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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Putting the GOODNESS and GLADNESS back into the GOSPEL

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RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4635
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

[b]BLOCKING THE GATES[/b]
Are You a Gate Blocker?

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in [u]gentleness of wisdom[/u]. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don't boast and don't lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and [u]selfish ambition[/u] are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)

Some would say that James had a reputation for being no-nonsense and even legalistic at times. Luther may well have exempted this epistle from the canon or scripture. But who could miss the heartbeat of God in these writings? James 3 offers us great wisdom and counsel for preachers and teachers everywhere.

There is a word I want to introduce here that I have never read in Christian writings on the subject of repentance preaching in my short days on this earth; that word is [u][i]overbearing[/i][/u]. The word means to be domineering over people. It is a word that has to be experienced to be appreciated. I chose this word for my subject because it is [i]antonymous[/i] to our passage.

Overbearing preachers generally do not realize they are being overbearing. They may be sincere and loving at any other time. They may be overbearing to those close to them or 'under' them in authority. At the worst of times and in the most ciritical circumstances it rears its [i]ugly[/i] head. They think that folk are rejecting the [i]message[/i], but they are really rejecting the [i]delivery[/i]. Like a backhanded compliment, oberbearing preaching embraces with one hand and smites with the other. Almost as if a pre-penance is prerequisite for delivering the 'good news' of the Gospel. "You have been a bad people and I must smite thee for it..." This is God's perogative alone and to take it up in preaching is to destroy your own ministry (selah).

Overbearingness does to people what [i]begrudging[/i] does to people. Begrudging is displeasure at the satisfaction of another. It is giving [i]resentfully[/i]. It causes a person to draw back from receiving something at their hands because they can sense the [u]resentment[/u]. Overbearing preaching causes folk to sense something that has a similar effect and the result is the same. People are not dumb, they are human beings and they readily sense [i]hostility[/i]. And hostility has no place in the pulpit.

One can preach in such a way that folk want to run from the meeting and it has nothing to do with Holy Ghost conviction. A [i]harshness[/i] in the tone that makes it difficult to receive the message certainly did not come from God; it is earthly+fleshly+demonic. In other words, the message lacks common courtesy and is void of the fruit of the Spirit. Like a man passing through a crowd saying, 'excuse me', 'pardon me' etc., instead of 'MOVE', 'GET OUT OF MY WAY' or 'I'M COMING THROUGH!" [i]Courtesy[/i] is the decent way to pass through the crowd and preaching with courtesy and peacableness is likewise the biblical route.

It makes no difference what you feel the Lord has called you to do or preach, you and I are not [i]above[/i] James 3. No one in the New Testament era has been licensed to preach [u]overbearingly[/u]. What is even worse is when folk begin to interpret the 'feeling' of overbearingness as the [i]anointing[/i] or as [i]unction[/i]. This is most unfortunate and is vanity and vexation of spirit.

[i]Selfish ambition[/i] is a subtle griever of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I think preachers and teachers who are caught up in preaching overbearingly should have to quote Psalm 22 a hundred times before they step up to preach... But I am a worm, and no man... But I am a worm, and no man... But I am a worm, and no man... and so on until the get a right prespective of themselves. Perhaps the plate "We would see Jesus" attached to the pulpit would put the finishing touches on the preachers disposition and the people may actually receive the word.

I have wondered for some time if what we see today is not just as much hardness in the preacher as it is hardness in the people. Both are [i]insensitive[/i] to the Holy Spirit and neither know they are. [i]But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits...[/i] The unction of the Holy Spirit will walk hand in hand with the [i]fruit[/i] of the Holy Spirit. Unction is God backing the words. When God backs the words that 'backing' will have His fingerprint. That fingerprint, as it were, is His personality. His personality is that of the fruit of the Spirit. We should sincerely ask ourselves, "Does my teaching and preaching resemble James 3?" If not, why not?

