Apologetics is intellectual spiritual warfare. It is a battle of minds for the souls of men and women. Answering questions clears the way for the truth of the Gospel to penetrate the heart. The whole soul is at stake – mind, emotions, conscience, and will. But it starts with nurturing the mind – the intellect, the questions asked and the doubts harbored. Apologetics seeks to meet a person where they are at in their understanding of life, purpose, and morality. It challenges the assumptions, and puts the worldview under the microscope. It dismantles the strongholds – the falsehoods that have been adopted and lies that have been believed. These strongholds may exist on every level of the soul, just as the apologist seeks to reach the whole soul. Apologetics can no longer be neglected in the Church, because to gain the salvation of the soul you must be willing and able to address the individual’s questions of the mind, longings of the heart, construction of morality, and choices of the will.
A.W. Tozer, in the preface to The Divine Conquest, wrote, “The only book that should ever be written is one that flows up from the heart, forced out by the inward pressure. When such a work has gestated within a man it is almost certain that it will be written. The man who is thus charged with a message will not be turned back by any blase consideration. His book will be to him not only imperative, it will be inevitable.” There has been a growing burden on my heart to resume writing, and I will be presenting some of the “inevitable” on this blog.
I plan on revisiting some of my old blog posts – rewriting some, editing some, and some I will simply repost. I also look forward to writing new posts, presenting some new ideas as well as some old ideas in new ways. As always comments are welcome, but please be respectful. Feel free to engage the question at hand and ask new ones. I look forward to answering them.
Thank you in advance for your readership, and thank you to those who have continued to follow through this silence. It is my hope and prayer that this blog may be a blessing.
The article quoted from is “Pulpit Force” by Robert Hart, From Touchstone, June 2007, page 5.
“It is not the duty of the clergy to blunt the sharpness, to soften the hammer, to quench the fire. Woe to the preacher who protects the people from the Word that kills, because he protects them also from being made alive – truly and forever alive. Woe to the preacher who acts as a buffer, deflecting the force of the Scriptures to soften the blow, because in protecting the people from the stroke, he prevents their healing” (Robert Hart).
This is a woe that cannot be misunderstood. We’re not talking about preaching. This is talking about proclaiming. And what’s being proclaimed is the very Word of God.
We read in the book of Ezekiel, Chapter 2, how the Lord God himself challenges Ezekiel in this same manner:
“1 He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” 2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
3 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.”
We notice the similar warnings between Mr. Hart’s words and what the Lord proclaimed over 2000 years ago in the book of Ezekiel. The warnings are similar in the sense that they challenge the speaker to not hold back what needs to be said; to not be complacent in the words that need to burn; and to not be afraid of the fire that comes out of his mouth.
“Woe to preacher who acts as a buffer, deflecting the force of the Scriptures to soften the blow.” This is the reason why the prophet must never look to speak for his own interests but for the interests of God. For the Lord said to Ezekiel, “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.”
“If his labors in the pulpit amount to a lifetime of standing between the people and the word of God, reducing its effect, taming it and making it polite, presentable, and harmless, he will have nothing to show for it in the end but wood, hay, and stubble, instead of gold, silver, and precious stones” (Hart).
This second paragraph of the article takes me directly to Ezekiel 37. Here we will see a bridge that is very much built of the same message that Mr. Hart is saying.
“1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.”
Oh the sadness of the man who spends hours in prayer and meditation, seeking the Lord for a word to his people, and the moment he receives it he assumes to be ready for the task. He prepares the passage, he sets the time and the hour where he will bring this word of God. He waits for the introduction. He’s brought to the altar of God behind the pulpit. And instead of releasing the sweet fragrance and aroma of sacrifice to the living God he brings the sacrifice of Cain, that which in God’s eyes is despicable and not accepted. And we look among the congregations of today and the dry bones of the valley are no more alive after the man has stepped down from failing to offer the proper sacrifice. And the Lord says to him as he said to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” The goal of God is that the word of prophecy should do exactly what the word did when Ezekiel proclaimed it. “Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, “Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”‘ So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”‘ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.”
“He will have nothing to show for it in the end but wood, hay, and stubble, instead of gold, silver, and precious stones” (Hart).
“If the passages that have been read speak of life and death, then elaborate on life and death. If they speak of repentance, then preach that men should repent. When they encourage faith, proclaim faith. When they warn of hell and the judgment to come, then blow the trumpet as a faithful watchman on the walls. When they comfort, speak as a pastor who feeds the sheep” (Hart).
