THE BETRAYAL OF THE AGES[size=xx-small]Compiled By Robert Wurtz II[/size]INTRODUCTIONIn mid 2005 I had become quite burdened over the condition of modern evangelistic methods and the fading emphasis on the New Birth. I suppose you could say that the burden had come to a head. I had been flooding my study time with materials of Wesley, Finney, Ravinhill, Tozer, Moody, Billy Sunday and many others. I had gone to a course in 2004 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic association and was awarded a 'counselor' badge for the 2004 Kansas City crusade. The contrast between the things I learned in the classes and the studies I had made prior was shocking. I was unable to fully reconcile it in my heart. I knew we were on a horrible course of doom and destruction if someone did not do something. So one morning I made a statement in the adult Sunday School class I had taught for over 10 years that would change my ministry forever. On teaching on salvation and the Gospel in a moment of great passion I said, [i]"We have to get this! Because it had been a hundred years since a real Gospel has been really preached."[/i] I may as well had cursed. I can only describe the response as shock, awe, and anger. In retrospect I can say I may have understated the problem as I really now believe we have to go back to Finney to see where this train started coming off the rails. That would be over 150 years. The following presentation was my 'apologetic' to the statement. I will post it in several entries as I have opportunity. I wish to discuss in the following article the development of modern evangelistic methodology through a compilation of a variety of related materials on the subject. I shall begin by discussing what I see as the root cause of our loss of focus on the genuine Born Again experience and trace the regression from the [i]anxious meeting[/i] and [i]anxious seat[/i] to 'the sinners' prayer'. By no means is this article exhaustive, but I wish to shed some light upon the issues for those who wish further study. WHEN THE HEAD IS NO LONGER THE HEADTEXT: Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:1-5)Though there would be a thousand promises in the New Testament it is certain that scarcely would a church dare claim the promise of Revelation 2:5, [i]or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.[/i] G. Campbell Morgan relates this passage to Paul's words of warning to the Corinthian church: "For I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ'. The elements of first love then are simplicity and purity. The love of the Church to Christ is typified by the love of the wife for the husband. What then is the love of Christ to the Church? Unselfish love, love in which there was no single thought of self. What then is the Church's love for Christ? The response of love to the mystery of love, the submission of love to perfect love. First love is the love of espousal. Its notes are simplicity, and purity, marital love, the response of love to love, the subjection of a great love to a great love, the submission of a self-denying love to a love that denies self. First love is the abandonment of all for a love that has abandoned all"
_________________Robert Wurtz II
LEAVING THE LOVE WE HAD AT FIRST (Part 2)There was a time when Israel followed hard after God. They followed the cloud by day and the fire by night. Jeremiah reflects on these things and declared that God remembered the love of Israel's espousals, when she would follow him withersoever he went. Here we read, [i]Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.[/i] (Jeremiah 2:2) This is that first love experience- it is the love they had at first. Matthew Henry comments on this passage, Those that begin well and promise fair, but do not perform and persevere, will justly be upbraided with their hopeful and promising beginnings. God remembers the kindness of our youth and the love of our espousals, the zeal we then seemed to have for him and the affection wherewith we made our covenants with him, the buds and blossoms that never came to perfection; and it is good for us to remember them, that we may remember whence we have fallen, and return to our first love. Notice how this love is demonstrated, [i]when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.[/i] Following the piller and cloud they often murmered and complained. Sometimes they desired to return to Egypt. Yet God in Jeremiah 2:2 recalls only the 'good times'. The times when Israel was following Him with all of their heart- like a young man and women in the love of their youth, longing for one another and burned in their hearts for one another. For Israel the land was not sown. This is a land of barrenness. There was nothing of physical beauty to attract them to this land- for it was not the land that was beautyful, but the God they were following. WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW? Satan in the book of Job leveled upon mankind the great indictment of the ages, Does Job fear God for nothing? (Job 1:9b) In this one question Satan accused man of serving God only for what man could get out of the relationship. Job was exceedingly wealthy and prosperous. Satan accused Job of fearing God for gain. God allowed Satan to touch all but his life to prove that there is a people in the earth that serve God for God alone. They will follow Him whithersoever He goeth no matter if He blesses them or not. If he takes their possessions, family, and even health they will still follow.
I REMEMBER THEE... WHEN THOU WENTEST AFTER ME...Christians in a first love relationship are like a young couple madly in love and content to live in poverty so long as they have each other. Satan challenged mans motive in serving God and essentially accuses man of marrying God for His wealth and blessing. Adam Clarke once said that those who marry for the money can be justly called adulterers so long as they live. This is a foundational truth when it comes to our relationship with God. Do you serve God for nothing or for what you can get out of the relationship? Would you follow God if it were only His person that He supplied? If you loved with the espousals of youth you would. And it is this type of love that Christ demands. If you are going to love God- you must love him for who He is and not what your going to get out of the relationship. [i]I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown
[/i] God calls to remembrance such a love. It is the first love, the love we had when we first followed Christ. The love that kept Christ on our hearts day and night- the love that burned with a holy zeal for His glory and a unquenchable hunger for His presence.