The Devil can preach repentance. It has been said that if he could preach it without unction that would be a weapon in his hand. BUT, I submit to you that if the Gospel is preached without the fruit of the Spirit it is the most serious affront on God of all. And that, because it misrepresents His character. It IS the devil preaching! Is that not what James 3 is saying? If our preaching and teaching is not [i]first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.[/i] And if the fruit of righteousness is not sown in peace, is it not earthly, sensual and demonic?

You can repent today and ask God for a fresh revelation of how He wants His message delivered. You can cast off selfish ambition and envy. What is envy? Envy is displeasure at the blessing of another. Displeased that God would actually lift the burden from folk and allow them to walk in peace and joy. It's not too late. Save yourselves and your ministry before the stinch and stigma of overbearingness destroys it all.








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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/7/24 8:32Profile
Compton
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2731


 Re:

Quote:
Truly the Gospel is 'Good News' to anyone with a sober mind.



There is much to reflect on in this simple statement. Certainly many of the people we witness and preach to, void of the Holy Spirit, are suffering from impaired judgment. Conversely, Christians are portrayed in popular culture as coming to church and gettin' "happy". In the 90's, much of American Christianity seemed to get lost in a sweeping celebrative paradyme complete with loud music and dancing. All of this coupled with our modern insistence on measuring the Gospel only by it's psycological or humanitarian value could tempt us to never insist on sobriety and severity when considering man's desperate poverty, and utter need for Christ.

Perhaps in response to the happy raucous of the 90's, there arose another intoxication in the form of Emergent or Post-Modern Christianity. Their Gospel is soothing to the nerves; reluctant to disturb, resistent to proclaim unilaterally there is only one salvation for the race. The Prozac spirit of our age equates ambiguity with enlightenment and even kindness. Yet it is only a human tactic to lay a honey trap for men with practiced kindness and sweetness...hesitant to ever 'break' the news to them that they are sinners.

We need sobriety more then ever.

However, within many repentance circles, sobriety is still lacking on another level...it is always a danger to become preoccupied with our own ambition and become void of the Spirit when preaching to people. It is remarkably easy to preach fanatically from mere human energy.

This paragraph from O. Chambers speaks about this 'energy...'

"He (God) puts love in the place of lust. What is lust? The impatience of desire-I must have it at once. Love can wait seven years; lust cannot wait two seconds. Esau and his mess of pottage is a picture of lust; Jacob serving for Rachel is a picture of love."

How often is repentance preaching rigged to smash the will of people rather then make straight the way of the Lord in their hearts? It is a sad riddle, but lust for success and control can be a motivation for preaching the 'good news."

I'm finding this thread a very helpful exhortation to my own heart. (I think it should be noted, that many of us here have become familiar with Robert's clarity, consistency, and seriousness when handling the Gospel, which provides a trustworthy context for discussing these things. Forgive me for saying so Robert! :-) ) Now with this exhortation to put the goodness and gladness back into the Gospel, I might be tempted to simply 'dial' in the right temperature for my outward presentation. I might even coach myself..."Smile more...stand up straight...don't slouch...make eye contact...say something kind to them...use their name once or twice!" Of course such a superficial reaction to all of this would be missing the deeper point!

We need the sobriety of the Holy Spirit as much as the lost! Our winsome smiles, our engaging preaching and teaching, and even our holy living are all precious but these things are not the light men need! He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.. We need to know more then the principles of Christ...we need to know the Person! This is what this thread is leading me to I believe...not trying to "glow" when preaching, or 'turning' it on when someone is watching... but to learn to abide in the 'light'...and to reflect this light of Christ's life regardless of the activity.

"Those who look to him are radiant..."

Blessings,

MC


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Mike Compton

 2006/7/24 9:54Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4635
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
This is what this thread is leading me to I believe...not trying to "glow" when preaching, or 'turning' it on when someone is watching... but to learn to abide in the 'light'...and to reflect this light of Christ's life regardless of the activity.



Amen. I am captivated by what the Lord is doing in me at this juncture in my life. I am growing concerned that somehow I would insert 'Robert' into my teachings and preaching and like a 'dead fly' in the ointment, spoil the manifestation of Jesus Christ that God seeks to brink forth in the exposition of His word. Maybe what we need more than anything is a clear sense that God must move folk and not our manipulations. No fake smiles and no pretentions.