This third section of this message is clear as the Word of God says in 2 Timothy 4:
“1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
The reason the Lord God Almighty commands us not to mask the words that he puts on our tongues, not to put flowers on them and make them sound sweet and delightful, is because of the warning of what is yet to come. Verses 3 and 4 say “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” God is making it clear that this will happen in the last days. He warns that foolish, sweet-talking, delightful expression are the very thing that people are going to want to hear. Sad to say they are already doing it. Their itching ears have been scratched for them. And the church is responsible for doing it.
“Let the meaning of the Scriptures be expounded to their full effect; proclaim from them the truth that affects the eternal destiny of the souls in your care. It is far easier to preach if a man will ride the Scriptures like a wave, letting them make their own point and arrive at their own destination” (Hart).
And finally, how is it that the prophet or man of God should carry out the proclamations that God has put on his tongue? The Word of God is very clear. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 says:
“6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
‘No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
16 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?’
But we have the mind of Christ.”
And the reason it is important to ride the wave of the Word of God, it is for God to expose the man who has not the Spirit of God. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (v. 14). And in this day and age it’s sad to hear and to even say, that it’s no longer the listener who suffers from not having the Spirit of God. It is the speaker that has failed to have it and to receive it to begin with.
By Robert Hart
It is not the duty of the clergy to blunt the sharpness, to soften the hammer, to quench the fire. Woe to the preacher who protects the people from the Word that kills, because he protects them also from being made alive – truly and forever alive. Woe to the preacher who acts as a buffer, deflecting the force of the Scriptures to soften the blow, because in protecting the people from the stroke, he prevents their healing.
If his labors in the pulpit amount to a lifetime of standing between the people and the word of God, reducing its effect, taming it and making it polite, presentable, and harmless, he will have nothing to show for it in the end but wood, hay, and stubble, instead of gold, silver, and precious stones.
If the passages that have been read speak of life and death, then elaborate on life and death. If they speak of repentance, then preach that men should repent. When they encourage faith, proclaim faith. When they warn of hell and the judgment to come, then blow the trumpet as a faithful watchman on the walls. When they comfort, speak as a pastor who feeds the sheep.
Let the meaning of the Scriptures be expounded to their full effect; proclaim from them the truth that affects the eternal destiny of the souls in your care. It is far easier to preach if a man will ride the Scriptures like a wave, letting them make their own point and arrive at their own destination.
From Touchstone, June 2007, page 5.
There has been a serious attack on Christianity that has been coming from within the church. The Bible calls these kind of false teachers “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Postmodern, “relevant” teachers are saying that Christianity’s basic beliefs need to be rethought and brought into the 21st century. This attack showed itself again this morning as I listening to NPR this morning.
The report was on Brian McLaren’s book “Jesus, Reconsidered.” McLaren advocates a rethinking of Christianity. For the other side of the debate NPR interviewed Al Mohler. I am glad they picked someone who represents traditional Christianity, and not some liberal or right-winger.
Mohler pointed to the motives of McLaren and other such teachers. They are trying to be relevant. As McLaren himself said, today when a Christian goes off to college, chances are their roommate will be of a different belief system. “How can you condemns someone to hell who you have come to love?” he asks. Some statistics are also giving, saying that 2/3 of young people believe people other than Christians can go to heaven. Mohler says that Christianity is being lost for the sake of relevance.
I agree. The whole postmodern approach is tearing apart the church. Now first let me qualify what I mean by “Christianity” and “the church.” I do not mean what it has become – a building put up by human hands and taught with human wisdom, full of false gospels and false converts. I do not mean Christianity as a watered down version of Christ somehow coming to love and redeem us but leaving out the power of God to change our hearts. I mean faith in Christ Jesus as the Bible teaches (yes, literally), and I mean the church as the Bible says it is – the holy, spotless bride of Christ.
There must be a pure church, and that standard must exist in order to contrast it against any perversions of the gospel. Otherwise McLaren would be right, Christianity can be changed to suit our culture. But God transcends the centuries and cultures that come and go. God transcends fad doctrines and popular teachers. The message of the cross is timeless. The Bible says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” For the sake of cultural relevance these false teachers are rewriting the message of the cross.
Now I am not holding up some ultraorthodox view that says we should stick to tradition for tradition’s sake. I am not saying we should abandon our culture, burn the NIV Bible and build our houses without electricity to completely separate ourselves. I am not saying that. What I am saying is that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t change. It is a message for our culture as much as it was when the Lord Jesus walked the earth.
