THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
CHARACTER OF THE MESSENGER
All Christians have a message, which automatically makes EVERY Christian a messenger. At some point in the believer’s life, they will end up being involved with some type of ministry involving the spreading of the gospel. There are some, (and I know them personally) that have never participated in any type of ministry directly except maybe bringing a dish to a potluck dinner, but nonetheless it was a worthy contribution. Have you ever witnessed about Jesus to another person? Have you ever thought about the personal responsibility to be a messenger of the gospel? Whatever the case, my point is that each person of God has within them the testimony of salvation whether they ever speak it or not. I believe that everyone who is a member of God’s household should have the burden and zeal to at least be aware of their witness and have a constant sensitivity for lost souls. I believe that evangelism is the heart of the great commission and God’s people are referred to as vessels of honor, instruments and messengers, with the idea of a being used as a mouthpiece to communicate the message of God’s will. When Jesus gave His life to ransom the world, he left a will. His last “will” and testament was to be read by each of His disciples and then broadcast to as many people that would listen. The reading of a will is all about disclosing what each heir will receive from the inheritance that was decided by the one who wrote it before they died. Jesus has included all of His children in His will and now it us up to us to tell the world about the wonderful story of His gift of salvation and all that it contains.
Within the realm of service and obedience to God is a hidden secret. I call it hidden because it seems that many, who are in the arena of laboring for Him, do not realize that personal character is just as important as what we say or for that matter even our gifts and talents. In this light, we can make the humble observation that it is not so much “what” the message is – but maybe more importantly, from what “type” of heart is it being poured from? Do not misunderstand my direction, I believe that many good things come from people that are not living a sanctified life, because God can touch talent with His anointing and many can receive the spiritual connection for whatever edification they need. However, we must not neglect the fact that the way we live is one of most powerful testimonies that reveals what who we are and what we really believe thus having a direct impact on those who are observing. I do not believe it is strange to question a message from a messenger who is NOT living what they are saying. Selah.
I personally believe that many churches have failed to teach the reverential fear of God. This is a foundational view of God and is crucial if we are to understand what it means to be His child. When God’s presence is not respected, it is easy to not respect anything associated with the ministry. If God’s Word is not revered and His ministers have a worldly attitude, the congregation will become too casual and relaxed and slowly fall away from the fear of His holiness. I am not referring to empty religious legalism, but rather the divine reality of a spiritual awareness about who God is and what He demands. I personally do not appreciate the atmosphere of the modern church as many have opened their doors to the world with the idea that a comfortable atmosphere will cause the average lost person to be more relaxed. Why in the world would anyone want that except Satan? There are accounts in the Bible of people encountering angels and they fell on their face in fear. If this is the human response to angels, imagine what we would really do if Jesus Christ Himself stood before us! I am sure we would not slap him on the back and invite him to watch television with us. Why? Because His presence is so holy the mountains would melt and the sky would roll away and millions of angels would cry holy is the Lamb to receive all glory, honor and praise forever. I thought that being filled with the Holy Spirit was being saturated in God’s presence. And I thought that walking in His Spirit was the highest priority of every Christian. (?)
Christians must be set apart from mundane matters, lifted above worldly aims and ambitions, and devoted singularly to God’s service. In first Timothy 6:11-14, Paul lists four very important characteristics of God’s people. They are marked by what they flee from – follow after – fight for – and faithful to. Let us observe some divine realities into the desirable character of God’s messenger.
Flees from: FLEE means to “run away from” like from a wild animal, a poisonous snake, a plague or a similar danger. Our English word fugitive is derived from the Greek word “flee” and in a spiritual sense the person of God is a lifelong fugitive fleeing those things that desires to destroy him or her and their ministry. In other places Paul listed some threats such as immorality, idolatry, false teaching, and youthful lusts. At the top of the list, the representative of God must flee the evils associated with the love of the world and especially the love of money: associated with temptations, snares and harmful desires which lead to destruction, apostasy, and sorrow. Greed is the enemy. It can destroy the Christian, so they must run from it. The Christian is not a spiritual con artist. Those who have a specific calling must proclaim God’s pure message, not what they think will sell. Ministers of the gospel are in the business of doing God’s will which is piercing men’s hearts with God’s truth, not tickling their ears. Personal gain is not the priority! If anyone is in the ministry for the money, they are not a servant of God as they are prostituting their call for personal gain. Anyone who puts a price on their ministry devalues it and is a shame to God’s Kingdom. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some have coveted after (become greedy), they have turned away from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (I Timothy 6:9-10)
Follows after: Just as important as fleeing from sin – the person of God is also known by what they run toward. The Christian’s life and ministry is one of flight from what is wrong and the pursuit of what is right. There are six virtues listed by Paul in I Timothy six, righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Since the practice of holiness is a mark of God’s people, obviously it must be modeled by the person of God who gives an impression to all who observe them. How tragic it is when a Christian’s life does not live up to their message. If a person is going to say they are a Christian, yet act like a heathen at work, it would be better to NOT claim to be a Christian at all. It is no secret or divine revelation to know the representative of God’s Kingdom must practice what they preach or no one will listen or respect anything they say or do. “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no Case enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” (Mathew 5:20)
Fighting for: The man or woman of God is a fighter and a soldier. They must have the revelation that God’s ministry is war and they are fighting on the side of truth against error – to perceive the ministry as anything else is to fail. Christians are in a battle with the Devil and his worldly system. Christians battle sin, carnality, lust, heresy, apathy and lethargy in their own flesh. Those who have never been on the front lines of warfare do not understand what it means to be sober and sensitive to the spirits that surround us. Disciples that have dealt with violent persecution and the demon-possessed have realized what being a soldier of war is all about. Paul told Timothy to, “Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs (distractions) of everyday life, so that he can please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” (II Timothy 2:3-4) The modern church has reduced the reality of spiritual warfare to a cut and dried lifestyle of fluff and cotton candy. Martyrs do not compromise! Most Christians have never realized that to accept Christ means to follow Him into battle. Most would even admit they did not sign up for getting dirty or confronting the dark kingdom. Many churches would be terrified if a demon manifested itself or if it became a “crime” to be a Christian. How easy it is to go listen to a sermon in a beautiful building. How many “fluffy” Christians realize that God is waiting for them to put on their combat boots? How many know it – but refuse to do it? “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12)
Faithful to: Being nourished in God’s Word, the messenger of God is first and foremost a guardian of the treasure of the truth he is to proclaim. He must preserve it from any error or misinterpretation. He carries the responsibility to handle it accurately. The lack of the older Christians being faithful to God’s commands has contributed to this anemic generation of young people that have become entangled with philosophy while drifting away from truth. Many churches and the masses of religious people have allowed the lies of psychiatry and scientific theories to teach them and lead them into deception. Departing from literal interpretation has caused the sharpness of right and wrong to become dull and vague and as it continues it will be completely eliminated from society. Our great shepherd realizes that sheep are generally dumb which is why He relays His commands into a simple message that even a child can understand. He has written His Word and sent His Holy Spirit to lead us in the way we should go. When we obey we are blessed and when we disobey we are punished. There – now wasn’t that easy? Well…not exactly. It would be easy if it were not for this small problem; we want to do whatever we want! Being faithful takes awareness and concentration. It seems we cannot stay focused on the mission at hand. Jesus courageously remained faithful to His Word and told Pilate the truth – even though it cost him his life. We must do no less.