KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM

It is one thing to know that the Bible is the Word of God but it is another thing to understand its purpose and meaning.  So many of us read the Word as if it is the Law and then present it as a “lawman” to whosoever will listen.  This type of approach will alienate people to the point of indifference and even mocking hostility.  The “knowledgists” know the letter of the law will destroy individuals, yet they pursue their “duty” to present the Gospel with no holds barred.  What is missing in so many Christian soldiers is Wisdom.  Presenting the Word helter-skelter reinforces Jesus’ teaching on the parable of the Sower where the seed thrown on the “wayside” had no chance to bear fruit. (Luke 8:12)  Wisdom helps us to understand how we are to present the Word.  Wisdom reveals when we are to speak up and when to be silent.  It helps us to know when and where to present the Truth.  Without wisdom, knowledge can be misused and even exploited.  The Pharisees had the knowledge of the Law, but lacked wisdom in presenting its contents.  They did not know how to present truth outside of their own interpretation.  Twenty-first century Christianity has adopted Biblical Truth by promoting a “bipolar” approach.  On one hand, you have the legalists, who present the Word with no tact or concern how the hearer will respond.  The other end of the spectrum presents only the Word that will not offend the hearer.  In both cases, there is a lack of wisdom.  Knowing how to present the reality of Hell in a manner that will bypass their defenses will take wisdom.  Ignoring the subject of Hell displays a total lack of wisdom.

To fully understand the implications of knowledge and wisdom one must grasp the reality of their foundation.  Paul, in his letter to the Believers in Colossae, said that when he heard of their “love in the Spirit,” (Colossians 1:8) he prayed continually for them that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and understanding.  Many of us know that we are to display love in everything that we do.  The Scripture states that the world will know us by our love.  There is a difference between manufactured love and love in the Spirit.  Manufactured love is displayed because we know it is what we are supposed to do.  The love from the Spirit is given because it’s what we want to do.  Manufactured love forgives others but we don’t have to like it.  The Spirit love forgives with no strings attached.  One type of love is activated by personal motivation, while the other love is initiated by the Spirit.

Knowledge and wisdom can only be effective with the love that God places within the spirit of man.  Without love, knowledge and wisdom will become nothing more than manipulated concepts.  As we love the truth and quest for knowledge and wisdom, we will learn what it is to walk worthy of the Lord.  Without love, knowledge will divide Believers.  Without love, wisdom will be objective and interpretive.

Before we continue to seek knowledge and wisdom, let us grasp the reality of God’s love for us.  His love is unconditional and eternal.  As we grow in awareness of His love, we will offer this love to others with the same unconditional expression.  When Divine love is implanted in our lives, our acceptance of one another is unqualified.  Harmony and oneness will engulf our Fellowships.  Gossip and backbiting will be non-existent.  Judgment and prejudices will vanish.

THE GOSPEL SEED

 

The Gospel is like a seed.  If it is watered by our attentiveness and continual use, it will produce fruit.  It is just like a flower garden.  If we only water it sporadically, those plants will have a hard time producing their intended beauty.  When we open our Bibles sparingly, the Gospel will have a difficult time producing the effect that God desires.  Christians are called to be the visual evidence of the Gospel.  We are to be a living example of the written Word.  If we do not spend time nurturing the Word, there will be a limited display of its truth in us.

The Gospel is the growth hormone that continues to build Christian character within the recipient.  The Gospel serves to promote and enhance one’s life as a servant.  The Gospel opens the door to God’s heart.  The Gospel reveals the Kingdom of God.  The Gospel directs the path of the spiritual pilgrim.  The Gospel raises us up to Heavenly dimensions.  The Gospel is God’s contract with man.  There is no room for complacency.  It is a progression of spiritual understanding and wisdom.  The Gospel interjects life into the Believer and continues to guide us until we fall asleep, only to awaken in His presence. The Gospel not only engulfs the first four books of the New Testament, but all sixty-six Biblical books.  The “good news” starts in Genesis 1:1 and continues through Revelation 22:21.

