A CURRENT NEED
A CURRENT NEEDCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I think the greatest need in the Christian churches of our day is to hear from the Lord Jesus. I guess I have written a lot about listening to Jesus and the need to be led by the Spirit. The Christian institutions appear to be filled with retreats and seminars of all sorts. No doubt these are helpful, but I think we need to hear from the Lord Jesus.
I realize God is moving forward in His program of redemption, of reconciling man to God. We have been at Pentecost and now it is time to move forward to the Day of Atonement, that is, to the confessing and renouncing of our sins.
I think the constant emphasis on evangelism, the so-called "passion for souls" which I do not see in the Scripture, may be coming in part from Jesus; but I think much of it is coming from the mind and ambitions of people.
Most of the New Testament is about the personal growth of the believers, not about getting souls saved.
Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
The idea of the Christian people coming to the full knowledge of Christ is presented in many different ways, such as in the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold growth of the Word; and the scripture in Romans that tells us of our being conformed to the image of Christ that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers.
But little is said about all the Christians going out and "saving souls" or having a "passion for souls."
We see our nation, America, sliding downhill into moral filth, while the churches are not emphasizing the maturing of the believers. I see a direct relationship here. The Christians are not being the light of the world by their good works, so secular America is morally blind.
Still the cry is for the baby Christians to go out and bring in more baby Christians who then are to go out and bring in more baby Christians.
Am I incorrect in saying that we need to bring our teaching in line with the emphases of the New Testament?
No real change is going to occur until at least some of the Christian leaders turn away from the endless seminars and listen to what Jesus is saying. I believe the Lord will not be emphasizing the need to get the world saved but to get the Christians saved. By that I mean, delivered from worldliness, the lusts of the flesh and spirit, and self-will.
I dare say that if the churches become the moral light of the world, people will be moved on by the Spirit of God and truly receive Christ. When we emphasize evangelism, we may win many converts to our Statement of Faith. However, when we emphasize taking up our cross of deferred desires and following Jesus moment by moment every day, people will come and embrace the Master.
It is the Father's responsibility to bring people to Jesus. It is not our responsibility, unless God directs us as an individual to do the work of an evangelist.
Am I saying that we should not invite sinners to repent and come to Christ? I am not saying that at all! What I am saying is we need to hear from the Lord what He wants. The current need is to hear from Jesus, and not assume He desires us to go forth and "heal a lost and dying world."
Christ is concerned about His Church, the Bride of the Lamb. The time for the world-wide revival described in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah has not arrived as yet. But it shall come when we are ready, and not until.
How frustrating would it be for a foreman who was charged with developing a plot of land to see a carpenter building a house in the wrong place! What if the foreman went to the carpenter to tell him he was building in the wrong place, and the carpenter could not hear the foreman because he was so busy framing the house.
I think it is that way today. We may not be building where we should be because we are not listening to the Foreman. Rather, the carpenters have a seminar and chat their way to truth.
"But the Bible says we are to go into all the world and build churches."
Did Christ say that to you personally?
No, but the Bible says so and the pastor says so.
Did Jesus continually preach to His listeners that they were to go into all the world and build churches; or did He speak concerning the mysteries of the Kingdom of God?
In any case, the Bible does not give us personal directions. The Bible warns us about the need to live a holy, righteous life. But personal directions are given to us personally by the Lord. We are not to assume what He wants us to do. We are to ask Him what He wants us to do, and then follow Him as He guides us.
Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
If you will read the Book of Acts you will see that the Apostles were led by the Spirit of God.
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:7)
For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city. (Acts 18:10)
Perhaps today's missionaries do follow Christ like this. But they don't talk about it. They refer to their data from their computers, or the need for money, or the need for missions. But I never once have heard a missionary say he would not have gone here, or he would have stayed there, at the direction of the Spirit of God.
Some years ago one of the most outstanding proponents of missions in America declared that a certain person was an apostle. But since that time the antics of the "apostle" demonstrated clearly that he is not of Christ. How then can we have faith in such a proponent of missions? He may believe he is hearing from the Lord and is able to ordain apostles; but the outstanding ministers who were with him at the time should have realized that something was wrong.
This leader of missions clearly was deceived.
Any one of us at any time can be deceived. Being led of the Spirit is an art, and we must be willing to make mistakes.
