| Putting the GOODNESS and GLADNESS back into the GOSPEL|
The Gospel is from the Greek word [i]euaggelizo[/i] which means, to bring [i]good[/i] news, or to announce [i]glad[/i] tidings. It was used in the Old Testament for [i]any[/i] kind of good news, especially of the joyful tidings of God's kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings. In the New Testament it is used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Jesus Christ, and of what relates to this salvation.
Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. "And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me."
When the Gospel comes-off as 'bad news' someone is not doing their job. When the Gospel does not bring a sense of 'gladness' you can bet that God is going to shut the person down. REVIVAL is when men respond rightly to the revelation of the [i]good news[/i] of the Gospel. This is an opportunity for men to hear the Gospel as it should be presented with an ample opportunity to respond rightly.
In our times many who wish to see revival and repentance have hair-trigger denunciatory tendencies. Many people hear their denunciations before they ever hear the true Gospel. Ministers in an attempt to 'correct' the easy-believism of our times are postured for conflict from the start. I used to work with an older man who used to say at the end of day that he was in a hurry to get going, because, "he needed to get home before the fight starts." Him and his wife obviously did not get-along or were not getting-on as some would say. It was an attitude of preemptiveness. I have to ask, why would anyone preach the Gospel like this?
When Jesus came preaching the Gospel His ministry was loaded with goodness. It was strikingly different to the way in which John Baptist preached. We have heard it said, "John did no miracles." Yet, our Lord performed many miracles in demonstration of the goodness of God. So did the early church.
I wonder how we can solve this problem; we have a fundamentalist church that is almost militant against the supernatural and a Pentecostal/Charismatic movement that has to a great degree lost its holiness and power and in some cases have substituted them for flakiness and falsehood. We actually have Baptist churches inviting Pentecostal churches for fellowship in our parts. I would like to say it is due to great love and willingness to accept differences, but I wonder if it is merely evidence of a weakening Pentecostal movement.
When I was a child I can recall a mixture of preaching in which holiness and sin were preached, miracles took place, and folk received the Gospel with Gladness and served God out of JOY. Folk were filled with the Spirit and services would last until they ended. The Holy Spirit would move among the people and many great works took place. Many ministers were called of God in those days right out of our church and youth camps. Many are still in the ministry to this day.
In the early 1960's Leonard Ravenhill's book, "Why Revival Terries" made a great impact upon the Pentecostal Church of God in our state and beyond. The message of the book, coupled with the deeply held Pentecostal tendencies, coupled to produce a people who sought the Lord afresh for a renewed Pentecost. Back then folk did not care how they were perceived or ridiculed. They did not care that they were called 'cult' or any such thing. But something has happened in Pentecostal Circles, and is not revival.
Who has more missions on the mission field than full Gospel believers? Who has more Indian Missions Missionaries than full Gospel ministries? IHOP is often criticised for their odd beliefs, but perhaps it would be good to note that they have ministry to the largest group of homeless folk in our city 3 times a week. Is the devil driving them to minister? I don't condone all their practice, but who do you know that prays 24/7 365? I know of or have ever heard of anyone else save possibly the Monastics.
In summary, we have a powerless Gospel being preached as 'bad news' with no real signs and wonders and goodness following. We need to put down the bad news that hits people and pick up the good news that heals people. When the bad news don't work, many then compensate by ratcheting up the tone and trying to arm twist folk into getting saved. If that don't work, the denunciations start flying.
We need a fresh look at the scriptures. We need a revelation of the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel. We need a people that will rise up in the midst of criticism and friendly fire and proclaim that God is a miracle working God. We need to lay hands on folk, led of the Spirit. We need to bind up the broken hearted and set at liberty them that are bound. We need to do goodness that folk would glorify God in the day of visitation. As the scripture says, [i]these signs SHALL follow them that believe... [/i]
Robert Wurtz II
| 2006/7/18 9:11||Profile|
| Re: Putting the GOODNESS and GLADNESS back into the GOSPEL|
Theoretical ministry and evangelism will not do in our times. We need a life of ministry that moves beyond the chalkboard into into the highways and hedges. If it don't work there it was false in the classroom. I hear the same story over and over of little results and closing doors. I hear messages proclaimed on paper, but will those messages work in the streets?