RELIGION: "Worship in the absence of God."The warning is stated clearly that if a church does not repent and turn to Christ in first love then He will remove their candlestick from its place. Here we have a picture of not a Menorah or 7 individual lamps on one stand, but seven individual lamp stands. Christ is walking in the midst of these lampstands trimming them as did the priests in the Temple. The churches of Asia were local churches. They were real churches in history. Ephesus is a prime example of how it can appear that everything is going right- and yet the most critical element is gone. Ministry galore but no desire to pursue God. No real desire for His presence. They did not relish the GLORY of God. This is exactly where Israel failed in the wilderness. They committed to God, but did not to see the glory. They trembled and feared at it. They placed a vail over Moses face when it shone forth from him. And in so doing- God placed a vail over their hearts that is still there today. What is it? They wanted all the exercise of religion- but they didnt want God a part of it. It has been said that religion is worship in the absence of God. Man is a religious creature. But this cannot be confused with the relationship we have with God through the New Birth.
Br Robert,Every paragraph is pregnant with the Holy Spirit. I see that this may be the beginning of something God is working in you for which He has called you. As time goes on, go back to each thought here and continue to unravel, or grow, according to Scripture the understanding that God gives you. He is teaching us to be fishermen. God BlessJeff
THE OIL WE NEED Jesus describes this phenomena in John 3, [i]And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.[/i]The churches are the lampstands, but Christ is the light. The flame is fueled by the oil (as it were) from the Holy Spirit- that is produced in our devotions with Him. Those times of crushing when we long after Him as the Deer panteth after the water brook- when we take time in His presence. When we search for Him in the pages of His Holy Word with ALL of our hearts. It is in those things that the oil is worked in us, that we might have something to contribute to the gathering together of the Saints. In this model Christ is central and man is but the 'vessel' for what God is preparing. He pours from each one severally as He wills that costly fragrance into the gathering- that which He worked in us in our own personal relationship with Him.
As time goes on, go back to each thought here and continue to unravel, or grow, according to Scripture the understanding that God gives you. He is teaching us to be fishermen.
Br Robert wrote:
f something sounds familiar- remember- it is a compilation and not an original piece.
SECTION IIMINISTRY APART FROM GODThe twentieth century witnessed more changes upon the whole of human existence than any other century in human history. The nineteenth century laid the foundation for much of the change that we witnessed in the twentieth. Many inventions in science and industry coupled with the post modernism (secularism) in education came together to change the face of human existence, as it had been known for many thousands of years.These changes permeated like a miasma through the whole fabric of society. Our great, great, great grandparents would not recognize the world in which we live. It would not understand the technology and it certainly would not believe the morality. We, on the other hand, only know [i]what we have experienced[/i]. Things have changed very fast until each generation has experienced a radically different life than the one before. Now take this back to the 1800s. Would you be shocked to think that Christianity could be as different today than the 1800s than [u]any other facet of our existence?[/u] Is Christianity as different today (for example) as the school systems are different from the 1800s? What did schools in the 1800s teach? What about our laws? Is it possible that the message in the Sunday School class of 1900 is as different in 2005 as is the Elementary school class of 1900 compared to 2005? Do kids get a real education these days? It used to be the three 'R's', but look at today. Many kids struggle to read and few have the skills and desire to write quality works. The focus today is often far away from the three 'R's' of the past. As with many schools, so with many Sunday School's- there is a tendency to major on the minors.
GEORGE BARNAS SOBERING STATISTICSAmericans remain inclined toward spiritual matters and feel comfortable with their relationship with God and the clarity they have regarding their purpose in life. Despite that sense of security and discernment, only 5% of American adults possess a biblical worldview, and a minority believes in absolute moral truth. Using that framework, Barna discovered that the percentage of adults holding a biblical worldview has remained minimal and unchanged over the past three years, despite the widespread public debate about moral issues and the efforts of thousands of churches to enhance peoples moral convictions. Currently, only 5% of adults have a biblical worldview. The percentage varies among faith groups. About half of all evangelicals have such a perspective. Overall, 8% of Protestants possess that view, compared to less than one-half of one percent of Catholics. George Barna, whose acclaimed book Think Like Jesus described the core elements of a biblical worldview in laymens terms, noted that the religious books of greatest influence in the past several years have not addressed peoples fundamental theological views. Most of the bestsellers have focused on meaning, purpose, security and the end times, the researcher pointed out. While there have been theological views expressed in those books, very few popular books have helped people to think clearly and comprehensively about their core theology. Consequently, most born again Christians hold a confusing and inherently contradictory set of religious beliefs that go unchecked by the leaders and teachers of their faith community. 88% OF AMERICANS BELIEVE THEY ARE RIGHT WITH GODCurrently, nine out of ten adults (88%) feel accepted by God. Barna listed a pair of interesting correlations related to that self-image. First, about one-third of the individuals who feel accepted by God do not consider themselves to be deeply spiritual. Second, people are twice as likely to feel accepted by God as they are to be born again a condition that, many Protestant leaders argue, is a key reflection of Gods forgiveness and ultimate acceptance.