs and flows, waxing and waning in power, holiness, consecration, obedience, integrity in both doctrine and daily living. Every so often the Spirit of the LORD would breathe upon the body of Christ, and infuse her with greater spiritual vitality and revival.
Then, beginning in the mid 1800's, in the time of Modernism, there were those so-called leaders in the church that began to adopt 'liberal views' (a euphemism for unbelief) which was nothing more than a spirit of Gnosticism, dressed up in Western religious robes: a denial of the divinity of Christ, a denial of His virgin birth, a denial of His atoning blood sacrifice, a denial of His physical resurrection from the dead, a denial of the Holy and Inerrant inspiration of the Scriptures . . . essentially it reduced what was a spiritual reality in JESUS, in which the very Spirit of God moved and breathed over the body of Christ, to a mere 'Christianized' intellectual philosophy that parroted Gnostic, pagan and secular views!
Today, the Word of God has been changed, corrupted, altered in a myriad of translations and paraphrases, some of which not merely border on the blasphemous, but reek of its spiritual stench! Our ONE and ONLY source for spiritual truth, guidance, inspiration, comfort, nourishment and ammunition - and the enemy has crept in and has all but stolen away our precious resource by such modern translations/paraphrases based on what's known as the Westcott and Hort text (If you don't know about this 'Gnosticized' text, please visit this page from The TRUTH Under FIRE -
HOW NEAR EASTERN RELIGION INVADED THE WEST)!
The ONE and ONLY message and commission that the LORD gave to His church, to preach and teach throughout the world is the Gospel, and here too its been changed, corrupted, altered into a secularized counterfeit of a 'wealth and prosperity gospel' that knows nothing of genuine spiritual power, but is only intent on acquiring the 'blessings' of this fallen, sinful world... physical health, fulsome wealth, lavish homes, cars, clothing lusted after by those whose 'god is their belly' -
(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: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things).
Others have turned the Gospel into a 'PEACE' plan where the salvation of souls by the preaching of Christ Jesus and Him crucified has been replaced by feeding the poor, obtaining medical assistance for those who don't have any, ensuring the health of those in third world nations, education, a call for 'social justice' (a.k.a. Socialism!) and a mandate to defend the Earth in an ecological defensive 'war'. Such so-called leaders of the church want to bring the kingdom of heaven to Earth and by their own sweat and blood create a paradise to invite the Christ (not Jesus, but the counterfeit) to rule over!
Not only so, but as a result of this, the moral and spiritual integrity of the church has been broken down; her spiritual immunity against such disease and ailments has been so compromised, that she doesn't even realize that she is sick, and blind and poor and miserably naked!! It so mirrors God's mournful words over the nation of Israel in ISAIAH 1: 4-23.
Today the church of Jesus Christ is in the same sort of condition, spiritually speaking, as Jerusalem was in the days of Jeremiah and Daniel and Nehemiah. Read the words that the LORD spoke to the church of Laodicea -
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Now I know many of you have already heard the composite message of Dave Wilkerson's "A Call To Anguish" but please take these seven minutes and hear it again, for the 'first time':
A CALL TO ANGUISH
I can't tell you how many times I've listened to that message, but I can tell you every time I've heard it, it has stirred me and caused my eyes to well up, and yearn for God and for a move of God in this present generation.
Am I talking about a revival? A grand, sweeping revival that will overtake the nation, and people by the droves will repent and come to the LORD, and our country will be restored to her spiritual heritage and foundation?
God is the God of the Impossible, and there is no recorded prophecy any where that indicated how or where any revival would take place, but its certainly within God's sovereignty to accomplish this.
Having said that, I do believe there will be a revival within the hearts of those who truly, genuinely and earnestly yearn for and seek diligently after God in a heart of brokenness and repentance. However, and I'm just expressing my opinion but certainly founded upon scriptural basis, that the condition of this world, and of the apostate church is so far gone, and so hard of heart, that the only one's that will be affected by such a revival is the remnant, that "little flock" (LUKE 12:32) that our LORD spoke of, who truly love God and His Word, but due to the iniquity of this world, their love is growing cold.
If you find yourself growing cold, ambivalent, hardened against God, His Word, and your prayer life, or if you know someone who is becoming like this, there is every reason to pray for the return of the wayward saint to the LORD of Glory! Also to exhort one another daily, and so much the more as we see that Day approaching! Will you be a Daniel? A Nehemiah? Will you intercede for those about you, and cry out in anguished sorrow for such as these? Will you be a Jeremiah and faithfully pray and fast for the repentance of church-goers all around you, even if like Jeremiah, not one person actually does repent? Remember that God rewards faithfulness, not success!