We need a 'right now' message. We need equipped with a Gospel that will meet folk where they are 'right now'. I recently heard of a man who had not been churched and knew little of the Gospel. Upon it having been explained to him in detail through the use of the story of the prodigal son, the minister attempted to lead the man in prayer. As he began to pray suddenly the other man was praying for himself! He prayed along the lines of the story presented. When he was through he told the minister, "I feel like shouting and jumping HURRAY!! HURRAY!!" Not having been churched that was his response. The minister just encouraged him, "Go ahead and shout HURRAY!" No doubt this man felt conviction of Sin. But when he surrendered all the Holy Spirit lifted that conviction and poured in the joy, the man wanted to release in great exclamation!
What good is a Gospel that does not leave a person with JOY to draw from the wells of salvation? Joy does not come from the devil. If a person has JOY, why trifle with the Holy Ghost? We know that happiness and JOY are not the same. Why do men press on to place upon a people a spirit of heaviness? The LORD has come in to perfect the work and the evidence is the fruit of the Spirit.
I had the priviledge of hearing one of the few true Tent Evangelists left in this country just last Sunday, Sam Rose. Sam and his wife have been to all 48 of the continental United states preaching the Gospel. While many tarry and wait, they have been about the Master's business. While others have formulated theories and processes, they have been out in the fields. Having forsaken all, they have lived by faith for nearly 20 years preaching the GOSPEL in America.
They did not come with a message of closed doors or low attendance; they came with a message of God's provision and mighty works. Raised in holiness circles as a Classical Pentecostal, he spoke of preaching a message of [u]no compromise[/u], yet with an added necessity of the true Gospel of the Kingdom. They told of folk coming up to the Bus in rest stops wanting to hear about God even. Folk knocking on their doors asking for prayer. God is doing mighty works!
I can almost hear the 10 spies report, "there are giants in the land, giants of rejection, giants of closed doors, giants of low attendance..." and yet there was that voice of reason that saw the circumstances through God's eyes and said, "We are yet WELL ABLE to take the city!" God only needed two witness and the thing was established.
Imagine folk coming to the tent meeting so deep in sin that you had better have the goods and I don't mean a harsh word of 'REPENT'. I mean the unction of God in your life that backs His word and delivers the captives from their bondage. Imagine people coming up and asking for deliverance from their sin. What then? Legion came up to our Lord and begged for help. Many Christians, sad to say, don't believe in demonic spirits having power over people. Yet, I have heard with mine own ears men tell me on the streets that when they shoot meth in their veins its like a DEMON takes over them. Do we have GOOD news? Do we have a prayer of power and deliverance? Do we send them down the street bowed down under the load of their sin and bondage? Do we add to this the heavy word "repent or be damned?" What did Jesus do? What did Paul do? What did the disciples do?
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4)
The same God that raised up Christ from the dead can likewise DELIVER you from the death of your Sin! Turn unto Him and be ye saved! But do we have the unction and power of God to back such a message? How long will we continue to plan out new ways to bring revival? These signs shall follow them that believe.. [i]in MY NAME they shall cast out devils and lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.[/i]
Robert Wurtz II
| 2006/7/18 13:21||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Putting the GOODNESS and GLADNESS back into the GOSPEL|
Didn't want to let this slip off the main page...
| 2006/7/19 0:30||Profile|
Fort Frances, Ontario
Someone has been communing with God again. Who is it? It is Robert!
Excellent word brother. Thank You.
| 2006/7/19 0:41||Profile|
| 2006/7/19 8:15||Profile|
[b]WE WOULD SEE JESUS[/b]
I was listening to a message some time ago that I keep coming back to. Ron Bailey was ministering and at a point told the story of some years ago when he would step behind a certain pulpit to preach; there on a plate for the eyes of the preacher only were these words, [i]We Would See Jesus[/i]. I can't help but wonder, caught up in the doctrines of the Bible, wanting to preach holiness, righteousness, repentance, and so on, if we forget the most important thing; [i]Sir, We would See Jesus.[/i]
"I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (I Corinthians 2:2)
This is the lifelong attitude of Paul, [i]that I might [u]know[/u] Him..."[/i] Many people have their 'version' of who Jesus is. Most of them fail miserably in their attempt to rightly represent His person. Paul simply said, "that I might know Him..." Paul's first real revelation of who Christ is made a dramatic effect upon his life. He had heard of Him by the hearing of the ear, but somehow, something, was lost in the translation. Even when the majestic preaching of Steven, whose angelic like countenance poured forth the reality of the Prince of Life, it was but a foretaste of Glory Divine.