The Gospel is to be experienced first hand.  So many Believers rely on Pastors/Teachers to feed them spiritual truth.  It is truly a blessing to have anointed individuals bringing the Word of God, but it is no substitute for personal involvement.  It is like someone recommending a certain eating establishment.  They tell you how good the food was and even describe how their taste buds exploded in ecstasy.  But it is not the same as experiencing the dining establishment ourselves.  So many Believers hear the Word, but fail to experience it.  They know what the Word says and underline in their Bibles the passages that promise benefits to them.  What about the verses that are not underlined?  The Gospel is not selective in its presentation, but is all engulfing.  The Gospel takes us on a journey that starts from man’s introduction to the world.  Through the hills and valleys we see man’s inconsistencies and God’s consistencies.  From the Law to Grace we witness God’s love.  The Gospel takes us through the end times and the final destination of eternity with Him.  The Gospel is Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith.  Throughout the sixty-six Biblical books, we see a scarlet thread woven into a tapestry of God’s love for man, and that blood stained thread is Jesus.

Everything the Believer would need to live a life of victory in this strange and alien land is contained in the Gospel.  Instead of looking for what the world has to offer, let us see what God offers.  It is time to rediscover the Bible.  It is time to wipe off our dust catchers, open its pages, and see the truths that are offered.

The world is going exactly the way the Bible says it will go.  Why are we so troubled and surprised at what is happening around the world?  The Gospel is the Believers survival manual.  It will guide and direct us through the difficult days ahead.  Let us not neglect the Gospel!  Let us water it with our attention.  Let us lift its life giving fruit from its pages.  Let its fruit flow through us to others!

 

DEAD AND ALIVE

 

Understanding what happens to us at our spiritual rebirth is so shrouded by traditional teaching that its reality fails to make an impact on our lives.  To many new converts, the “rebirth” experience is treated as an extension of who they are instead of what they have become.   They then begin a journey of learning how to fit this new experience into their lives.  They learn to use different words and behaviors.  They acquire an early interest in the Bible.  Going to church becomes a weekly routine.  They learn to talk to God through different techniques and routines.  If someone would ask them if they were a Believer, they would answer with an affirmative gesture or verbal affirmation.  They say the right words and exhibit the predetermined behavioral patterns of a “born again” individual, but sadly, what is seen is simply a cleaned up sinner.  We must realize it is not the merging of two lives, but the losing of one life and the receiving of a new life.  It is not just asking Jesus to come into our heart, but a receiving of a new heart.  It is not only cleaning up our vocabulary, but learning a whole new language.  It is not forming a renewed life, but being transformed into the life of Christ.  It is not struggling to understand God, it is knowing Him.  It is not going to church, it is being the Church.  It is not seeking the things of the world, but setting our affections on the things of the Kingdom of God.  It is not a makeover, but a new creation.  It is not a renewal, but a new life.

For many years I have tried to understand how the Church has become so much like the world.  I have seen Believers acting so unbiblical.  Instead of seeing the Fruit of the Spirit flourishing from us, we exhibit characteristics of the old life.  Many Christians go to their places of worship and act super-spiritual, but when the service is over, we change back into our resurrected old creature.  If we really understood our position in Christ, our Country would be a Christian nation!

Many Christians have not been taught correctly.  What we receive from Christian leadership is preaching and teaching that caters to what people want to hear, instead of what they need to hear.  Much of Christian instruction centers on making teachings palpable and fitting for the hearer’s lifestyle.  Experiencing rebirth is more than just saying a few words; it is a total sacrificing of oneself.  It is going to the cross with Jesus and dying to self.  It is being buried with Him.  It is being resurrected with Him.  It is ascending into the Throne Room of God and sitting with Him.  I challenge every Believer to go to the Scripture and see the Truth that has failed to be taught!

