Life after Pentecost

Dear Brethren,

America and England are no longer professing ‘Christian’ nations.  Once, they at least gave lip-service to being godly – much like Old Testament Israel.  Over and over Israel tempted and provoked Almighty God.  The problem was that America and England championed the name ‘Christian’ but adhered to only a few of the basics of Christianity.  On the entire face of the earth the number of true Christians is measured in very small numbers – in the few thousands at most.  How many members of the Church of God community are led by the Holy Spirit and therefore true Christians?

Could it be that within God’s Church we are in danger of making the same mistake?  Do we speak religious sounding words but in fact exhibit very little Christian substance?  Is God’s Holy Spirit at work in our lives as it should be?  When we measure that which passes for religious practice in many of our congregations today—it is only a pretense of true Godly faith.  It is like we are doing just enough to fool only the most superficial of adherents. 

Where is the seriousness, the faith, the urgency, the reconciliation, the mercy, the humility, the zeal, the sacrifice, the honest introspection, the giving, the caring, the integrity, the spirituality, the submission, the yieldedness, the forgiveness, and the crucial concern for our brother and sister with needs?  Have we considered that in these last days it is necessary for a final separation between the faithful and the pretenders?  How does God go about separating the faithful from the “seat-warmers” in His Church?

Sometimes God allows individual trials not just to see the reactions but to see if others will do the right thing.  God discerns who stands for what is right, and who it is that condones wrong behavior.  When someone is aware of the truth but does not act on it, God says they are just as guilty as the perpetrator of the falsehood (Leviticus 5:1).

Faithfulness and loyalty is always toward God, not to a man or a group led by men.  To confuse that principle can cost a person his salvation!   The question that many fail to consider is this:  Is it better to follow men or to follow the instructions that Jesus Christ gave us?

“The Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”  (Isaiah 29:13)

Where is the spiritual practice of our faith?  By the self-important manner of some, you would have to conclude that they tell themselves that God gives special privilege and license to an elite leadership.  God’s word shows that there is no favoritism with God, nor is He a respecter of persons.  How is it that we find such an excessive pride in a part of the body of Christ? Knowing that we are God’s holy and chosen ones can never be cause for smugness.  God granted us repentance to be able to turn around and come out of the evil world.  The faith we have toward Him and in His Son was a gift.  He made us His children—brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ.  Have we forgotten what it means to put on Christ and the attributes of Christ?

“He that saith he abides in [Christ] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”  (1John 2:6)

Unless we follow the lead of God’s Holy Spirit, and unless our lives are a reflection of Christ’s life, when it is all said and done He will say to us, “I never knew you.”  What are we to do when a friend gets into trouble?  The answer is that we must come to their rescue.  There is a big difference between putting on a smile for your friends, and laying down your life, as Christ did, for someone overtaken in a fault or led astray.

“Whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?”  (1John 3:17)

The answer is the love of God does not dwell in that person!  We cannot close our heart to someone in any kind of trouble.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:1-2)

Time is very short.  Are we able to see that compared to Christ we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?  At the time when the Church should be the beacon set on a hill for all to see its light—have we become a willing counterpart of the fraudulent culture of this world?  At this late hour, we are not that much different from this world’s ‘Christianity.’

“Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand…”  (Romans 13:11-12)

Sermon:  "Breath of Life – Pentecost 2016"