We often hear of pictures of the Majesty of God brought forth and solemn pictures of fearfulness gripping even the Saintliest of men. John the Revelator comes to mind. Here was a man that some have said heard the heartbeat of God, but yet fell at our Lord's feet as dead. Sadly, all too often many want to stop right there and take a 'portrait'. Here is John lying prostrate on the ground before the LORD trembling under that thunderous voice as he dare not look into those piercing flaming eyes. As if some would summons a Rembrandt, Leonardo, or a Van Gogh to capture that pitiful moment and forever enshrine the image. Hoping to add to the terror of sinners and folk that would come to Christ- ministers may well had nailed that portrait to the pulpit to [i]add[/i] to the effectiveness of the sermon.
Yet, those words keep haunting me and echoing through the corridors of my mind, [i]Sir, We would See Jesus.[/i] I recently heard of a preacher who had wrongly accused one of his teenaged daughters and interrogated her thinking she had broken a rule in the home. Believing he was right, he leveled upon her every possible means of gaining a [i]confession[/i]. Finally he resorted to preaching to her a most fierce sermon, dangling her (as it were) right there in the bedroom over the pits of Hell with his words. At last he was convinced she was a liar, though she insisted her innocence. He SPANKED that teenaged girl and sent her to her room. About that time the little sister came in his room and confessed to the crime. And if I might so say, a lot of Saints have been 'spanked' and held over the pits of hell when they were innocent of the crimes. This is the folly of always throwing stones at the goats, invariably you wound the sheep in the process.
What did our LORD say to John when he fell at His feet as dead. Did He say, stay there that I might show forth an example of thee throughout all the ages?
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And [i]he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, [u]Fear not[/u]; I am the first and the last:[/i] (Revelation 1:17)
At once the comforting hand of Christ was extended to drown John's fears and strengthen Him that he might come boldly. Yet, some would say, "Stay down John, fear and tremble before His Majesty"... yet our Lord says, [i][u]Fear not[/u]; I am the first and the last[/i]. And this is the missing element in repentance preaching today. Folk are preached onto the ground under the awesome Majesty of Christ, but rarely made to see that right hand that is so utterly willing to stretch forth and comfort. As if to almost intentionally misrepresent who Christ truly is in our relationship to Him, bore out on the cross. The [i]reward[/i] of the Lamb's suffering is that He might stretch forth his right hand as we tremble before his flaming eyes and say to us [i]justly[/i],... [i][u]Fear not[/u]; I am the first and the last[/i].
Robert Wurtz II
| 2006/7/19 8:19||Profile|
[b]LOVE LIFTED ME[/b]
James Rowe and Howard Smith (1912)
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him Ill cling
In His blessèd presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my souls best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.
Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
Hes the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2006/7/19 8:30||Profile|
THis is very good, Robert.
Thanks for posting this.
God Bless you
| 2006/7/19 14:02||Profile|
[b]OUR RESPONSE TO PERSECUTION; [u]THE[/u] TEST OF OUR LOVE[/b]
I have been musing over the sermon of Steven of late. I marvel again and again at how this man was willing to wait on tables for the widows and then God so powerfully used him. I have often wondered how many times Paul the Apostle reflected back on the experience of watching Stephen preach and die.
They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, don't hold this sin against them!" When he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59, 60)
I see in this passage an important truth as it relates to the 'spirit' we are of as ministers of the Gospel (I say 'ministers of the Gospel', as a friend recently pointed out to me, that is what we are. If we preach only repentance, we are not preachers of the whole Gospel). You will recall the reaction of Peter and company when the people 'rejected' the LORD when He determined to take a different route. He stated to them, [i]"Ye know not what manor of spirit ye are of"[/i]. Why? They had proposed calling fire down from Heaven. This is frustration at rejection talking and is not the attitude we encounter with Steven who was [i]FULL[/i] of the Holy Ghost.
How do we react when we are railed upon? Do we return railing for railing? If we are empowered and 'fueled' by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will be the 'spirit' in which the unction is coming forth. What had happened if Steven had broke into an argument and nearly fist fought with these people? The story likely would not have made it into the record.