What I have been describing is from our spirit’s perspective.  What we need is to get our mind to accept the reality of this rebirth.  Our spirit seeks the things above, while our mind seeks the things below.  Whichever is given more attention will dominate.  Our body will then display or carry out the wishes of either the spirit or mind.  The reason the Church is so powerless in combating the assault against its foundation is because we have not reckoned ourselves as dead but alive to our Creator.  We are in the world, but not of the world.  Yet, we act like the world in so many ways.  The reason so many Christian leaders fail morally is they have let their minds override their spirits.  When that happens, the body exhibits the results.  In the New Testament, the mystery of the Gospel was revealed by the open invitation to the non-Jews.  From Calvary on, the salvation message was offered to the “whosoevers.”  Today, there is another mystery that has been so carefully hidden under contemporary preaching: many Christians only know how to display the form of Godliness. The power of the Gospel is revealed through the understanding that the real power comes from a born-again experience.  The only way to achieve that power is the death of oneself.  This is the mystery revealed!

 

THE OFFENDED CARD

 

How can the world know the love of God, if no one tells them?  How can the unsaved reach the shores of forgiveness if no one shares the Gospel message?  How can the struggling find stability when the air waves are void of Truth?  How can the suffering experience the “Balm of Gilead” if no one is offering the application?  How can the afflicted receive healing if no one is willing to pray with them?

Why is the neo-Christian so concerned with exposing the vices of our Country while being timid in presenting the Truth of God’s Word?  Why are Christians so concerned with Political influences on the Church and not discerning enough to influence our Government with the Truth?  Why is the Church bold to condemn secular lifestyles and timid to display Christian lifestyles?

Have you ever wondered how those whose life styles are off the “normal grid” promote their agendas?  When a person is confronted with words or actions that do not agree with their lifestyle, they use the “offended” card.  It has come to the point that they look for opportunities to promote their lifestyle by bringing attention to those that are opposed to them.  To help present their “misunderstood” actions, the media cranks up the propaganda machine in an attempt to champion their cause.  When are we going to understand that it is not the politicians with the power, but the Media that swings the pendulum of public opinion!  Sadly, some Christians have joined the propaganda parade by quoting the media more than the Scripture!  When will the Believer realize that much of the Media news is geared to sensationalize and promote special interest groups?  The use of exaggerated statistics has influenced many people.  The Media’s agenda is to influence people.  Much of public opinion is molded by the relentless presentation of biased reporting.

Christians must come out of their “spiritual closets” and promote the Truths of God’s Word.  Instead of being swayed by secular opinions, let the Believers stand as representatives of the Kingdom of God.  God has never been on a losing side and He never will.  If God be for us, who can be against us?  The United States Supreme Court can make its decisions, but it is God’s Court that will rule.  People are afraid to speak up for fear that they will offend someone.  Some Christians are so timid to share the Truth that they would rather pray their way out of personal responsibility and let someone else share the message.  In the mean time, they surround themselves with other timid Christians, and play church once a week.  When will Believers realize that people are only a heartbeat away from eternity?  Where they spend that eternity will be decided in the here and now.  We must step up to the “pitcher’s mound” and deliver the Truth.  We are so concerned about not offending someone that we fail to realize that we offend them by not sharing the Truth.  Instead of looking for the “escape clause” (a.k.a. the Rapture) in our Christian contract, let us share the Gospel with a rapturous excitement!

 

911 Prayers

 

911 prayers are probably the most offered petitions in Christian circles today.  These prayers exhibit an urgency that if something does not happen soon, all will be lost.  The parameters of these 911 prayers include everything from physical and mental healing, to financial, materialistic, and societal acceptance.  There are usually time restraints with these pleas for help, and it is Satan who keeps the petitioners aware of the fleeting hours!  When the situation we are presenting is personal, the greater the intensity of presentation.  To illustrate the seriousness of our request, we revert to fasting and making promises that are out of the realm of reason.  We promise to give up something of self importance if God will only grant our 911 prayer.  The farther we are from direct personal needs, the less will be our intensity.  We pray for the salvation of someone, but we fail to realize that those types of prayers will hold the possibility that God might choose us to be the instrument of their salvation!