Look all about you, and witness what the so-called church has become in these last days, and at the direction she is going in. Look at what passes for 'Christian' ministry in the pulpits, in books and in organizations and how those who claim to be believers just sit still for it. Look at what passes for "being a Christian" these days, and compare that with what it means to be a genuine Christian. For this, I would ask that you watch this video -
Paul Washer -
EXAMINE YOURSELVES (4 mins)
Read and watch what transpired this past year at Cornerstone Festival, an outdoor 'ministry' and its supposed teaching of the Word and 'Christian' music:
APPRISING MINISTRIES: A Readers Experience At Cornerstone Festival
Why aren't Christians being more discerning about such events, and the things that these ministers and speakers support and promote as 'good'?? Could it be because the majority of the people who go to such events are not genuinely saved? Or if they are saved, the majority of them haven't been taught the primary fundamentals of the truth as found in the scriptures?
In any event saints of the Most High God, there is a tremendous work to be done in these last days prior to the LORD Jesus Christ's soon return!! Will you be a part of this great work? This is a question I ask of myself, and I am also asking you, the reader, this very same question.
So will you? What work am I referring to?
The kind of work that will exhort and admonish the wayward saints, who too closely resemble the world, to return and don the white raiment of righteousness which the LORD offers, and leave behind any endeavor of self-righteousness by dead works, intellectual pursuits, quasi-spiritual exercises and meditative practices.
The kind of work that will exhort, reprove and rebuke the wayward saints, who live impure lives, corrupted as gold is cankered by baser elements and return to the LORD who offers to purify their lives, as gold tested in the fire, purged from ungodliness and such things that led to their downfall to begin with.
The kind of work that will bring you along side of these wayward saints, who for all their blindness cannot see and recognize their own wretched spiritual condition, and that you may lead them back to the Savior, who alone possesses the salve that can heal them of their blindness, that sort of spiritual condition that sin produces in rank deception, for sin itself deceives (see REV 3:18)! Righteous raiment, purified gold, sanctified salve! This is the great need of the church today!
The LORD Jesus Himself, in addressing the church of Laodicea, had left off from admonishing the church as a whole, and turns to implore any individual within its ranks to come out and meet the LORD at the door:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me
The needs of this world are desperate! Salvation is still available through the LORD Jesus Christ! The Holy Judgment has yet to begin, and souls that are perishing may still be reached!
Yet there are abundant perils out there in the guise of 'church' but are inwardly the habitation of demonic influences, deception, false religious security and a pseudo-Gospel, all of which is preparation for a one world system (the whore of Babylon) that is gaining momentum in its establishment.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Will we the church take the Great Commission seriously? Will we labor in prayer for the backslidden and the masses of church-goers who have believed a false gospel and are being seduced by Emergent philosophy? Will we intercede and fast for a church that's been infiltrated and devestated as much, if not more so, than the Jerusalem in Nehemiah's day? Will we stand fast in the faith ourselves, and walk in the Spirit as a consecrated vessel suitable for the Master's use? A true saint who resembles their LORD by their life and their words? Will we march in the ranks of His spiritual army in total obedience?
I WANT THIS FOR MYSELF! I LONG TO HONOR GOD! I LONG TO SERVE HIM IN HOLINESS AND IN PLEASING HIM IN ALL THINGS. THAT MY LIFE WILL BE SO FILLED TO OVERFLOWING WITH GOD'S SPIRIT THAT THOSE AROUND ME WILL STAND CONVICTED OF THEIR SIN WITHOUT MY EVEN UTTERING A SINGLE WORD, AND YET HAVE THESE SAME SOULS YEARN FOR THAT LOVE, PEACE AND JOY THAT WILL BE APPARENT IN ME!
May I close with these words from the old hymn that rightly discerns the need of spiritual saints who will war a good warfare in the deliverance of souls ensnared by the enemy of the church, Satan:
Listen to it here, by Phil Keagy -
RISE UP O MEN OF GOD
Rise up O men of God, Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings, To serve the King of Kings.
Rise up O men of God, His Kingdom tarries long,
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong, And end the night of wrong.
Rise up O men of God, The Church for you doth wait.
Send forth to serve the needs of men
In Christ our strength is great, In Christ our strength is great.
Lift high the Cross of Christ, Tread where His feet have trod,
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God, Rise up O men of God.
Rise up O men of God, Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings, To serve the King of Kings.
Victory in Christ Jesus is not obtained in a vacuum (the mere absence of sin through abstaining) but in the vitality of Jesus Christ (indwelling the believer and transforming a heart that wills to do Gods command and not one's own desires).