When I was young in the Lord I used to go door to door with a man who was a beloved Christian. He had a way with people and had used his 'gift' to do door to door evangelism. He had a book that was in his car that I picked up and it was Dale Carnegie, "How to win friends and influence people." He recommended that I read that book, but I [i]never did[/i].

KJV: He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. (Proverbs 28:23)

I think this passage fits into the whole scheme of things.

Quote:
Compton's: However, within many repentance circles, sobriety is lacking on another level...it is always a danger to become preoccupied with our own ambition and become void of the Spirit when preaching to people. It is remarkably easy to to preach fanatically from mere human energy.



Wesley had a word he used from James 3 calling 'bitter envy'- 'bitter zeal'. I am concerned for myself and for the Gospel on all levels. Certainly I am concerned that the typical evangelical message is way out of step. But I have witnessed something first hand repeatedly in our parts that is also of concern. The 'distance' between the repentance preachers and the church gate keepers (pastors) is too wide and the people are not getting to hear the message. In many cases I believe this could be remedied by the folk who would be expected to be the most 'spiritual'. It's all on the line now, but I feel we need to prayerfully consider this.

Pastor's are very concerned about allowing folk to come in and preach a word of repentance. When our church recently attended a Billy Graham Crusade there were folk that stood outside with signs that said, "Billy Graham is a FALSE PROPHET!" and all other sorts of radical statements. When we left there were folk who were quite 'weird' even by what I would consider 'weird' trying to pass out pamphlets onto the busses. Keep in mind that we are only a stones throw from that radical group in Topeka Kansas that shows up at Military Funerals, etc. This kind of "GOD HATES YOU!" stuff is too much even for some of the most seasoned and holiness and perfection type ministers.

I have heard some hard preaching in my short days. Hellfire and brimstone- holiness or hell type stuff. Yet, we have to be careful here as folk with discernment can sense even a slight amount of 'hostility' in preaching. This is viewed as dangerous and not the Spirit. There must [u]not[/u] be even a trace of bitter zeal in our message. It will be a challenge enough for God to navigate through the madness of some of these more radical repentance groups that are frankly spoiling a lot of what God is wanting to do.

The only way this will be circumvented is for ministers to walk completely in the Spirit and keep themselves totally in check at all times. It will be too late to try to 'smooth things over' half way into the sermon and beyond. The damage is done and it will not be easily reversed. They burned their own bridge. Few will likely get a second chance to scold a congregation. We need a Gospel message that is [i]what[/i] the Holy Ghost is saying and [i]how[/i] He would say it. I am not calling for compromise here. I am calling for repentance preachers to check their spirit at the door and ask themselves if this is what Paul of Peter or Philip would say and do? Is there a New Testament parallel to what I am about to say and do? Etc. Allow the Holy Spirit to get us where we need to be to bring the message. if this does not happen doors will remain shut. This goes for me and everyone else. I have experienced this personally and believe the Lord will help me. I use myself as the example.




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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/7/24 10:47Profile
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Joined: 2005/2/24
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 Re:

Quote:
Maybe what we need more than anything is a clear sense that God must move folk and not our manipulations.



This is one of those statements that at first glance can appear very unremarkable and obvious. Yet, once we step back and survey the vast landscape of our own making, we can't help but admit how deep-rooted is the emphasis we have put on our own 'effectiveness'. This is measured by church growth, fund raising, big stadium rallies, moral political victories, emotional displays of spirituality, and even great men themselves. All of these things show how sincere we are for becoming effective.

I can testify how vain it is to be merely effective for Christ instead of being faithful to Him. When I first started hearing the message of "repentance" I was tempted to repent (or at least relent) to the men who were preaching it...which is quite a different thing then repenting to God! These men were so powerful of personality, and pursuasive in their presentation that I wanted to find their approval. How this type of 'repentence'leads to dispair!