However, we cannot be led by the Bible. Let us suppose we have a desire to go to a certain city and "win souls" there. Will the Bible tell us that we are supposed to go there? Suppose it is another "Bithynia" and the Lord does not want us preaching the Gospel there at this time.
The Bible cannot tell us yes or no. Rather, the Bible instructs us to present our body as a living sacrifice that we may prove God's will. Proving God's will is no easy matter. It may require many years of patient waiting and much self-denial before we hear from God concerning whether we should go to that certain city and preach there.
At this time in America we soon are to have a presidential election. Numerous fine Christian leaders are rallying behind the candidate they believe will be in the best interests of our country, and who will provide the strongest moral leadership.
They are reminding us that in the early days of America, the pastors often were involved in politics.
It does not seem to me that they are asking God whom He wants elected. They do not refer to the present Word of the Lord, only to what they believe is the righteous choice.
I have gone to the Lord about this coming election to see what I should do about it. Being a pastor, I am in a position to become involved.
But when I come before the Lord He tells me not to become involved. He tells me to keep on preaching the Kingdom of God and to prepare the people for the days of moral and physical chaos that are approaching America.
Now if I were to go to the Christian leaders who now are uniting to decide the election in the direction they believe to be most godly and most beneficial to our country; and I were to tell them that Jesus had told me to stay out of it and keep preaching the Kingdom and preparing the congregation to stand firm in Jesus during the time of trouble, how do you think they would react to me?
Would they say, "Keep on listening to Jesus, Brother. He is the only One who knows which candidate should win the election?" Or would they laugh me to scorn as a weak person who was afraid to come out from behind the pulpit?
If your answer is that they would laugh me to scorn, then you are saying that one or the other of us is not hearing from the Lord. Isn't that true?
It is my opinion they would laugh be to scorn as being a coward who is not willing to fight for what is right.
I am not moved by their arguments!
Do you remember how the people opposed Jeremiah when he told them to surrender to the Babylonians? Jeremiah was right and everyone else was ignorant of God's will. Jeremiah was hearing from the Lord. The king and his counselors were not hearing from the Lord.
I do not claim to be a Jeremiah or a prophet. I have been deceived on a few occasions. I have learned from my mistakes and am extremely cautious when I think I have heard from the Lord. As far as I can tell, I am more accurate now than when I first endeavored to follow the Spirit of God.
I was in Bible school in 1948, having been a Christian for about three years. A distinguished Bible teacher of good reputation was invited by our pastor to come and minister to us.
Brother Oliver Ellenwood had some charts that portrayed the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the Seven Feasts of Israel.
I had heard of the Tabernacle but I never had heard of the seven feasts.
On one occasion at that time the Lord spoke to me. He said, "the Day of Atonement (the sixth feast of the Lord) will be fulfilled as I bring judgment on My churches." These were not the exact words, but this was the substance.
I went to Brother Ellenwood and told him what I thought the Lord had said. As I remember, he listened very carefully and weighed my words. He did not comment on them, as I remember.
Well, I have been preaching the seven feasts of the Lord since that time. It is only lately that I have begun to see the breadth of what Christ had spoken to me.
The Day of Atonement is the time when man is reconciled to God. I believe it has begun today and will extend possibly to eternity, because Isaiah says the Kingdom of Christ will be expanding forever.
Our response to this step in the program of redemption is to confess the areas of spiritual darkness that are in us as the Spirit points them out to us. Then we are to renounce them, declaring we want nothing more to do with such behavior for eternity. It is an eternal judgment against Satan.
I have seen a clear confirmation of what was spoken to me more than sixty years ago, and so I have a little confidence in what I believe I am hearing from Christ.
As I said, I am not hearing from Jesus about getting involved in politics. I am teaching our congregation how to serve Jesus during the days of chaos that are ahead for us in America.
The Spirit is telling me that much blood will be shed. He is telling me that Divine judgment will be exercised on America until it no longer is a world leader but a third-class nation. We are going to be brought low because of the practice of abortion-on-demand, homosexual behavior, making money the national god, and turning away from Jesus and the Bible.
The current need today is for God's people to listen to Him instead of charging off in all directions doing what they believe to be God's will when they haven't heard from God.
The same is true for Israel, the land of the Prophets. They badly need a Prophet who will guide them, rather than America and the United Nations.
People, we need to hear from the Lord and quit guessing and assuming what His desires are!
"See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:16,17)