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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : "Is their NOT a Balm in Gilead" ?

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Joined: 2005/3/31
Posts: 419
Son Of Thunder i come from a land down under, due south at the bottom of your work globes

 "Is their NOT a Balm in Gilead" ?

Personally speaking i don't have a favourite book of the Bible! Out of the 66 books written and considered to be the full cannon of COMPLETED scripture i would have to say i don't have a stand-out book or favourite as such. But at the same time, if you were to ask me which O.T book i often read or GRAVITATE TOWARDS - then the answer to your question would be that i would more than likely say "the book of Jeremiah" And I don't why? or fully understand the reasons for this. Suffice to say that in part i probably identify with its writing style! and somewhat to the personality of the author. ( Not that i place myself in that league or company though )

Now Most of us familiar with the text from Jeremiah chapter eight and verse 22 where he asks the pertinent question "Is their NO balm in Gilead"? And is there no physician there? He goes on to say further: Why then is NOT the health of the daughter of my people recovered? He the prophet asks (3) very lucid questions and in doing so becomes entrenched and overwhelmed with emotion and tears - and reason being? because of the slain of the daughter of my people Israel ( the Jews )

Jeremiah as most of us are aware is known to us as "the weeping prophet" - but over here in Jeremiah chapter nine we find the prophet desires that his eyes would become a fountain of tears and (that he would go from unmoved and dried eyed) to that of stirred and intense emotion! regarding the state of his nation and the plight of her people - the Jews.

But first lets back-up briefy and lay some foundations by asking - what then is a balm? Well Doubltless it is something that soothes and brings relief! It would be curative, and set in motion the wheels of healing and recovery.

So here we have a picture of the prophet using graphic terminology by way of allegory to represent Israel's current position of both turmoil and trouble. Jeremiah weeps and laments over her somewhat precarious position! and fully enters into her sufferings - he goes on to say: He is black with astonishment and he is hurt over the state of her sins and iniquities! (All true prophets will enter into hurts and sufferings - and all true prophets will be broken and contrite men who are burdened with the burden of the Lord - and not this lightness you see in the pulpits today! cracking jokes and given to jesting and comedy routines ... For the HURT of the daughter of of my people am i hurt" - the prophet laments!

But if we could back up for just a minute to a previous passage in the text we find a famous verse which is a well known and used much in evangelical circles and sermons down through the ages " The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" What a predicament to face!

You see God often withdrew both his presence and his blessing from his people (the jews) when they provoked him - going after other gods or serving graven images and/or being led away by divers vanities. Etcetera

This left them wide open to many things such as foreign invading armies and/or nations that came to oppressed and rule them. Not to mention falling into the hands of oppressive government and dictator leaders (like the likes) of king ahab and nebuchadnezzer. You see: God had warned them umpteenth times by the man of God Moses that many a curse would come on them and overtake them if they broke covenant with the holy one of Israel and/or - failed to keep his law and his statutes! If they forsook his covenant and transgressed his laws. Then could expect captivity, disease, tyranny and even oppression ... until such a time again as they repented and got back on the straight and narrow. In fact if they did go after other gods then God told them plainly that he would turn his back on them. Which was very much the case and proven to be true in daniels time! when he the prophet came to the realization that the jews were under seige and in captivity due to their iniquities and sins! He goes on to say that he discovered by books how the prophet Jeremiah had already foretold of such events - and of their captivity to king nebuchadnezzar. And that it was all there in black and white for anybody both to read and to see.

In fact: Israel repeatedly spurned God's law and tempted the holy of israel! And predictably as a result of this, the curse of the law fell on them! For failure to observe all that God had commanded and for forsaking the Living and true God See (Galations 3:10)

Now incidently the prophet mentions this thing of a balm in (2) other places in his writings and they are found in Jer 46:11 and Jer 51:8 And as we previously stated and took note of... balms were curative and aided and abeted the whole healing process. But here the prophet in the language of the prophets and in typical fashion of (the writings of the prophets) uses graphic and urgent tones to convey his message and to enforce truth!

So having laid somewhat of a foundation for todays topic then can we relate this word to modern times? or to the contemporary church? and in the process remain both contextual and relevant to the present church age?

Knowing that for the "most part" what was spoken and uttered by the prophet was applicable to that generation of believer (mostly) - and for that current dispensation of time.

In order to answer that question we need to understand this dynamic in scripture? and that is - these things happened to them for ensamples and for our learning and admonition. And that all scripture is given for PROFIT and for INSTRUCTION in righteousness . So even though what was written was penned many thousands of years ago! However it's relevantcy to this day (still stands the test of time) and to a generation that can glean much from its pages (Amen)!

So having said all that thus far: by way of introduction - how tcan we tie all the loose ends together and put it into 21st century context and still ask the same question " Is there no balm in Gilead"??