Because of this I am thankful for men and women of true holiness, who disturbed me with a steady reality that needed no electric amplification, or sweeping hand gestures. (Not that these things are bad in themselves.)With these Chrstians, you are not pressured to satisfy them with some demonstration of repentence...but instead are bothered at your own lack of reality, and provoked to holy jealousy for theirs. They are unwitting salt in the wounds of your conscience and heart!

Quote:
There must not be even a trace of bitter zeal in our message.



You know, recently I have been 'spending time' with Jonathan Edwards. Here is a man caricatured as a great Fire and Brimstone preacher, giving the hard-hearted sermon-proof church one "homiletical slap in the face" after another to get them to repent. But after my reading of him, I realized that this is a distortion of the man...a distortion that perhaps some modern repentence preachers practice.

They perhaps do not realize that jarring sermons like "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" can only be delivered in the hands of a humble preacher.

One of my favorite Edwards quotes from his youthful sermon "Way of Holiness."

Have you ever read the four Gospels, and did you not observe in the life of Christ wonderful instances of humility, love to God, love to religion, wonderful instances of zeal for God's glory, steadfastness in resisting temptations, entire trust and reliance on God; strict adherence to all his commands; astonishing instances of condescension, humility, meekness, lowliness, love to men, love to his enemies, charity and patience? Why this is holiness. When we imitate Christ in these things, then we are holy, and not till then.

What a wonderful blessing holiness is! Why do so many preach as if it is a scourge?

MC


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Mike Compton

 2006/7/24 12:31Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4635
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
These men were so powerful of personality, and pursuasive in their presentation that I wanted to find their approval. How this type of 'repentence'leads to dispair!



This was a point I wanted to capture, but was unable to find the words. I likewise have felt this pressure to somehow meet some standard or 'please' some minister who I held in esteem. It was not repentance God-wards, but was a repentance for man's sake. I think this can lead a preacher into deception in that when a person comes forward or repents they are thinking they had done God a service, but the person is repenting for the wrong reason. When the leaders looked at Stephen they saw as it were the face of an angel. He obviously was not trying to intimidate people into repenting.

Quote:
Edwards: Have you ever read the four Gospels, and did you not observe in the life of Christ wonderful instances of humility, love to God, love to religion, wonderful instances of zeal for God's glory, steadfastness in resisting temptations, entire trust and reliance on God; strict adherence to all his commands; astonishing instances of condescension, humility, meekness, lowliness, love to men, love to his enemies, charity and patience? Why this is holiness. [u]When we imitate Christ in these things, then we are holy, and not till then.[/u]



I share your observations of Edward's. It is only a track record of such love and grace that allowed a people to receive such a message of "Sinner's in the hands of an angry God." If that had been his full-time message, folk had may well stamped it as "Sinners in the hands of an angry [u]man[/u]."

Thanks for sharing that MC!


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/7/24 13:26Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4635
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

[b]"I DETECTED IT IN HIS PREACHING"[/b]


Let your moderation be known unto [u]all[/u] men The Lord is at hand (Philippians 4:5)

Spirit filled preachers who have been around for a long time have a great ability to discern things that younger and more 'zealous' ministers may never pick up on. It comes from years of being sensitive to God and the leading of His Spirit. It comes from having 'been there' and 'done that'. This quality at times can be quite frustrating because it seems to stifle what God is wanting to do in the name of 'playing it safe.' On the other hand it is an invaluable gift, that like a well worn tool, is a mighty defense against confusion.

When I was a young man an older minister was given some audio tapes of a Campmeeting in Baton Rouge, LA. You will recall that this is the home base for JSM or Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. The minister listened to the tapes and heard 'something' that the excited congregational member who went to the meeting never heard. As far as the attendee was concerned, it was a wonderful Campmeeting. The minister listened to the messages. Soon he began calling trusted friends who were prayer warriors with a closely guarded message, "Pray for 'Jimmy', he is in trouble." Who? Jimmy? You have to be kidding me right? How do you know? The minister's reply, [i]"I detected it in his preaching."[/i]

This minister was well past the green days of anything goes and well into the seasoned times of great discernment. Having taken his first church at 21 years of age and serving in other widespread roles within his Pentecostal organization, he had seen revival many times and knew the moving of the Spirit. Jimmy Swaggart was just the latest fire breathing preacher to come along with any real popularity, he had studied the Wesley's, G. Cambell Morgan's, Leonard Ravenhill's, and many many others. A man of tremendous sobriety, he easily separated the wheat from the chaff. One false slip in a sermon would raise an attentive ear. Not being critical, but [i]discerning[/i] and there is a great difference. A few months later Jimmy Swaggart gave his televised confession.