There are some Christians that use the 911 prayers for situations they could have handled themselves if they had only lined up their lives with the Word of God.  We must learn to use the spiritual and mental authority that God has given us when faced with negative situations in our lives.  There is a place for 911 prayers, but many needs can be met with the resources in God’s Word.  When we are faced with a situation for which we simply cannot see the solution, it is the time to use the 911 prayer!  Always remember that God knows what we are going through.  We have a contract with Him that He will never leave or forsake us.  When we are facing a problem, He is there with us!  Image in the middle of a difficult situation we excuse ourselves from the Lord and say, “I have to make a 911 prayer!”  When those difficult times arise, take His hand and walk through the situation.  If you feel weak and the mind has overwhelmed the spirit, then it is time to use the 911 prayer.  When negativity smothers one’s attitude, then it is time to use the 911 prayer.  When unbelief overshadows faith, then it is time to use the 911 prayer.  When you walk away from His presence, then it is time to use the 911 prayer.  When you doubt His Word, then it is time to use the 911 prayer.

911 prayers are not meant for an easy way out, but a request for help in facing trials.  These types of prayer are for assistance in our struggles.  God is not a “genie” who is there for granting our every wish, but a loving God who will guide us through the difficult times.  When we cry out with our “emergencies” we may be saying we understand what the Word says, but we just need to grasp the reality of that hope.  Let us never be too proud to use our 911 prayer when we just can’t seem to get our mind in sync with our spirit.

We must walk by faith in the sight of the problem.  We must believe in His Word, no matter what the circumstances.  We must realize we have the mind of Christ and not a carnal mind.  We must see things as they can be and not as they are.  We must walk in the light of His Word and not run in the uncertainty of darkness.  We must trust Him and not rely on horizontal situations.  If we can’t come to the reality of the victory, then it is time to implement the 911 prayer!

 

 

 

 

THE MISSED PRAYER

 

Prayer has always been an integral part of the Christian life style.  Prayer is simply communication between man and God.  The direction of that endeavor is determined by the motivation of the mind and spirit.  Prayers take the form of interceding in the lives of others as well as promoting one’s own agenda.  The majority of Believers’ prayers are keyed to achieving deliverance from difficult situations.  They are all centered on receiving a response that will bring relief or restoration.

There is one area of directed prayer that many Believers miss, and that is the area of praying for those who already have a secure foundation and are established in their Faith.  We take for granted that there is no need to pray for those who seemingly have no problems in their lives.  What we are doing is leaving them vulnerable to “sneak attacks” from the enemy.  Satan waits patiently as Christians walk in the confidence of their committed lives.  He knows that if there is a lull in their spiritual walk, they will be vulnerable to deception and redirection.

Paul recognized the importance of praying not only for the struggling saints, but also for those well advanced on their spiritual journey.  When Paul heard of the “love in the Spirit” of those in Colosse, he prayed that they might “… be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians 1:9)  He knew their faith in Jesus and their love for all the saints and, realizing the road they would travel, prayed for their continual spiritual growth.  In fact, many of his letters were inundated with that kind of “forward prayer.”

I wonder how many saints pray for those of spiritual maturity.  I wonder how many pray for their pastor and family, as well as other spiritual leaders.  We must never take for granted that just because someone is of a spiritual stature, they are immune from the plethora of spiritual and fleshly attacks.  I am convinced that many of the pastors who have fallen strayed due to a lack of prayers directed to God on their behalf.  I am convinced that many Believers, who were once strong in the Lord, fell away due to no prayers being offered on their behalf.  I am convinced that strong marriages have ended in divorce due to the lack of prayers when things were going well.

