13 03 2017

know Jesus know peace

Christian Leaders are supposed to turn people away from their self-centered unfaithfulness to seek the heart of the one true God. But when Pastors, Teachers, Worship Leaders, Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses use God to build up their own popularity base rather than allow the Lord to promote himself through us, we are raising up one confused Church. It is not about the denomination, the version of the Bible we use, the instruments we choose to worship with, whether we sprinkle or dunk or speak in Latin or the Tongues of Angels as much it is about Jesus. Jesus is the non-negotiable focus of any faith that matters. There is no other name given to men and women by which we can be rescued other than Jesus. So as far as I am concerned, any spiritual foundation must begin and end and be filled in the middle by Jesus.

 Everybody is looking to keep the peace these days, but how can you keep something that you haven’t got? There is what I call the outside/in peace which describes the state of affairs all around us and one might say because there are no present battles on American soil, we are living in an age of peace, but I would counter by adding that this version is a compromised peace. It is peace only in name because there is no war. It is an outer peace with no guarantee of an inner peace. An outer peace with no inner peace always reveals a missing piece and that is a heart that is right with God!

When we are right with God we have peace with God and that strengthens us in such a way that it doesn’t really matter what is going on outside because everything is in proper order on the inside. Do you have peace with God? If you have opened your heart to Jesus and received his forgiveness and promise of real life, you are genuinely ready for anything! But don’t expect to taste the sweetness of holy worship where there is no wholehearted obedience.

 Do you know Jesus? Maybe I should ask, “If I asked Jesus, would he say he knows you?” Quite frankly, knowing something intellectually does not count unless that truth has really gripped your heart. Many people have a mental grasp of the doctrine of God’s grace and rule, and they could fire out the right answers in most situations, but if your heart has not welcomed and embraced what your brain claims to understand, you will fall far short of being able to behave what you declare to believe. The Apostle Peter made a bold declaration to Jesus that he would never deny him no matter whatever until the time came to put his walk where his talk boasted to be. But because Peter had not yet humbly dedicated his heart to the Lord, his body was not going to go where the Fisherman wasn’t ready yet to travel. Is there a huge gap between what you recite to follow and believe and what you really end up doing? We will forever fail to live out what we say we believe until we have fallen head over heels in love with the Jesus we are all taught to believe in. 

 How do you measure a man or woman spiritually? How do you define “Maturity in the Faith?” Gray hairs and spiritual maturity do not necessarily go hand in hand. Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean that we are getting bolder in the things of God that matter most. Our age is beyond our control, but whatever our age, our attitudes toward the Lord and life can be changed by the power of grace and a holy purpose. Spiritual growth is not measured by the calendar, and it should continue right up to the last millisecond of our life here on earth. If we aren’t constantly learning and knowing, we aren’t going to be growing. Spiritual maturity is not instantaneous and final.

It says in the Letter to the Hebrews “Let us go on to maturity,” and that implies that it is a process to make progress. When people fail to allow the in its entirety, it results in nothing more than just being another well informed individual. You might have a big head but a very small heart and it should be vise-versa.

No living thing comes to maturity instantaneously. In the attainment of intellectual maturity, there is no alternative to the student painfully working through all the pre-scribed courses. It is no different in the spiritual life. There are no shortcuts. Spiritual maturity is not automatic as a result of the mastery of scriptural teachings. The accumulation of biblical information is of immense value, but it is only as the principles of Scripture are worked out in daily obedience that spiritual growth is advanced. I know many Christians who go to four or five Bible Studies, but all of that is for naught if it is just an intellectual exercise that leaves the life unchanged.

 In the symbol of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, we see Jesus displayed as our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. We See Jesus and Jesus only! After discovering a line in Walter Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Salvation, “The first good work you will ever perform is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,” the founder of the C&MA, A.B. Simpson committed his life to “Jesus Only,” which became the anthem that also ignited an unquenchable passion in his heart to reach the lost. Simpson was a Presbyterian Minister who got booted out of his church because he refused to not live what Jesus called him to do. He ended up holding meetings in Madison Square Garden so that all men and women, no matter what they were dressed like, could come and meet Jesus.

 Somebody came by The Lighthouse the other day and offered his assessment that we don’t look much like a church. I said that I like to think of ourselves as “The Holy Rec Center.” It got me thinking about the very first Christian and Missionary Alliance Church which you can still go to in New York City. It presently houses John’s Pizzeria and it is right off Broadway. When you go in, you will notice that it still looks like a church. It looks like a church but it serves pizza. We at Lighthouse don’t look like a church but we serve Jesus. What would you rather be known for? I’ll take the latter which is what I want to do until the day that I take my last breath here which will mean my first breath with Jesus.  And by the way, we do agree with John’s Pizzeria about something. They advertise, “No Slices!” I feel the same way. You don’t want just a slice of the Savior. You want the whole Pie! It doesn’t matter how good you look if you don’t offer practically what you advertise. I may not look like much on the outside, and I might have the perfect face for radio, but I will share Jesus with you and that’s a promise, no matter what I look like!



One response

13 03 2017
Stacey M

My favorite so far! Currently our church has a interim pastor & many left because they don’t feel “moved”. There’s a few of us that like to try new ways to learn and explore. I agree all the gray in your hair doesn’t mean you know more. Find your path that Christ has for you whether you’re 6 or 76. He has a purpose for you.

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