By this which i now submit to you: And by the reader giving careful consideration to the following things that i outline...

There is no balm in Gilead when we:

#1. Teach and preach a "Crossless Pentecost"
Somebody once taught On a christless pentecost many decades Ago - HOWEVER without minimizing or diminishing that word which was delivered back in the eighties! I want o suggest to you that not only do we have a Christless pentecost - but we are spawning and breeding a new generation of believer that knows nothing ABOUT A CROSS or bearing A cross for that matter....indeed we are spawning a breed of christian that is told they can everything and yet not give up anything! Yet Jesus made the demand of discipleship very clear - that unless a man forsakes all that he has and takes up his cross ...then he cannot be my disciple. Sounds very absolute doesn't it? and it is! But Sadly "easy believism" has it throngs and tentacles firmly wrapped around mainline evangelical circles and is not letting go easily!
That is why a man or woman who is a well known celebrity or hollywood star or sporting icon can rise up and say they are " christians" and yet continue on in the same profession and see no contradiction in what they are doing whatsoever Now that truly is a "no brainer" And There is no balm in gilead when we have A SITUATION (or) a generation of believers that is come to be known as the generation of crossless christians!Spawning in its wake a "crossless pentecost" and A continuing saga of sowing more tares into the kingdom ( dare i say what i just did? - i just did ) I think we are far too generous these days in whom we claim as christians or say are christians!!

Truly There is no balm in Gilead when:

When the church follows so called marketing gurus or so called church market surveys in order to satisfy you (the consumer) who occupy the pew. When our leaders are concerned with what works and what doesn't work - based on market research and market surveys....then know of a truth that church is selling out and has become emergent and seeker friendly! and pre-occupies in meeting "the felt needs" of the the church and the greater community as a whole. When our leaders and shepherds tell us - things have changed and we dont do church like that anymore - and old paths are forsaken for a new paridigm sift and change over into modernism and to the "felt needs" of the churched and unchurched alike. And when purpose driven becomes nothing more than market driven - and when the definition of the church bcomes the definition of a church as a " business" - instead of a living vital functioning body and organism with many members and parts which are all fitted and framed together into ONE body - with Christ As the head! Then truly there remains no balm in gilead.

Truly there is no bALM IN GILEAD WHEN:

THE LOST MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE IS SUPERCEDED BY A SEEKER SENSITIVE APPROACH INSTEAD: Whilst there is some truth to the fact we should be sensitive in our approach to the unconverted and the unchurched out there - however to preach the gospel in a way that ceases to warn men of his lost state and his need for repentance is to only preach (half a gospel) and risk sowing tares into God's kingdom. No one has ever been truly converted to Christ that didn't know "true repentance" first: The command to know repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus christ is Imperitive and a mandate to the church to carry into an unsaved world! Jesus himself began his ministry by saying to the masses "that unless you repent you shall all likewise perish" and john the baptist preached the same thing telling them - that in no way would he baptize any ...until and unless ...he saw evidence of "fruits of repentance"...Again it'a all there in black and white for anybody to read! and to them who desire to walk in truth! These men didn't pussy foot around they told it straight and pulled no punches! Now some would appeal to the woman AT THE WELL saying that JESUS WAS SENSITIVE AND DID NOT GO IN HARD .... this is true and a veritable good point that seeker sensitive advocates make...however let us consider a few brief points from this account. Whilst Jesus was gentle and sensitive ( which he was) nevertheless he still exposed her past and her present sin. He both identified and put his finger on her sin! He also did not hide who he was to the woman! That he was Jesus the Christ. He didn't think friendship first and if i bump into her again somwehere down the track i will witness to her next time ( next time might be to late by then ). Jesus did not hide his light under a bushel of (friendship first philosophy) He told her plainly "I am he" - I am the Christ that should come into the world. So whilst to some degree i acknowledge the point that the servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all men! the flipside to this is - all the apostles preached repentance and did not cease to preach and to warn men that it was a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men! paul himself reasoned with felix of 3 things righteousness, temperance, and of jugment to come. He didn't pussyfoot around being seeker sensitive and social friendly...
So truly there cannot be a balm in gilead if the contemporary church ceases to preach or loses sight of the biblical message of repentance!

There truly is no balm in gilead if we Teach:

#4. A TRIAL-LESS CHRISTIANITY OF PROSPERITY! Today it has become popular to interpret the passage of 3John 2 only in terms of money, lucre, success and of possession of earthly goods.
Yet many passages of scripture talk about prosperity in terms of having a prosperous journey or of a prosperous events and no renumeration value is attached into the clause or definition whatsoever (hmmm). Therefore to reduce or narrow its meaning to only finances is to do 3 john 2 a huge dis-service and simply put iis handling the word of God deceitfully! God is interested in all aspects of our walk being prosperous in the will-of-God and not solely that of lucre!