They misunderstood his message too. They thought that he was going to be some kind of political leader who would overthrow an oppressive government. Or else they saw him as some miracle worker who could solve their maladies, ignoring that he could do more – forgiving their sins and saving their souls. This lesson we learned from the lame man. Jesus did not first heal him, but said, “Your sins are forgiven.” The leaders took offense and questioned his authority to do this. Then to prove his authority to forgive sin he also healed him, and he got up and walked.
Have we forgotten the power of our Lord? Have we made him out to be just another political figure, popular teacher, or magic trickster?
I tell you the truth, the church has prostituted itself for the sake of the wolves and their false gospels. Rather than serving the one who can forgive its sins, the church has turned away from God and followed these false teachers. Thus the church has become no church at all – no bride of Christ, no one to be united with God in perfection – but a whore.
Where is the true church of Christ? Where is the spotless bride? Where are the ones who follow the true and living God and his gospel of salvation? Where are the ones who believe that he will heal their black hearts, and not just their pocketbooks? Where are the ones who would rejoice in hearing that their sins are forgiven, regardless of whether their maladies are ever healed?
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of false gospels! I am tired of hearing people pervert the gospel of my Lord, the Lord who I love. He was and still is relevant.
The cross is not just a love story. It is a violent story of what it costs to be redeemed. And yes, blood does need to be shed, for “without the shedding of blood their is no forgiveness of sins.” There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood because sin has a cost, and that cost is death. Death exists because sin exists. But Christ paid the price so that death can be put to death just as sin can be put to death. And this death is not only on the day we die, but NOW as we walk with our God.
The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t stay dead either. He rose again on the third day. The postmoderns would have you believe that such a thing cannot happen, and that the resurrection is just another made-up fairy tale. It is not. “Without the resurrection you are still dead in your sin, and your faith is useless.” Death could not be put to death if Christ stayed in the grave. But he did not! He rose again on the third day, proving that he is God, Lord of all, the one who can redeem us from our sins, not a mere man but God made flesh for our redemption. The resurrection means that we too can come out of the grave of our sin and be born again. Only then can we truly become the spotless church. There can be no church where there is no death to sin.
Finally, Christ ascended back on high, again proving he is who he says he is. “And he seated us up with Christ.” This means that we are where Christ is and can continue to walk in victory over sin, saying no to it, and remaining holy in Christ Jesus.
Holiness is not this lofty ideal handed down to us in paintings and now shown to us on TV by visual effects of shiny white angels with golden halos. In fact angels can be dreadful beings, ones whom some men have trembled at the feet of when they are seen in their splendor. No, holiness is not that caricature of something beyond us. Holiness is given to us in Christ. It is definitely a standard, but one that is attainable. It is simply walking in faith the standard of purity that God has laid out for us. Without faith there is no holiness. The church today lacks holiness because it lacks faith in the full gospel of Jesus Christ – it only wants the forgiveness, or it only wants the temporal healing without the spiritual death, or it lacks the power or the knowledge of its power to walk in victory.
So what can we do? Pray. Fast. Weep and mourn. Wail and lament at the loss of our gospel. But do not stay there. Find the gospel again! Find what is real and true about what Jesus Christ did for us. We are not coming up on some random “holy week” akin to that of any other belief systems. Next week is Easter. We are celebrating salvation itself. Do not prostitute yourselves, and do not prostitute the gospel, for any reason!
To all my brothers and sisters, greetings in the name of our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST and in the Love of God and the Blessing of the Holy Spirit. I, Rigoberto Dominguez, write to you for the first time in the first person. I would like to have you focus on some very important issues that are taking place in the BODY of CHRIST (THE CHURCH). As you can see we have stated off the year a little late, but with much reverence and very careful discernment. No, I am not about to ask you for money. There is a more serous problem taking place, bigger than any material possession.
The OLD CROSS IS BEING REPLACED BY A NEW ONE!!!!!!!
We are being offered a Christianity without the full revelation of the Gospel Of Jesus Christ: The GOSPEL that teaches THE BLOOD, DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND THE ASCENSION of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. It is being replaced by a FALSE gospel that is no gospel at all, a gospel of quick fixes and of no DIEING to the ADAM NATURE.
In this year of OUR LORD 2010, we will be addressing this tremendous problem. The articles will be of many sources, old, ancient and new that warn us of the dangers of not remaining in the TRUTH. There has to come a NEW WAVE of OLD FAITH to FAN the FLAME OF THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
We started off by giving you a strong SWIRLING WIND from the PAST that warns us about the TORNADO taking over TODAY. STAY TUNED FOR MORE BREATH OF LIFE TO COME YOUR WAY AND TO THE WORLD!!!!!