Paul once lashed out at the High Priest and immediately repented when he found out who the man was. This is the 'spirit' in which Paul preached, even in the midst of brutal persecution. He was not determined to 'win arguments' but to [i]win souls[/i]. Imagine Paul's bloodied lip as he spoke the words, "... I wist not that it was the high priest, for it is written, thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people..." (para)
How do we react to 'persecution' (so-called)? When folk shut us out or speak evil of us? Do we react with a, "Lord lay not the sin to their charge!" Or do we react, "Lord, shall we call fire down from Heaven?"
An honest confession is good for the soul. I recall as a young believer reacting in the wrong spirit to the things I had seen of the highhandedness of our times. There was a war movie I saw years ago in which the commander radioed to the air support that, since the enemy had overrun the camp, he may as well just drop all he had left inside the parameter! Believe it or not, I have actually prayed that way. Lord, the enemy has overrun the camp! We are overcome on the right hand and on the left! Just let your fire fall inside the parameter! Just destroy all of it and me with it! Sound radical? You bet. I wist NOT what manor of 'spirit' I was of. Thank God He ignored that prayer!
We have to get our 'spirit' right before we head out to minister. We need to know that God is in the [i]saving[/i] business. Why would you or I care, we didn't die on the cross for them? That's why were so quick to rain down threatenings and slaughter. We have a relatively 'minimal' investment in the souls of men.
Solomon taught us a great story when the two women came before him and the one had rolled over and smothered her baby. BRING ME A SWORD! We shall divide this baby and give each half to each woman. The question comes to this, "which woman are we?" When it comes down to applying the sword, are we those that would say, because we had no real investment or love, "DO IT!" or would we be moved in great compassion and love? Steven loved the souls of the men that killed him more than he cared for his own personal suffering.
I am persuaded to believe that the LAST action he would have wanted for them would have been, "Lord let us call fire from heaven." No, but why? Because he was an [i]intercessor[/i]. REAL love, as found in Moses will stand in the GAP and make up the HEDGE. Could we step between an Angry God and a sinful people and say, "Lord, lay not the sin to their charge" or as Moses who exclaimed, "Lord if you blot them out- blot me out of the Book!" Or Paul who wished himself "accursed from Christ" for his kinsman according to the flesh.
What was the difference? They loved the people they were ministering to with the love of God and their hearts were broken for them. They wept as Jesus wept. It is a common saying in our circles given before prayer is made for requests that when we pray we should pray as if it was [u]your[/u] spouse that was lost. As if it were [u]your[/u] son or daughter that was lost. PRAY as if it were [u]your[/u] mother or father in the throws of death and in need of salvation. How do you pray for your loved ones? Your close friends?
Strangers to whom you minister are as close to the Lord's heart as those whom YOU and I love. If it were your mother or father, how would you preach the Gospel to them? What about your sister? What if the whole congregation you were speaking to was you own beloved family dear to your heart? Would you preach to them like you do total strangers? If not, why not? Because you love them and they are close to your heart. Your objective would be utterly to the intent of winning them to saving faith in Christ. Not winning an argument or anything else. Your [i]tone[/i] would be a lot different if that were [u]your[/u] grandmother or sister.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2006/7/19 21:34||Profile|
[b]HE BROUGHT ME OUT[/b]
Henry J. Zelley (1898)
My heart was distressed neath Jehovahs dread frown,
And low in the pit where my sins dragged me down;
I cried to the Lord from the deep miry clay,
Who tenderly brought me out to golden day.
He brought me out of the miry clay,
He set my feet on the Rock to stay;
He puts a song in my soul today,
A song of praise, hallelujah!
He placed me upon the strong Rock by His side,
My steps were established and here Ill abide;
No danger of falling while here I remain,
But stand by His grace until the crown I gain.
He gave me a song, twas a new song of praise;
By day and by night its sweet notes I will raise;
My hearts overflowing, Im happy and free.
Ill praise my Redeemer, Who has rescued me.
Ill sing of His wonderful mercy to me,
Ill praise Him till all men His goodness shall see;
Ill sing of salvation at home and abroad,
Till many shall hear the truth and trust in God.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2006/7/19 21:51||Profile|