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What is wrong with the church? many are inclined to ask. The church is not simply the man who stands in the pulpit to preach. It is not simply the deacons and office bearers, teachers in the Sunday School, or those engaged in visitation and bus ministry. The church is made up of ordinary men and women like you and me and to us, what is wrong with the church is what is wrong with us.
I would say that what is wrong with the church is this: that we are neglecting as the people of God to maintain steadfastly a personal, daily communion with God. If we neglect that, there is going to be disaster everywhere. We are not going to see anything in true perspective. Our judgment of our own lives is not going to be according to truth and our judgment of the lives of others will not be according to truth. Let us think together about daily communion with God.
A Matter Of Fellowship
Daily communion with God is first of all, a matter of fellowship, meditating every day personally in Gods Holy Word. Waiting earnestly, personally, before God in prayer is not a duty to be fulfilled. It is not an exercise to be hurried through with a minimum of mind and heart involvement. It is an unspeakable privilege to be enjoyed.
Oh, the wonder of it! Every day I am able to come and to meet with this great and glorious and gracious God and to enter into personal converse with Him. It is a matter of personal fellowship with God, fellowship which is essential to my life.
Certain fellowships are essential to a mans natural life. There is a diver on the sea bed. He is exploring an old wreck and he maintains fellowship with the life above through the oxygen pack on his back. Without it, the elements about him would certainly overcome and destroy him. A Christians true life is above. His citizenship is in Heaven, and he needs to maintain fellowship with Heaven, with that place where his true citizenship is or almost certainly the elements about him will overcome him and may well destroy him. This fellowship is a fellowship essential to my life.
That great man, Daniel, was nearly 90 years of age when the time of testing came to him. The edict and the order of the Royal Court in Babylon was this: no man was to bow to any other save unto the King for a period of thirty days. Surely Daniel might have argued, Well, I can do without meditating in the ways of God personally for thirty days. I can do without lifting up my heart in praise and prayer and adoration to the God of Heaven for thirty days.
I am nearly ninety years old, and throughout the whole of my life every day, three times in every day, I have supplicated Heavens High Throne. I must have built up some kind of spiritual reservoir, some kind of spiritual reserve on which I can draw in these thirty days. I can go without the quiet time for just one month. I can do without daily personal communion with God for such a short season, seeing what has gone before in my life.
But Daniel knew that that was not possible. Daniel knew what the Psalmist knew, that no man can keep alive his own soul. Daniel knew that todays manna is rotten and putrid and useless tomorrow. Daniel chose to ignore the edict and authority of the Royal Court, and he continued in peril of his life to lift up his heart three times every day in prayer and praise and meditation. This daily personal communion with God is a matter of fellowship essential to my life.
A Matter Of Food
Secondly, it is not only a matter of fellowship, it is a matter of food. The born-again man, the Christian man has a new disposition, a new nature, another life implanted within him. The new nature and the old nature are in conflict, the one with the other. The Bible puts it like this: The spirit is warring against the flesh and the flesh is warring against the spirit (Gal. 5:17).
It is up to us then as Christian men and women, through the Spirit, to mortify the old nature with all its deeds, to cut off all its sources of supply as much as we are able and to strengthen the new nature, the new disposition, with food.
That food I take in during my personal daily communion with God. The two things are brought together in the end of Romans, chapter 13. There we are told to make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. We starve the old nature and then at once, we are told to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. We feed the new nature. This daily, personal communion with God is not only a matter of fellowship, it is a matter of food.
A Mailer Of Fire
Thirdly, it is a matter of fire. If you take a steel poker and put it into a blazing fire of coal or wood, it will become eventually red hot, indeed white hot. You take it from the fire and it will continue to glow for a while, and with it you may bore a hole in a piece of wood.
It is possible for the contagion of it to spread. With it you may begin other fires.
But the poker taken out of the fire will soon lose its brightness and its heat, and the fire within it will become dim and it will return to its old steely nature. If it is to be used again as a boring instrument of fire, if the contagion of the poker is to last, it has to be returned constantly and repeatedly to the blaze.
I, if I would have my heart all love for God and all love for Gods people and all love for His cause, and all love for the dying souls of men, how utterly essential and vitally important it is for me that my life is constantly brought back into the presence of God who represents Himself in Scripture as a living fire. Such love and such compassion and such sympathy are not a stirring given me once and for all in a moment of dynamic and full consecration, in a once-for-all baptism of the Spirit, but this glory, this fire in my life, of praise and honor to God and of love for men is something I catch from His immediate nearness.
In Isaiah 6 we read of the seraphim, and each one of the seraphim had six wings and with two wings each seraphim covered the upper half of his body, and with two wings each seraphim covered the bottom half of his body, and with two wings each of the seraphim did fly. Two thirds of the energy of each of these seraphim was used in self-effacement and one third only in service.
These seraphim in Isaiah 6 were fiery ones; they were flaming ones. They were ablaze for the glory of God and for the honor of His name and for the service of His kingdom. From whence came their fire? They lived near to the throne. There they dwelt in His immediate presence.
This then is the purpose of personal daily communion with God. It is a matter of fellowship. It is a matter of food. It is a matter of fire!
Abridged from The Gospel Witness.