“What does it mean for the Lord Jesus Christ to have authority among the groups that call themselves by His name?”
To understand what is at the heart of Christ’s authority we need to come to an understanding of what is in His name. So before I begin to write on the authority of the Lordship of Jesus Christ amongst His believers let me first address that there is something very significant in the name of Jesus.
Something about that Name
By Frank Maycock
When my wife and I first found out that we were going to have a child, one of the major factors for us was his or her name. At the time my wife was expecting our son, who is now 27 years old, I was working as a youth pastor and was placed in charge of 125 youths in junior high. As we were discussing the name of our son, my wife would mention a name but I had images of someone from the youth group with that name. Choosing a name was not an easy task. We did not want just any name for our son, but we wanted something Biblical, a name that had a powerful image in our mind.
As parents we tend to choose names that mean something to us. In the movie The Namesake a young man was given a name that in many ways embarrassed him. The family was from India and they moved to the United States before their son was conceived. They named the child Gogol, after the author of a book the father was reading when he was in a serious train accident. The son wanted to change his name because he wanted a name that was more accepted by others. The father then shared how the name Gogol speaks of the wonderful gifts that have come to him ever since he first read that book. Names take on meaning, they matter to many families, and they speak of history or memories. Names often times have tremendous significance to the family and to others.
We see the importance of names in Scripture as well. Many times the Lord directed a person what to name his child. We read in Hosea 1:3-4: “So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the Lord said to him: ‘Call his name Jezreel, for in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu.’” The name became a message to the people as to what the Lord was going to do. Each child of Hosea was given a name to communicate what the Lord was going to do and how He felt.
In Matthew 2:20-21; We read “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins’”
The Greek name for Jesus is the equivalent of the Hebrew name Yeshua, which means, “The Lord shall save.” We read that proclaimed in Matt 1:21 “…For He will save His people from their sins.” God the Father was establishing the credentials for His Son. In His name we discover not only the power that comes to those who believe but also salvation power that changes hearts and lives for those who believe and call upon that name.
I want to stop and focus on the importance of the words that are being used in Matthew. The first thing we need to look at is the command to Joseph when the angel said to him, “you shall call his name Jesus.” God the Father through the angel gave Jesus his name because He wants us to know his purpose for us – to save us. The purpose of coming to earth was not only to perform glorious miracles, or to simply show us what he is capable of, but up front God’s intentions are known in the name of Jesus. He came to take away all our sin. Christ, before time existed, spoke mankind into being and then came in the flesh to save us so that we can continue to glorify Him.
The Word of God grabs the essence of the power of Jesus’ name in Phil 2:5-10. In verses 8-10 we read, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also had highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth.” The Word of God is speaking of the power to save in Jesus’ name. That is why He is glorified. For centuries people have stood in awe that the God who created the heavens and the earth came in the form of a man and died so we might be saved. His name, and personhood deserves our respect, our allegiance and our very being.
The second word in Matthew 2:21 that deserves our interest is the word “will.” If you are a child of God – one who has repented of your sins and has trusted Christ with your life – then you have entered into what is known as regeneration. It is in that process that we experience what Jesus did, does and will continue to do for the elect. It doesn’t matter your age, background, skin color or education. I have heard people say that Jesus won’t save him or her because of what they have done. That is shame talking; Jesus says what He will do because of His very nature and power that is exemplified in His name. He will heal the broken-hearted and transform the mind of those who are willing to trust in Him as their Lord and Savior. This is what He has done, and will continue to do. He seeks out those who are lost.
If you minimize the power of the name of Jesus then there is a great chance that you minimize the person of Christ in your life. Some simply say that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” That, my dear brothers and sisters, minimizes the power of His name and should be repented of. He is more than a reason for a season: He is more than simply a person you can pray to. He is more than just a friend. If you ever want to get life right you have to make Jesus the reason for your life. Life is not about family, friends, jobs and hobbies. If anything takes first place in your heart and life other than Jesus Christ you are being deceived. Life is all about Jesus. Too often in the hearts and lives of believers Jesus is just a name in the rolodex, only someone to be called on when they feel they need something.
The question that people need to address is how much ownership (Lordship) have they given to Jesus? Is Jesus simply the filler of your life where you can use Him as you choose? When you want something do you simply pray in His name? As a believer in Jesus every decision has to include Jesus or else He is not Lord of that moment. Every prayer you pray has to have His will in mind or else He is not Lord of that prayer. He has to be a believer’s substance for life and not simply filler on a Sunday morning or when you need something. The very reason for our existence is to magnify and glorify the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
With this in mind let us now take a look at the question at hand. When as believers we come to experience the power of the name of Jesus we come to understand His authority. It has been said many times and in many ways that there can only be one leader. I work at an organization that has many people in positions of leadership but there is truly only one leader, the executive director. He is the one on whom the major decisions fall.