The face of the American Pastoral base is growing older by the day. In Pentecostal circles we have many pastor's in place who have been around for a very long time. They are not afraid of revival and they are not afriad of the fire. They were 'Pentecostal- when Pentecostal wasn't 'cool'." They have seen your kind before. Sometimes in the health and vigor of youth and sometimes in the throes of death. They have preached from pulpits and across metal bed rails alike. While you're in bed asleep, they may well be at a hospital or on a visitation.

There are legitimate ministers in this nation. Men who long as much to see a move of God as the next person. I'm [u]not[/u] talking about careless shepherds or 'hirelings'. I'm talking about Spirit filled older elders. They used to be Christian 'idealists', but [i]reality[/i] has taken hold and they live for the glory of God in a darkened world. They know 'flesh' from 'Spirit' and understand more than you think. It is the epitome of arrogance to cast these men aside as if the 'Elijah's' were outdated and the 'Elisha's' are in. Youthful zeal that does not rightly respect its elders has the stinch of rebellion. These men are men of God also, would you take them as fools? Like Miriam and Aaron who had saw a flicker of God's glory and the first signs of His revelation, suddenly become authorities on God's Glory and speak foolishly against Moses. Make no mistake, there are some 'Moses' (if you will) in our times and we do well to take heed to their wisdom and insight if they have been true warriors of the Cross.

One thing about these men is that they are 'stable'. They are not constantly searching out some new thing. They can spot a 'fad' a mile off and they have seen the finality of building a work on any type of 'fad'. Most importantly they have that keen sense of awareness from having preached under the unction of God so many times themselves and having received so many messages from God, that they discern things in preaching that many would never notice. They are attending to the 'spirit' of the message and the [i]content[/i] of the message. They are taking things into view.

I am sharing these things because you may be a young preacher and reading this. You may have enough zeal for 2 men and that zeal may cause you to [u]sin[/u]. Just because a minister is old does not mean you can look upon him with disdain or contempt. God sees it. No matter what your agenda is that older preacher has seen your kind before and likely a more extreme version. He has learned how to handle you because he realizes you may need it. I'm not trying to anger you, I am telling you this for your own sake and the sake of your calling. I don't know you. God has been talking to these type of men for decades, likely before you were born and maybe before your parents were born. Do they not have a part to play in all this? Don't be quick to relegate them to the position of pestilent popery or twistedness of the pastor's in George Fox's time. You may have no idea who you are really dealing with and it's important to keep that in mind. Don't prejudice preachers. That would be a most terrible sin.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/7/25 8:34Profile
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 Re: Respecting those with discerment

You expose truths that Ive not heard shared so transparently. A part of me wants to say, Shhhh We shouldnt judge. But, I agree, you can learn a lot about a person by how he/she preaches. You can sense his sincerity, you can sense when a root of pride is starting to develop, or when an abrasive edge begins to set in, or when he's expounding less and less scriture. You can tell when something is hidden. You just know!

Really, if we see this happening, we should not let it slide esp in the earlier stages, when there is more hope for repentance. If we wait too long, the pastors heart gets more an more hardened, and then its too late. I think most of us, after a while, realizing that we will be ignored, just shrug our sholders and ignore our earlier senses. We feel that we can't do anything about it, and are just glad to get home to our Sunday dinners.

You make a clear distinction between elders and hirelings. Elders have had years to develop an acute sense of discernment and wisdom. Of course that would be why elders are to oversee the church -and should be the ones who mentor young pastors and hold them accountable.

But really, not all true godly elders are recognized for who they are. I have profoundly benefited from those in the church who were never pastors or elders and never preached a sermon but still had had much godly wisdom gained from experience and years of walking closely with God. Those are the ones I've tended to look up to, view as my role-model, and approach when I needed wisdom. That hasn't changed.

