Monday, January 23, 2023

Let's Not Be Denied

Ice hockey is a fast paced contact sport that was developed in Canada in the 19th century. In short, ice hockey has two teams of six skaters, who attempt to drive a small solid rubber disk (the puck) into the opposing goal with a stick that has a hooked or angled end used to move the puck along the ice and for making goals. The sport has not changed much except today it is played in an ice rink. One of the things that I remember when at a ice hockey rink watching a game, was when the goalie, (a player who guards his teams net to prevent the opposing team from scoring a goal) would block a shot from an opposing team player from entering the goal net. When this happened, the screen on the score board which hung from the ceiling of the rink above the players in the center of the rink would have big flashing letters that said, "DENIED."

In my travels in ministry, as well as reading various media by Christian authors and viewing online videos of various ministries concerning the church today, has cause me to grieve at what is going on in the church, what the church has accepted as truth (which isn't), the twisting of God's Word with liberal New Age influence interpretations of scripture and what it refuses to do concerning building the church up spiritually. I not only believe, but I also see the very thing that General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army said over 100 years in full swing today in the church. I quote, “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century (meaning the 20th century, we are now in the 21st century) will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” Let's not be naive. This statement is true in most sectors of the church whether Catholic or Protestant. This should grieve every believer and should move us to change.  

The fact is, we are being "denied" or actually denying ourselves of the wonderful blessings, gifts and callings that the Lord has given to the church. Let us not be deceived with large numbers in congregation thinking that God is somehow blessing us when the spiritual maturity of the church is that of carnal Christianity. (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) Let us not be taken by our large congregations when we are not building according to God's Word and being led by the Holy Spirit. There are numerous organizations with large numbers of people who are anti-Christ and anti-church.

One of the things that should grieve us most is our lack of love for one another especially when Jesus, our LORD, commanded us to "love one another." In reality, the early church also had its share of problems, but it had leaders that were willing to confront the issues with God's Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, not the opinions, thoughts and intellect of man. For instance, Acts 15 reveals a situation between the Jew and Gentile believers that arose and could have split the church completely apart. The issue was over the necessity of the Gentile believers as to whether they should be circumcised or not. However, the outcome came down to who had the preeminence in the church, the apostles and elders or the Holy Spirit? In making this crucial decision we need to notice the order of things, "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us..." (Acts 15:28) It seemed good to the Holy Spirit above the opinions, thoughts and intellect of these mighty men of God. They submitted to the Apostle James' answer because they recognized the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through him. If it was only James' word, they would not have been in agreement. But they submitted to the Holy Spirit speaking through James and submitted to one another.

Let's be honest, if church leaders are truly being led by the Word of God and what the Holy Spirit is speaking, there will be no division in the church, only submission to one another in the Lord, as it should be. However, this will not be accomplished without "...Faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6) which begs another question. Are church leaders truly letting faith work through love? Without faith working through love the church will be denying itself of all the blessings that are for her through Jesus Christ.  

I believe one of the reasons why the church has lost much of its glory, power and influence which we have not experienced as a whole for nearly 1700 years is due to its lack of dependency on God's Word and the Holy Spirit. This has led the church into the "Dark Ages" for 1000 years which brought on what is called the "Protestant Reformation." Though the protestant reformation which started in 1571 by Martin Luther with his work entitled, "The Ninety-Five Theses" was meant to bring reformation and restoration to the church, it also caused division and disunity from those who refused to return to the Word of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit. But even now, especially among the Protestant churches the division and disunity continues to spread. I am not trying to paint an ugly picture of the Body of Christ, but to bring us to the reality of where we are. Until we are able to admit our faults to one another and turn away from them, have a true love for Christ, His church (all believers), God's Word and to be led by the Holy Spirit, we limit ourselves in bringing hope to a lost world. 

However, there is good news. No matter where we find ourselves, the LORD is always at work in His church, even if it is a remnant that is willing to be a new wine skin to receive the new wine, the continuous working of the Holy Spirit. I also believe that the Body of Christ in many sectors will begin experience the supernatural things of the LORD that have not been seen since the inception of the church. PTL          

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