When it comes to spiritual things, our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is no different. Some seem to operate, whether consciously or unconsciously, with the idea that Jesus is Lord as long as He does what they want, when they want, the way they want it. To admit that He isn’t Lord is to admit to others that their faith is conditional. So many put on a mask in their minds and with their mouths that He is Lord and He has authority, but in reality they are deceiving themselves and others.
If Jesus was Lord of the church it would not be in the chaos that is today. The church would love more, show more grace and mercy, and seek forgiveness while forgiving others. The church would be investing in those who have fallen and looking for restoration; or praying for the homeless, clothing those who are naked and feeding those who are hungry. People would be going to church and simply worshipping the Sovereign Lord, not worrying about what he has to do next or why the church service is going longer than usual. If Jesus were Lord we would be sharing the Gospel with the lost and inviting the stranger into our homes.
The question that we need to be dealing with is why doesn’t He have authority? Simply put, it is because Jesus is not Lord. If He is not Lord of our lives, the church cannot get to the place where God’s people can experience His power. Each believer needs to honestly look at his or her life and ask, Is He truly Lord of your emotions, Lord of your thoughts, and Lord of your actions?
The fact that needs to be recognized is that Jesus has authority whether we like it or not. That authority was given by God the Father. We read in John 5:24-30: “I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to life, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
We read that Jesus has been given authority both over life and death. God the Father has given that authority to Jesus to be executed. Jesus is life and we can either receive or reject Him. If you reject Him you will see for yourself one day that you made a bad choice, and you will wish that you made the right choice, giving Him control of your life.
What then should our response be to His authority? “20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Romans 6:20-23).
The Word of God tells us that we need to be slaves to righteousness. This can only be achieved when we become willing slaves of Jesus Christ. The society which has impacted the church today wants us to believe that we are slaves to no one. The church has moved away from slave talk and instead talks about what it means to be a servant. Servants have choice, but slaves don’t. As slaves to Jesus Christ the church needs to see and say that they have no choice, because He is Lord – Lord of my choices, Lord of my pocketbook, Lord of family, Lord of the internet, Lord or my music, Lord of my television, and Lord of my attitude; in essence Lord of everything in my life. I am His slave.
The church does not want to hear that. It wants to run from that kind of language because it makes people uncomfortable. People do not want to be a slave to anyone, especially someone who does not give them what they want, when they want it. People would rather be their own Lord than a slave to someone else.
If you have this kind of attitude, you lose sight of the meaning of being a slave of the Gospel. The Gospel is about love, life and salvation. The Father knows what is best. The Father will discipline the church to make it more receptive to receiving His love and His will. In order for you to be recipients of the Lord’s great plan for your life you need to be willing to continue to surrender to Him and be His son slave. In Isaiah 55:8 we read; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” To be a slave is to admit that you do not understand what God is doing, and what you see doesn’t make sense, but you will trust and obey. It is then that you are effective in seeing and discovering more of what the Lord has to offer.
You live in a world that is trying to control your thoughts and actions. You need to be renewed as God’s word says in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
A few weeks ago I heard of an elderly lady who stood up in front of her church and testified that for the first time she had accepted Jesus as Lord of her life. This shocked the church because she was one of their strongest members. She looked the part and acted the part, but her life was void of His Lordship. The transformation for her was her changing from someone who knew the Bible to one who had the indwelling presence of the Word imbedded in her life. She went from someone who knew about Jesus to becoming a slave to Jesus. She stopped worshipping the created and started to worship the Creator.
So many things can get in the way of making Jesus Lord and people slaves to that Lordship. The best way to know if you are slave to Jesus is to ask the questions: Are you more passionate about your hobbies than the Lord? Are you more interested in the committees you serve on in church than worshipping the Creator? Do you stay away from church because your children are coming to visit instead of giving worship priority? Do you tithe 10 percent to the local church? If you are struggling with any one of these or things like these then you are struggling against being a slave to Jesus. You can’t keep one foot in the world and the other in the kingdom and call Jesus your Lord. He wants both feet established in the work of the kingdom.
To name the name of Jesus is to be a slave to the risen King. It is to know that there is nothing more important than Him and His will for your life. To be a slave is the greatest place you can be because only then do you get to experience what it really means to be son or daughter of the risen King. To be a slave is to know what it’s like to call out “Abba Father” and to truly know God .