[Of course, there are elders on SI. But we arent going to have an election over it - thankfully!]

I would say that in our culture, education and status are valued far more than maturity and discernment. Most church-goers and pastors assume that no one else can have keen eye-sight. Or they just dont want to trust the words of someone lower on the seniority ladder or too old to be relevant . Just this past week a true elder/friend by character and past leadership experience, whom we have known for years, left his church because, essentially, he was pushed out. It was nasty and tragic, and the church will suffer down the road. This seems to be happening a lot.

I believe that discernment largely remains undeveloped deliberately. I was taught that Id be rebellious if I questioned the special man who shares Gods word from the sacred pulpit. After all, he is called by God and hears from God. So my power and freedom to discern got suppressed, and I felt guilty for questioning. I distrusted my inner voice, and instead listened to the ones in the know.

When the exercise of discernment is suppressed long enough, then the door is wide-open for all kinds of imposters and immature pastors to reign freely, unchecked. I think that this is not only their fault. The congregation has also failed them.

One more thought regarding discernment:
My kids, even when young, had amazing discernment. And they, in their nave way would say exactly what they saw. I was often amazed at the pointed truth of their statements, and was at times quite convicted through their words. . Clearly age is not the only criteria for discernment.

That brings us back to the heading of this thread:

The joy of the gospel is that we are given the freedom of children and the freedom to grow up!!!!

Diane


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Diane

 2006/7/25 11:46Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4635
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
My kids, even when young, had amazing discernment. And they, in their nave way would say exactly what they saw. I was often amazed at the pointed truth of their statements, and was at times quite convicted through their words. . Clearly age is not the only criteria for discernment.



This is true Diane. Children have a way of telling things. They seem to know the difference between 'Christlike' and 'not'.

I have shared things in this thread with great reluctance. I have observed some things that I think we need to be aware of. Again, I use myself as the example. There are a lot of 'repentance' type ministries coming along. I think a clear line needs to be drawn that sets some biblical parameters or the whole thing will jump the rails. We need the mind of Christ.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/7/25 12:30Profile
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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3663


 Re:

Quote:
I think a clear line needs to be drawn that sets some biblical parameters or the whole thing will jump the rails.


This reminds me of a cow we once owned who always jumped the fences and led the rest of the herd with her. She was our most intelligent cow a reminder of the dangers of intelligence and the futility of fences. After all, fences dont change the heart. And we end up jumping them. because. of course the grass is always greener on the other side.

Your messages are far better than fences. They help us change our heart from the inside out. And then we dont need to depend on fences. Well be more likely to stay within biblical parameters as we trust in Gods grace.


I appreciate your reluctance about using personal examples. Yet they have a way of grabbing and getting through the cobwebs in the mind.

Robert, I enjoy and look forward to your articles about our tendencies to cling to law and that is why we present a message void of hope, joy and gladness.

Diane


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Diane

 2006/7/26 8:58Profile
RobertW
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Posts: 4635
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 Re:

[b]WHOM THE SON HATH MADE FREE[/b]


Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23 web)

There is a master that withholdeth not wages when they are in his power to pay. A taskmaster ever willing to make payments of death. The master I'm referring to is [i]Sin[/i]. there is a need for emancipation from this master- not a being 'set free' (as Ron Bailey has pointed out) but being 'made free.' [i]If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.[/i] (John 8:36)

As Leonard Ravenhill has rightly pointed out, John Baptist did no miracles. His message was repentance. He was preparing the way of the Lord. Repentance is when one turns to God with a changed mind about whose will should be obeyed. He came to change minds and point to Christ. And some would think that a 'John Baptist' is needed in our times. Not one person was ever set free from sin under John's ministry recorded in scripture. No demoniac's were loosed and those in the clutches of sin were just as bound when he left them as when he met them. This is no slam on John Baptist, it is a reality of his function in God's eternal plan. He had a simple purpose- "[u]prepare[/u] the way of the LORD." We often skim by his own proclimation of how he was unworthy to loose the sandles of the one coming after him and how that 'One' will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. He knew his [i]limitations[/i].