During the so called influenza season, many healthy people are urged to take flu shots to help ward off infectious diseases.  During the Believers growth and maturity, should we not surround one another with prayer?  When Satan tempted Jesus in the Battle of the Wilderness, Jesus defended Himself with the Word of God.  When the battle was over the Bible says that Satan left Him for a season. (Luke 4:13)  I believe it is the same way today.  We start out on our spiritual journey which leads us into a life of victory and maturity, but it does not stop there.  We never reach our goal until we “fall asleep” and awake in His presence.  Until that reality, we are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.  The problem is we fail to understand this and leave our brothers and sisters susceptible to temptations they never thought possible.

When we pray, let us understand that it is not always for deliverance, but it is also for prevention.  We must not let our brothers and sisters go into uncharted waters without being prepared.  Let us surround them with a “life-jacket” of our prayers.

 

THE ANOINTING

 

How does one hear the Word of God on Sunday and then walk out of the place of worship unchanged?  If the Bible is the Word of God, why does our home copy remain unopened the majority of the time?  How is it possible to not be affected by the content of God’s Word?  For years I have seen preaching have little or no affect on so many.  I have seen changed lives, but I have also seen indifference to His Word.

Anyone can learn a trade by reading reference materials or attending an educational facility.  Anyone can acquire knowledge of a certain subject by comprehending the intent of the material.  Anyone can study the Bible and learn how to promote its content.  One does not have to be a Believer to present Biblical teaching!  Just by placing a label before one’s name does not make one a messenger of God.  If the presenter of God’s Word has only an intellectual understanding of the Scripture, the seed of the Word will have little chance to germinate into a life changing experience or fruitful display to the hearer.  (That is not to say the Word is only made effective by the orator, but when the presenter of the Word is anointed, the Word will bypass the mental screening of the hearer, and go directly into his spirit.)

One of the terms that have been lost over the years is the word ANOINTING.  It is not something one learns or acquires by a conscious effort, rather it is a supernatural endowment initiated by God.  Jesus’ inaugural message in the Synagogue of Nazareth stated it so plainly, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach…” (Luke 4:18)  The success of Jesus’ ministry was not only because He was the Son of God, but because of the anointing He received from God.  When Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon Him, God said, “…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)  When one is anointed by God, the Word becomes “…sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…” (Hebrews 4:12)  As the Word leaves the lips of the anointed, it travels into the heart of the hearer.  Without the anointing, the Word of God is limited to human understanding.  With the anointing, the Word of God transforms the heart and minds of the recipients.  The resistance factor of the recipient is a non-issue.

Where there is no anointing, there is a danger of “Christian cults.”  This constitutes misrepresenting Biblical truth.  It is developing a faith based on receiving instead of giving.  It is keyed to the emotional and sense orientated.  We find teachings of financial prosperity overshadowing spiritual growth.  Personal prophesy by self-appointed prophets has grieved the Holy Spirit.  Laughing and being “slain” in the spirit is sought after more than sharing one’s faith.  Spiritual drunkenness has been supported by misunderstanding Acts 2:13.  “Grave sucking” has been presented as a way to receive an anointing.

The world sees the “Christian cults” and judges it as the Church.  The mass media attacks Believers based on the evidence that is displayed by carnal messengers and their followers.  When the Church becomes like the world, its uniqueness is lost and its identity comes through works instead of faith.  God’s church needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit, not by the human spirit.  I am not looking for some new and exciting extra-biblical experience, for I have already been made a new creature in Christ and, with the joy of the Lord within me, I desire nothing more than to discover the truths in God’s word.

 

OUR COUNTRY AND CHURCH

 

There have been some shocking changes in our Country, especially over the past few years. To those of maturing years, it has left them in a state of bewilderment and confusion.  Political decisions have carried much of our Country into schisms and camps of opinionated philosophies.  Instead of being a Country with common goals and objectives, we have become a melting pot of concoctions that has defined a Nation destined to self ideologies. The United States is a land of equal opportunities, but not all opportunities have the equal goal of bettering our society.  Freedom without morals and ethics becomes grounds for a godless society.  Whenever a country forgets its heritage and ignores its roots, it is on its way to extinction.  The United States is only an infant compared to civilizations that have been around for multi-centuries, yet we display arrogance and self-promoted pride that we are the living example of the perfect society.  In spite of the status and the direction our Country is taking, I still love America and would not want to live anywhere else in the world, but to see what is happening to Her is heart wrenching.

