Getting it Right
The Quest for Righteousness
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right, for they shall be filled"
(Matthew 5:6, author's translation)
I am quite sure that you, like I, have had the disappointment of going to a store to buy an advertised special only to find that it was not available. You may also be one of those persons who has gone to a church to do some "spiritual shopping" because of what you had seen advertised only to end up very disappointed indeed.
There are a great many preachers today who promise that God will prosper everyone who exercises faith by giving money to their church or ministry. People who respond to such claims, though, find they don't get what is being advertised. Marriages remain fractured, health does not improve, children continue to be rebellious, and desires for wealth and fame remain unfulfilled.
False Ministers of Religion
Not too long ago such a preacher visited Oslo claiming to be a spiritual healer. He passed empty envelopes around the congregation inviting people to put money in them and write their names on them. If they responded generously, he promised, they would be healed when he prayed for them. They did, and they weren't. The minister left with a fat bank balance.
What is the problem here? The problem is that some so-called "ministers" and "spiritual leaders" have taken it into their hands to promote specials that God is not offering. Whilst it is true that God can do anything, He retains His right to be God and to do what is right for us, and not what we think is right for us.
There are false ministers in ever increasing numbers promising a "highway to heaven" -- instant salvation, sanctification and holiness, wealth and health for the true and faithful, miracles for those who truly believe, explosive growth in church membership for those who obey their leaders' whims. So which, if any of these offers, are we to believe? And how are we to know what to believe?
Check It Out First!
Any sensible shopper firstly checks out what is being offered in a shop before going out to buy it and a Christian should do the same. How should he do that? By checking out in the Word of God to see what is being offered. The trouble is, most people don't check and gullibly fall for the sales talk of the false religionists.
Yahweh is not guilty of false advertising. What he says holds good. He tells us quite clearly what He offers to those who will exercise faith in Him and obey His commandments -- and He offers them unconditionally. He offers the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He offers inner peace no matter what storms may assail us. He offers us the consciousness of His love and presence, and the many expressions of His character. He offers us hope, patience, endurance, and all that leads to holiness.
Sometimes, at His discretion, He offers us wealth and good health, for a particular purpose but not unconditionally. Sometimes He displays miracles at His pleasure for the benefit of those who genuinely need them. We must never fall into the error of believing that because one Christian has received a special gift (like the gift of prophecy or tongues or healing) that it is the automatic right of every Christian. Everybody has different gifts and different ministries according to the needs of those whom they are serving. The gifts are primarily for others, not ourselves to consume upon our lusts.
When we hunger and thirst for that which is right, reaching out in faith for what He offers, we will be filled (Mt.5:6). But if we hunger and thirst for that which is wrong and we are not filled, who is to blame? The ministers who offer such false things are, of course, accountable, but ultimately the responsibility is ours if we have not carefully checked God's Word.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still.
And with all who will trust and obey.
Changing a Bad Situation Round
In 2 Chronicles 29 we read of when Hezekiah became king after the godless reign of his father. The nation was living in godlessness, with the Temple shut and lying in disuse.
To reverse all that rottenness with his nation, Hezekiah first made a personal decision: he decided he was going to start doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord, not what was right in the eyes of the general concensus of the people or in his own, for what people think is right and what God thinks is right are usually two different things.
He then followed through on his decision. In the first month of his reign, he opened the doors of the Temple and repaired them. Then he invited the leaders to sanctify themselves and to get in there and clean out the filthi- ness. You see, he had concluded that the whole reason the nation's spiritual life was in a mess was that they'd simply forgotten to go regularly to the place of worship (vv.6-7); and, eventually, they had stopped going at all. That caused a chain reaction. The door closed, the light went out, and darkness prevailed. Prayer ceased, and worship was non-existent.
Hezekiah's Personal Decision
Hezekiah reversed all that by making a personal decision. Verse 10 says, "Now it is in my heart to make a commitment [covenant] with the Lord God (Yahweh-Elohim)." And then, when he shared that personal commitment with others, revival began.
Cleanse Your House!
Note that the revival began by removing all the uncleanliness from the inner part of the Temple, the Holy Place. On reading that, my heart jumped to 1 Corinthians 3:16. "Knew ye not that your body is the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you." I asked myself, "What are our nations and churches like these days? Should I, like Hezekiah, examine my own heart's temple where HE lives to see if the door of my heart is rusty? Must my nation's cleansing begin with me?"
How is the door to your temple? Is it open or shut these days? By neglect, the door of your heart can stick. Your light can go out, and leave you in the dark. Prayer stops. True worship ceases.
A Catechumen's Vision
Recently we had a visitor to Kadesh-biyqah, a catechumen from eastern Europe. Whilst here she saw her first vision from Yahweh. She saw a beautiful crystal-pure river and on the left bank where she was standing was a rock, and on that rock was a skull, representing death. To get to the right bank, which represented the Kingdom, she had to cross that lovely river by abandoning the impurities of the world. In short, she was being challenged by the Lord to get her life in order.
Revival Begins with YOU
Revival and spiritual anointing in the Church of God must begin with you -- with your personal decision to, by God's grace and with the Holy Spirit's enabling, repair the door of your temple, remove filthiness out of the Holy Place, and re-establish your worship and prayer. When your heart's door is open, God begins to make things new, to heap on the blessings and give joy.
In Hezekiah's day it took 16 days for the cleanup. You can bow your head right now and have the whole place cleaned up in 16 seconds. Remember God's promise in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Try that. It just might spread from your temple to your church and to your nation.
This page was created on 12 April 1998
Last updated on 12 April 1998
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