[i]Humpty Dumpty[/i] is a character in a Mother Goose rhyme, portrayed as an anthropomorphized egg. Most English-speaking children are familiar with the rhyme:


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.


That Humpty Dumpty is an egg is not actually stated in the rhyme. In its first printed form, in 1810, it is a riddle, and exploits for misdirection the fact that "humpty dumpty" was 18th-Century reduplicative slang for a short, clumsy person. Whereas a clumsy person falling off a wall would not be irreperably damaged, an egg would be. The rhyme is no longer posed as a riddle, since the answer is now so well known. (Wikip) An addendum has been made to this rhyme in our parts that I think goes along with our entry. "Why didn't anyone call the KING?"

John Baptist and a host of others are merely the King's men if I might so say. Yet, there are some things that take the King Himself to fix. This is what puts the shout of praise into the hearts of those who hear and appreciate the Gospel. If we are going to put the 'Goodness" back into the Gospel and the "Gladness" back into the hearts of the hearers, we will have to put the KING back into the Gospel. We hear much about the "King's men", but there are a lot of humpty dumpties in this world and the King's men are not right for the job.

And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, [u]Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?[/u] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [u]And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [/u](Acts 3:11-16)

My heart is heavy this morning. Heavy for the multitudes in my city and family that are bound to sin. A people that need more than a John Baptist message, they need the delivering hand of Jesus Christ. I'm thinking of a woman right now not yet 50 years old who is dying. Her belly is swollen as if she were 9 months pregnant and filled with fluid. She has a deadly form of Hepatitus C and her liver is all but destroyed. I have seen this before with Cirrosis of the liver and how folk have to be 'tapped' to drain the water of lest they burst. It is not always sin that causes these diseases. In the cases I have seen it is. In the first case the woman lived a hard life; dancing, prostitution, drugs of every kind. She stumbled once into Sonny Argonzony's center in California not knowing whither she went. She heard about Christ afresh. She had been raised in Pentecostal Holiness unlike most could not imagine. She was no stranger to the message of Christian perfection.

I'm reminded of Legion and have to respectfully wonder, what would John Baptist have done with him? He saw the [i]Master[/i] and ran for help. His heart was already prepared and changed about his situation. He was tired of the violence and madness and yet he could not get loosed. He had broken enough chains and lived long enough among the dead. He needed more than the word of repentance, he needed [i]deliverance[/i]. He needed emancipated from Sin. He needed the KING.

When Philip came to town folk were delivered. We seen that in a previous entry. What a message? That you can be free from sin and with that message have the Finger of God in our midst to see Him confirm His word with a mighty deliverance. Some folk are bound to drugs so much that preaching repentance to them is like pouring water on a ducks back. Some people are so bound to alcohol that they are NOT in their right minds as Legion. They need a deliverer. They need the Power of God manifest in that place.

Excuse me in my folly, but, what if a person came up to us on the streets and said, "I want to be FREE from this bondage to Meth, but I can't get LOOSE, pray God to set me free!?" Could we pray the prayer of faith and that one be loosed and in their right mind? Could we expect God to do to [i]them[/i] what He did for Legion and others? What are we preaching for if we can't? Are we vain talkers and deceivers? Surely Christ had set them free. None that came to Him sincerely were ever cast out. Would we send them to rehab? Or could we pray in such a way that God would literally LOOSE them from their bondage? I mean in a verifiable way?

I have found that it is a light thing to preach repentance. It is another thing to bring a message that folk can be delivered from the chains of sin that has them utterly in bondage. Sleepless nights are increasing in my musings and longing to see a people loosed from their infirmities. I think of Elijah praying with his head between his knees he was so focused on hearing from God. Can we pray with that level of faith and focus? Can we pray with such compassion? Elijah was a man of like passions as we. Would to God that we would take hold once again of the Horns of the Altar for some people and lay hands upon them that God may loose them and save them and God send them their way clothed in His white robes and with the mind of Christ.






_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2006/7/26 9:04Profile





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