It is not only the leaks in the Constitutional foundation of the United States that trouble me, but it is also the cracks in the Biblical foundation of the Church.  It seems the Church is paralleling the direction of our Country.  The Bible is being tampered with to make it more relevant to an every changing society.  Christians are challenging the intent of the Scripture.  They believe our “founding fathers” (Biblical authors) intended to convey a different message than what has been thought for years.  The acceptance of same sex “marriages” has and is being endorsed by a number of main line denominations.  One denomination, by majority vote in their annual meeting, declared that same gender “marriage” ceremonies could be conducted in the church.  Another denomination voted to leave it up individual pastors to determine whether or not to join same sex individuals in their church.

It is not a question of denying a persons identity or personal freedom to chose their own direction, but the issue is do they have the right to make the Word of God irrelevant by their own actions?  What it comes down to is our understanding of the Bible.  Is it the Word of God or not?  God meant what He said and said what He meant.  There is no wiggle room for opinionating and redefining what He said, when through the Holy Spirit men wrote as instruments at God’s direction. (II Peter 1:21)

If a denomination chooses to disregard its Biblical foundation, it needs to take the name “church” from its identity.  The founding fathers of certain denominational churches would “roll over in their graves” if they saw what was happening to the church which God directed them to start.  Denominationalism is not a divergence from the unification of the Body of Christ, but each has a direction that will compliment each other in a common goal. (I Corinthians 12:5)  Some bring the lost into the fold.  Some nurture them in the basics of the faith.  Some reach out to the struggling, while others establish personal foundations.  Some are world-wide mission orientated, while another is community orientated.  All in all, they have the same objective: to bring glory and honor to God, and that is being unified together in Christ. We are one in Christ, but when part of the church is acting more like the world and questions God’s intended Word, then only the remnant will survive.  The United States and the Church are on a dangerous course.  When you take God out of the country and the Bible out of the Church, you have a nation moving toward extinction and a church that loses its identity as the Body of Christ.  “EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS” (Revelation 22:20)

 

The church versus the Church Part 2

 

God’s intent, based solely on Biblical context, was to restore His chosen people to a place of prominence in the world.  But due to their rebellion, the way to kingdom reality was blocked by the hardening of their hearts.  The Jews wanted a status position where they become the conquerors instead of the conquered.  As one studies the Scripture, one can readily see the intent of Kingdom building in God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, God had to first deal with their rebellious heart.  Zachariah’s prophesy was a basic continuation of Old Testament prophesies that Israel would be delivered from their physical enemies.  When that was accomplished, the Jews would be able to serve Him without fear.  They would be before God in “…holiness and righteousness,” all the days of their life. (Luke 1:67-75)  That was God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, their physical deliverance would not be achieved until their hearts were changed.  To bring about that change, Jesus would come as a Savior, not a physical deliverer.  For the Jewish people to understand what the ministry of the Messiah would be, a forerunner would come to change the people’s concept of why the Messiah was coming.  Instead of looking for a physical deliverance, they needed to see the importance of a changed heart.  John the Baptizer would present Jesus as the “lamb of God” who would take away their sins. (John 1:29)  John was stressing the importance of changing their preconceived notions by way of repentance.

The Apostle Paul, understanding the foundation of the Christian faith, made a proclamation that the only thing that really mattered was, “… Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2).  Whenever the Church loses sight of the Cross, its foundation will be in jeopardy.  Whenever the Church manipulates Scripture to promote an excitement transfusion, it has lost its power.  Whenever the Church proclaims financial prosperity while ignoring fiscal responsibility, it has misdirected the use of God’s money.  Whenever the Church stresses physical healing over spiritual healing, it has lost its vision.  Whenever the Church seeks signs and wonders instead of displaying Holiness, it has become a broken vessel.

