DRAWING NEAR – PART 13
A CLOSER LOOK AT JOHN 6:44
I realize that many of you do not consider yourself as having a public “ministry” and that is fine but let us at least acknowledge that God has called all of us to do something. When I say “public ministry” I am referring to leading others in some type of capacity that identifies you with a noticeable particular calling. Hopefully, we all are serving the Lord in the way that we believe is the Lord’s will but it certainly does not need flashing lights or billboards. Our service to God was never meant to draw attention to us and certainly does not need to be “noticed” in order for us to be faithful and effective. Besides, it is not our accomplishments, an “I love Jesus” bumper sticker or even our church attendance that “proves” we are a Christian – it is the way we LIVE! If Christ has truly been invited to come into our heart and be the LORD of our life, then we are going to demonstrate and manifest a noticeable change! We are not to be “spiritual spies” that work undercover without anyone ever seeing or knowing that we follow Jesus. Having the wisdom and sensitivity to be quiet while allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our steps actually goes a lot further toward earning respect from the world than a “bull in a china shop” Christian that does more demolition than construction! Our works are not counted necessarily in quantity but rather in the area of obedience and how and why we are doing it. If receiving a pat on the back means more to us than helping and loving others then this is most likely the only reward we will ever receive.
It is common when someone discovers they have been given a gift and talent, to make sure that everyone knows what they can do. Of course these people are zealous and energized with the idea they are good at something and this is normal, but it is also important to remember that we do not need to “overly” push and promote our abilities. Deep down within our nature we are adequately equipped with a marketing department and a fully qualified and experienced staff that will work night and day to make sure we are noticed. The danger with these “internal imaginations” comes when we allow our flesh to lead our religious ambitions which will cause us to completely miss the Lord. We all can see that when the church becomes filled with these types of attitudes and “game playing” then the church is no different than any other organization. Leaders are many times arrogant and controlling as they try to show off and impress the congregation with their political and social skills. Then we have those that are trying to compete with the leadership that are bringing in more negative emotions of jealousy, envy, being critical, judgmental, back-biting and strife because they also want to be seen, respected and admired. For example, it is nearly impossible for religious leaders to attend meetings where other people are ministering and not judge and analyze the content along with how it is being presented. It is just a strong human temptation to compare ourselves with others. The same is true with worship leaders, singers and musicians as they also inspect, dissect, scrutinize, evaluate and methodically examine every note and every decision! One sad consequence from all of this is that many actually “miss” what God is trying to minister to them because they are more concerned with technique and ability than with the message or the presence of God. These are the ingredients of a perfect storm called “carnal religion” and in these assemblies I am sad to say the Lord is removing or has already removed His candlestick. Without the Holy Spirit leading and moving in any gathering or church we will have the same old crowd trying to see who can appear to be more spiritual then everyone else all the while living in the blindness of deception.
Allow me to clarify; there are two churches. The true church is holy and filled with God. It is led by the Holy Spirit and is the glorious representation of Christ and His Kingdom. However, this is not to be necessarily identified with buildings or manmade denominations. The body of Christ is the collection of all true disciples and this remnant group is THE church. He does not have 417 different kinds of churches Praise His name! He has ONE church and it is identified in Ephesians 4:5-13. There are thousands of different assemblies, but these are only gatherings of people that contain a mixture of saved and lost individuals. All church “members” are not born-again because many are confused and have been deceived with what being saved means. I personally believe there is a broad misunderstanding when it comes to the church and salvation. I have written about this before and do not believe this is something that will just go away or that we should ignore. To me this subject is one of the most serious problems within Christianity because people are dying without the Lord. It seems that instead of God’s true family members loving each other in the unity of the faith and the bond of the Holy Spirit, we have a huge multitude of lost “church members” fighting against one another in the spirit of pride, ignorance and strife!
Prayers for salvation can be used as a way to confess and accept Christ into our heart but one of the problems today is how people believe that all anyone needs to do is just “say a prayer.” For example, if we stood in front of a stadium of people with a microphone and announced for everyone to repeat after us, and led them in a prayer for salvation, do you think that all of them are saved? Of course not. We must understand that salvation is NOT received by just reciting a prayer or uttering certain words. The Biblical method of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ! When a person hears the gospel of how Jesus shed His blood on the cross and rose from the dead, we sometimes forget just how miraculous this is. The conviction from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit is the only power that can literally change a human being from the inside out. When anyone is being “pursued” or DRAWN by God, they are faced with a decision to submit or run from Him. Some believe we are selected by election and that individuals do not have a choice in the matter, while others believe that God has given free-will to follow Him or reject Him. Whatever the case, the point is that people do not just say, “I think I want to go to heaven” and magically everything is OK with their soul. Sadly, many have lived their entire lives in deception by putting their trust in something similar to this. These are the ones that have never truly experienced the presence of God and are convinced that the emotional feelings they sense are spiritual in nature. I have prayed with several people on their death-beds and I have come to the conclusion that we do the best we can in these situations and that only God knows everyone’s destiny. The only “acceptable” salvation is receiving His divine invitation of grace. Amen.