Timothty was told to endure hardness as a good soldier of christ and was informed if we suffer with him (christ) we shall also reign with him....paul did not say in philippians that i might know him and the power of his resurrection only...but went on to say also that i might enter into the fellowship of his sufferings! But tribulation and suffering have become dirty words in mainstream circles sadly. And one is often maligned and reproached and said to be out of he will of God if they know suffering - or are sick?

Hmmm. tell that to Job and to all the other saints who wandered about in sheepskins and in caves and in deserts and in nakedness - and yet were billed as heroes and heroines of the faith!

And not people or saints who were lacking in faith

Truly there is no balm in gilead when we contend tribulation is a curse to be shunned and avoided at all costs and those that know tribulation must be walking in disobedeience ... tell that to the author of the book of acts...who said we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven....and tell that to the church at thessalonica who were told by the apostle that their sufferings and trials were things that made them to be counted worthy of the kingdsom of God for which they suffered! and tell that to the apostle peter who inform us that trials are more precious than gold and silver refined in the fire! Yea The furnace of affliction though not pleasant builds endurance, patience, and character! knowing this that the trial of your faith makes you entire, complete, and lacking in nothing...trials instill godly character and virtue. However word of faith teachers teach the opposite and bring confusion to the unlearned and gullible! truly there is no balm in gilead if we listen to false teachers who present and represent that of another Gospel and ANOTHER JESUS...FROM SUCH TURN AWAY!

There is no balm in Gilead when we have:
Itching ears that turn away from the truth! The apostle paul uttered these words prophetically speaking of a last day generation which would NOT endure even ( sound doctrine ) but would instead heap to themselves teachers - having itching ears and would turn away from the truth. Shepherds today will only allow certain teachers and preachers to stand in their platforms who meet a certain criterior and standard ... which on face value sounds good! And If it were but a matter of genuine watching and over-sight then we would applaud such diligence care and protectiveness! However paul warned of another kind of selection process - in the church which would only permit certain teachers that scratch ears to the satisfying of there own (ear lust)

Again the prophet Jeremiah brought it on home when he said these words " the prophets prophesy falsely and my people love to have it so ( whoa ) my people love to have it so...

Jeremiah spoke of truth being fallen in the streets and paul spoke of itching ears that turned away from the truth!! Sometimes ive miused to myself that some churches might as well have a big neon sign above there door posts that reads " no negative preaching is allowed in this sanctuary...just positive preaching that wins friends and influences people" ( thank you )

Now whilst im being a tad facious nevertheless the scriptures have foretold of such a time as this! when they will no longer endure (sound doctrine) If you preach holiness and seperation and reprove, rebuke and exhort and challenge people to live clean and holy before God and to walk in the fear and admonition of the Lord...the people push back on it - and say ... thats not the message of the day!! Well if we wanted to im sure we could all preach and focus on faith and prosperity, health and healing, deliverance and authority, dominion and reigning in life! But then we would not have a gospel that proclaims the whole counsel of God ...only the good bits and the parts that make us feel good. Ive personally started a new message that is entitled " burning hearts or itching ears "??
Jesus preached in a way that the disciples communed amongst themselves afterwards saying: Did not our hearts burn within us as he opened up the scriptures and expounded them unto us. I don't know about you but i personally want to be on the side of truth and have a heart that is burning within me!!

Finally in closing: The prophet Jeremiah said many things to his generation - yea everything from prophets who prophesied in Baal - to priests and pastors who transgressed the law - to a nation and people of God who forsook the living waters and hewed them out broken cisterns that could hold no water! No wonder the prophets weren't popular and were often imprisoned and stoned - and many martyred! But someone has to stand up and be a voice today and one crying in the wilderness! and someone has to speak up for the truth and someone has to be salt and light in the world and to a generation that only wants to be mollie coddled, comforted and pampered.
Friends what we need is not more innovation and fancy elaborate sound systems and more theatre and dance... nor do we need more marketing gurus that lead the way with their market research and analysis data on how to reach the unchurched and how to become more seeker sensitive! Friends what i submit to you in closing is what we need is - "A heaven sent holy Ghost rushing mighty wind that sweeps OUT all this dead wood and dead debris and brings DIVINE quickening LIFE to dead bones that sees them live again!! And if i can borrow a line from senator Obama in his inspiring acceptance speech...don't say we can't...rather say "yes we can" And to all the faithful remnant out there and the truly converted i persoanlly thank you for your time and patience in reading this rather long and lengthy article...

God bless all: in God the father and in his son the Lord Jesus Christ (Amen!) marantantha...

Bro Stephen

 2008/11/12 21:36Profile

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