DRAWING NEAR – PART 20 12/6/2015
STANDING AT THE EDGE OF ETERNITY
My wife and I went to the mall over the weekend, and of course the massive crowds were hustling and bustling like always. When the holiday season comes around, it brings a higher volume of consumers and there always seems to be more of a chaotic sense of anxiety and stress – which I try to avoid. I found myself drifting away in my thoughts as I watched the people and began to wonder how many know the Lord and how many are lost and on their way to an eternity without Him. We were strolling down the main walkways and there are many different little small businesses in the “medians” that try to offer you samples of certain products (which I find annoying) as they hope you will stop and purchase from them. We always just wave them off and keep walking and it dawned to me – this is how the world reacts to the gospel. Most everyone has the Word of God available to them at any time, with churches on every corner, television, radio, literature, and internet and so on…but they do NOT want Him just like we are not interested in the everyday things that we turn away from. The lost is being given the GRACE and mercy of God each moment because of His great love and He is trying to reach out to them and tell them what He has provided to save them from hell – but they walk away and wave Him off like He is peddling a trinket. Most people worship pleasure, money and possessions and if the offer does not have anything to do with materialism and self-gratification they are usually not interested. May the Lord help us! If we ever lose our burden for the lost – we have lost the purpose of our mission! Lukewarmness is measured with our level of love and concern for souls.
Our “first love” is our personal intimacy with Jesus (Revelation 2:4) and our second love is the burden and compassion for a lost and dying world (Matthew 22: 37-40). When a congregation becomes lifeless and empty, it is because the people have drifted far away from the fire of these two priorities. If any Christian and/or church spends more time focusing on itself than the needs of others, they have abandoned the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I have personally turned to the community with my ministry because I grew weary preaching to the choir. It seems the meaning of church loses its point if all that happens is a couple of people conducting a program and the rest of the people participate in a social gathering. For heaven’s sake – what about all of the people in the city that need Jesus? What about the sick and dying in the hospitals, the ones in jail and prison, single mothers that need help, the children, nursing homes, the physically and mentally handicapped, the poor and desperately needy? It seems the “normal” attitude is to be proudly content with attending a church service and yet NOT feeling an obligation or any type of spiritual responsibility until the next time they return. I want to say very candidly; this is a dark spiritual attitude. Now wait just a minute brother! Brother, we don’t have a minute to wait. Until we begin to address the problems of how twisted our religious ideas have become and be willing to admit what is happening, the religious masses will continue feeling a false sense of spiritual security and proceed with business as usual. Spiritual deception is from the dark side and as we have said many times before – Satan will do anything to keep God’s people from demonstrating their faith by their works. Attending a politically correct church service does NOT alarm the devil in any way. It is only when an individual receives the revelation of truth and begins to manifest God’s Word into ACTION that causes the kingdom of darkness to fear. As long as the church crowd is comfortable, satisfied and cozy and NOT realizing or fulfilling their spiritual accountability, then the enemy has nothing to worry about. The pastor should be busy trying to hear from God so that he can relay the message from heaven. Those who declare to be God’s warriors are called to do the “WORK” of the ministry because each individual remnant disciple is a complete representation of God’s Kingdom, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and commissioned with the callings, gifts, and anointing’s to be “in service” 24/7. Sadly, members want to be “served” as a patron and enjoy being the spectator – what a pitiful perspective.
If only the world wanted to know God, they would discover a Savior that is ready and willing to forgive them from their sin and adopt them into His family. If only they would stop for a moment and seriously consider this JESUS who came into the world to rescue them and give Himself as a LIFELINE for them to grab hold of in the midst of a dark and stormy sea. People are not as ignorant about gospel as one might think as many of them know the Lord is pursuing them and they realize down in their heart they are running away but they have given the reigns over to their will and allowed their human nature to have the power and authority to choose what to let go of and what to hold onto. We all walk along the edge of eternity everyday but at least those who are living IN CHRIST have the hope and confidence of eternal life. If only the lost would pause and consider they are only a breath, only a heart-beat away from eternal death. This is not a scare tactic or a depressing downer – it is one of the most powerful realities that is intended to keep us sober, alert and humble in the fear and reverence of our Maker. Within the inner chambers of every human conscience there is a courtroom where cases are debated each moment between the prosecutor and defense with an “elected” judge that goes through the motions of making critical decisions. Did you notice I said “every” person? The courtroom scenario is not just happening within the lost person on whether or not they are going to accept Jesus as their Savior – it is going on within the Christian about whether or not they are going to accept Him as their LORD. Selah. We talk about spiritual warfare like it is always the devil attacking us and making our life difficult but we will never face a more fierce and ruthless enemy than our own carnal will! It is easy to fall into the mindset that the poor lost world is refusing to allow the Messiah entrance into their life and rule as the King of their heart, when many in the church are doing the same thing. Hmmm…Being “saved” means more than being a church member.
As the New Year is quickly approaching, it is a good idea for us to focus on how we are living and the decisions we are planning. Nothing is more important than to be prepared for the return of Yeshuah Messiah! Are we awake and actively involved with what He is saying for us to do? Are we submitting to where He is leading us? If not – this is the sin of rebellion! If Jehovah Yahweh is convicting your heart about making drastic changes in the way you are living, I promise these choices will be argued in the courtroom of your conscience. Will there be enough evidence to prove that we are serious about following Him all the way? And if our will is allowed to win the verdict, are we prepared to face the Almighty and explain why we refused to do what He said? Telling God that I did NOT want to follow Him and yet expecting Him to be pleased with me is an eye opening definition of deception. I personally know individuals that have made these life changing decisions and are in the process of preparing for His return and they can testify there is sacrifice with obedience. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here I am; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Of course no one wants to suffer loss and this is one of the very reasons why the church has become a distorted and dysfunctional organization. When we speak of the “world” or something that is “worldly” we are saying this is a realm where fleshly emotions govern the mind and that follows a system that is led by the power of humanistic values. Being secular is usually regarded as someone that is not involved in religious ideals but rather operates in the environment of intellect and science. When we talk about people that have tried to abandon the carnal way of living and have become determined to be more “spiritual” we are referring to those who are striving to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. These are families that are home schooling, others are trying to be self-sustaining by coming off the power grid, moving out into the country and growing their own food and most importantly pulling away from the enticements and temptations of the default system. What has this cost? Many are being persecuted for their faith and have been called “crazy” even by their own families. They are commonly labeled as extreme fanatics that have lost all common sense and are now blinded by a serious mental illness. You see, there is a path well-traveled by the masses, a safe and secure view that most everyone takes. It is the easy road of comfort and convenience because it has no briars or thorns, ditches or obstacles. Very few desire to step into the forest with a machete and follow the still small voice of God into places they have never been and challenges they have never faced. This is the difference between an empty religious philosophy and becoming a remnant disciple of Jesus.
“Ye are children of LIGHT, and the children of the DAY: we are NOT of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us NOT sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day, be SOBER, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation” (I Thessalonians 5:4-8). We notice in the above passage that the ones who “choose” to live in the holy of holies are able to see much clearer and are recognized by the Lord as the children of the light. The reason why the masses consider us as crazy is because we are operating in a completely different mindset and spiritual identity. The bride is preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ and following HIS directions – while the lost world is living in a hypnotic trance and following Satan. This is why our Father is saying the difference should be like DAY and NIGHT! I believe a strong point here is to understand if there is NOT a noticeable separation between us and the world – something is seriously wrong. The danger is the way we see our life may be completely different from the way He sees us. Willingly submitting our life according to His perfect will – proves how much we truly love Him. All praise and glory to God forever!