Our security is only found in one place. Matter of fact it isn’t a place, it is a person. Security is found in Christ. Hold onto Him. Enjoy this song sung by Russ Taff.
Monthly Archives: July 2008
So John moved the people. They say, “What shall we do?” The publicans cry out. They are a bunch aren’t they? Stony-hearted rascals. And yet with the conviction of the Spirit they cry out, “What shall we do?” And John gives the answer in verse 16, he says, “I indeed baptize you with water, but One cometh after me, I am not even worthy to carry His shoes. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire.” Or with Holy Ghost Fire.
We talk about the baptism of the Spirit – it’s really the baptism of Jesus. There’s nothing you can get this side of eternity that didn’t come through Jesus Christ. My dear old principal used to call the coming of the Holy Ghost upon us, “The coronation gift of Jesus.”
“His fan is in His hand. He will thoroughly purge His floor. But He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. And many other things did he…” I wonder what they were. I wish He’d left a list, don’t you?
Here is a man with no financial backing. He has no program. He has the favor of nobody. He has the Roman army against him. He has the religious army of the Jews against him. He has the Pharisees against him. He has the Sadducees against him. He has no money (he doesn’t need it) and he doesn’t have a miracle ministry — It says very clearly: “John did no miracle” — Nobody ran after him pleading: “Have mercy on my son he is a lunatic.” Nobody cried, “Unclean, unclean, unclean” or “open my eyes,” or “I’m deaf,” or something. Nobody said that. He never unstopped deaf ears. He never opened blind eyes. He never cured a withered leg or withered arm. He didn’t raise a dead man – He raised a dead nation. SINGLE-HANDEDLY.
God has had this man in the school of silence. He’s been talking to God and walking with God and weeping before God. He’s lived with Jeremiah. He’s lived with the prophets. He knew what Isaiah said that one day a man should come in the wilderness crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 35 says that highway shall be called the way of holiness, and that a wayfaring man, though fool, need not err therein.
This is revival!
It’s not singing some sentimental chorus, then giving the invitation: “Would you like to come? Jesus is waiting, wringing His hands in heaven, He would be so upset if you don’t come.” Jesus doesn’t care a hill of beans whether you come or not. He’s done everything He can do for you. You have to do the rest. He is not going to whip you into submission. He is not going to demand, though you sing, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” It’s on your side to do it. But notice who they were.
Verse 10 The people asked him, “What shall we do?” Verse 12, “Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?” Verse 14 the soldiers, they were Romans, they lived in a pagan society, they’d never seen a man on fire for God. They’d never seen a priest who didn’t care a bit about his trimmings.
Remember how this man was born. His father Zacharias went into the temple and as he got there to the altar, there was an angel on the right side… And he says to him, “Fear not… your wife is going to bear a son.” And God does a miracle to raise that child up. Zacharias did this once in his life only. There is a line behind him of at least two thousand priests, all waiting for the one time in their life when they’ll go in long white garment and enter into the Holy Place. Which is awesome. When he gets in there, there’s a marvelous person by the name of Gabriel: “Fear not. I have a message from God for you.”
If you haven’t had it, if you walk with God, one day you will go to a meeting and you’ll think God Almighty is talking to nobody in that congregation but you. Why is He singling me out? Because you have the ears to hear which you didn’t have before. Because you have a hunger for God you never had before.
You’ve heard me say this and I say it again, I am scared that when I get to the judgment seat and there are a billion people looking on me that God will say to me, “Son I had many things to tell you, but you couldn’t bear them. You weren’t grown up enough.” — A man leaves his son millions of dollars. He puts a caution in the will, he says, “You can’t spend a dime of this until you are twenty years of age. This money is all tied up until you have enough sense to use it.” –I believe Almighty God is saying that to the Church today. We’ve toiled, rather we’ve trifled with gifts of the Spirit. We are far more interested in the gifts of the Spirit than with the Holy Spirit Himself. And God has treasures beyond our comprehension.
When we say someone is holy we are saying that they are set apart or special. Holy means they aren’t common and don’t live common. Holy people do the right things that no one else does. God is the most holy because He always does what is right. God is holy because He is awesome. Worship His Holiness today.
As I look back on 10 years plus of ministry and about five years of sales experience I have realized that both have one thing in common. There is a lot of “noise”. By “noise” I mean the endless stream of voices that want you to do things their way. The “noise” stream isn’t one of water, but of criticisms, guilt trips, and threats. There is a great danger in listening to the “noise.”
There is no escaping the “noise.” You can switch jobs, churches, and spouses, but the “noise” won’t go away. To overcome the “noise” you must stop listening to it. What I mean by not listening to the “noise” is that you don’t allow the “noise” to keep you from doing what is right. If you listen to the “noise” your quality of work and love will suffer. Remember your life isn’t measured by the “noise”, but by obedience to Jesus Christ.