The majority of agnostics and non-believers are witnessing the displays of the “people’s church”, rather than God’s Church.  The alarming thing is the actions of the people’s church are getting all the attention, while God’s Church experiences collateral damage. One of the problems that face the Church today is how it responds to the “rebellious church.”  If it fails to address false doctrines by not promoting Biblical truths, it will negatively answer Jesus question, “…nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  The true Church will be defined by how it responds to its identity crisis.

The conduct of the people’s church invites ridicule.   It hurts to see God’s Church the recipient of ridicule because of unbiblical actions by those who claim to be Believers. The media, from the news conglomerates to the entertainment industry, are exposing the people’s church for what it is, but the tragedy is they think that it is God’s Church that they are exposing.  Believers are anticipating an external challenge to the Church, when we need to look within the Christian circle.  Satan realizes that the best way to derail the true Church is to build new tracks on which the people’s church will travel farther and farther away from God’s intent.

 

The church versus the Church, Part 1

 

There have always been itching ears and searching eyes that scan the spiritual horizon waiting for some sign that God will manifest Himself in a new and exciting way.  Every few years there is a resurgence of distorted Biblical truths that seem to bring a ray of hope to the floundering church.  I am reminded of the Biblical Jews that were waiting for the Messiah who would set them free from the bondage of oppression.  This would be done by setting up an earthly kingdom that was ruled by God Himself.  When the Jewish people saw their physical dilemmas, they reverted to the hope that someone would come who would lead them back to a place of prominence in their world.  To help the process along, the Pharisees begin promoting their own interpretation of the Law and Prophets.  Regulations and extra Biblical teachings were promoted to evidence that God was still in charge.  The problem was the Jewish people exchanged hope for a continuing mountain-valley experience.  Every new or expanded “truth” was met with excitement.  But soon it turned into disappointment and a searching for yet another movement that would excite them into hopeful expectations.

When the Messiah did come, they did not recognize Him.  They thought Jesus was a prophet or great teacher that would reintroduce the Jewish Kingdom.  As quickly as they were exposed to the Truth, the Truth was adjusted and altered to promote a physical manifestation rather than a spiritual deliverance.  The people craved miracles that would help them grasp the reality of God.  Jesus knew that the heart of man was desperately wicked and the only hope for God’s chosen people was circumcision of the heart. (Romans 2:29)  Jesus realized that His greatest mission would be the “religious” community.  The Jews responded to Jesus as a supplier of their physical needs, rather than the “lamb of God” which would restore them to a right standing with God.  Jesus’ ministry in the Synagogues was short lived, for His message conflicted with their traditions.  For three years, Jesus reached out with the Love of God to a people who were indifferent to the real Truth.  Wherever He went, the religious authorities followed with contradictory teachings that confused the people.  Finally, the “religionists” crucified Him!  It wasn’t until after Jesus’ ascension that the real truth of God’s love was revealed.  In that “upper room” the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples, the unfiltered truth flooded their spirits, and the Church was born!

There is such a similarity today to the earthly ministry of Jesus.  Our religious institutions have developed communities of diversity.  The ability to recognize Biblical Truth has become a difficult task.  Doctrines of devils have disguised their way into the Church.  Laughing spirits have become a mockery unto the Lord.  Spiritual “drunkenness” has elevated the flesh into mocking displays of tainted truth.  The Church is eager to acknowledge sin in our country, but remains silent when it comes to sin in the Church.  When are we going to realize that as the Church goes, so goes our country!  When the Church fails to represent God, our country will represent Satan!  Believers must stop cultivating “Christian cults” and start planting and harvesting from the true seed of God’s Word.

There is a talk of a great revival coming, but it cannot become a reality while the counterfeit church is in session. God wants to visit His Church, but not until we turn the Church back to Him.