Let me illustrate my point by starting with the work place. I will use myself as an illustration. I am an account manager for a large office supply chain which means I’m a glorified telemarketer. My pay structure has changed twice in the last six months. Each time I had a manager try to sale the change to me like I can’t add and won’t realize that I’m now making less money. Every phone call is recorded so that if you don’t say the things they want you to, they will write you up on disciplinary action. Four times in the last six months they have changed what they are looking for on every call . Five times they have changed the amount of time you’re required to be on the phone. With all the changes and the “noise” about the changes many people are looking for new jobs. I have realized that I can’t let that affect me. My job is to make calls and get sales. I work just as hard today as I did the day I started. I decided
i will not be moved by the “noise,” but will overcome. I trust Christ with my job so I refuse to listen to the “noise” at work. Will you trust Christ with your job and give Him your best no matter the “noise” at work?
Let me illustrate my point by using an example from the church house. In the Southern Baptist Convention many have noticed that young pastors are leaving the denomination. They would like to stop the mass exodus. The problem isn’t an age issue or a tradition issue, but a “noise” issue. Young pastors hear the fighting that is going on about Calvinism, praying in tongues, and the need for an ongoing conservative resurgence and are discouraged. They may not even be affected by any of these issues, but they are affected by the “noise” and that is enough to cause them to leave.
I have to admit that I left a church because I listened to the “noise” of deacons and disgruntled church members. I left because I had several church members say they didn’t want to reach out to black people in the community. They also said they didn’t want to witness to people about their faith. I became discouraged because I listened to them and took it personally. Now I realize that noise is part of every church and it can’t determine your ministry there. The cure to the “noise” came when I realized that I needed to trust Christ with the church and give Him my best no matter the “noise” at church. If you aren’t in a church or are thinking of leaving a church is it because God is calling you somewhere new or because the “noise” has become too much for you to take? I encourage you to stop listening to the “noise”.
My last illustration is in marriage. Sadly, couples say and do hurtful things to each other. If you allow the “noise” of your spouse to determine your faithfulness and love, you are in trouble. I had a friend who was married for less than a year when he cheated and demanded a divorce. I asked him what happened. He said that a month after he got married, his wife told him that she didn’t know if she really loved him. From that point on they exchanged words of hurt to the point that he said, “I can’t feel love for her because of the pain she has caused me.” He listened to her “noise.”
Please understand, I’m not saying that refusing to hear the “noise” is easy because it isn’t. The “noise” is really, really loud sometimes. I have felt like my head would explode if I didn’t respond to the “noise.” I now realize that my best response to the “noise” is to pray, trust Christ, and stay faithful to want I know He wants me to do. Here is my verse of encouragement. John 10: 4-5, “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus is the Great Shepherd and I belong to Him. Therefore His voice is all I need to hear.
You want to know what preaching is? Study this third chapter in the Gospel of Luke, and when you’ve read that read the twenty-sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles where Paul is standing before a heathen king in a pagan court and says, “God called me to preach.” And He summarizes what preaching is: it’s to open the eyes of the blind, to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified.
People come to the altar, yes, but meet them at the door and ask what happened. “Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah. I confessed my sins.” There is not one evangelist in fifty in America today preaching salvation. They are preaching forgiveness. “Just come and get forgiven.” That is not salvation. Jesus came to do more than forgive us our sins. He came for something more, He came to rescue us from hell, He came to rescue us from sin and sinning. Not just our past sin, but to stop this damnable business that makes God so sad. “He that is born of God does not” N-O-T “does not commit sin.” You say it’s impossible not to sin. It is possible for us not to sin.
What happened when Peter preached on the day of Pentecost? What does it say? They were pricked in their hearts. After that Stephen preached. And when he preached the same thing happened. Peter on the day of Pentecost says to the men he had ran away from: “You crucified the Lord of Glory. You killed Him.” Stephen says, “You murdered the son of God.”
That is preaching. When Nathan the prophet went to David, he didn’t say, “You know, some of you are guilty.” Did he? He said, “Thou art the man!”
Oh, people say, “I’d love to go to a Holy Ghost church.” Would you? Will you love to hear somebody say, “Hey fellow, listen, last night you committed adultery. You embezzled some money this week. You’ve got a spirit of hatred which God says is as bad as committing murder?” Again, Jesus came not to save us just from sins, but from sinning. When they heard these men, they were pricked in their hearts.
I go back into the third chapter, verse 7, he says, “Oh, generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruit meat for repentance.” And quit saying “we have Abraham to our father.” Isn’t this nice. He called them vipers and now he says, “God can do as much through stones as through
Abraham. Don’t boast of Abraham; if God wants He’ll turn those stones into children to worship Him.” That’s pretty much exhausting their theology, isn’t it? In verse 9 he says, “The ax is laid unto the root of the trees, every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him,…” He didn’t ask them! They were so conscious of guilt, they felt as though they had some serpent or scorpion stinging them. They didn’t dare look back because of their sins. They didn’t dare look forward because of judgment. They didn’t dare look round about them, somebody might come pouncing on them. And so they cried out.