He barged into my office without a knock and without an apology. I could see he was deeply troubled in soul but nothing on his face gave that away. I had not seen this old acquaintance in quite some time. Instantly I stopped typing.
“Just came by to say hello, David.”
“Hello. How are you?”
“Good… Just fine…Happy belated Easter. You don’t celebrate Easter do you? You don’t strike me as the type of Christian who would…”
Ignoring the question, I was breaking for him now. I felt his heart and Dad opened up to me Henry’s thoughts and fears and some of his darkest issues to me in that instant.
“What’s wrong, Henry?” I replied meekly.
“You know I don’t really believe in God… but I know He hears you and answers your prayers. I need you to pray for my dying brother. Pray that he lives.”
Another Easter come and gone. Another year we collect the data and post our results. How many conversions? How many answered the altar call? How “successful” was our “program” this year?
I rarely follow social media. This morning however, I was troubled as I read the numerous posts from the bride of Christ extolling those who participated in their local Resurrection Day sermons. What grieved me more than this though, was all the varied forms of exhortation I read in regard to not getting discouraged at the “lack” of results… Next year will be better… perhaps.
Are the traditions of man so ingrained in us over the traditions of Christ that we have long ago ceased realizing the Power of the Living Resurrection abides in us daily? Do we find anywhere in scripture where the church is told to prepare for a day in which to stir up the witness of the Holy Spirit? We are created for good works that will be an outflow of our union with Him… Moment by moment. Not year by year. Does the church not realize that if we are living in fellowship with Him it is simply impossible to exalt a certain day?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (I Peter 1:3)
The church has forgotten that if we live the life of Christ, we have no need to cajole the lost to come hear a sermon. The sermon is already inside all of us.
Please- I beg you. Read the book of Acts. Tell me, when the first century church… who were just getting started… would have had time to hold an Easter sermon? I submit the scriptures make it very clear they were living the resurrection. What is now a once a year observance was at one time a moment by moment encounter with the Holy Spirit that led people to the Lord, daily… not yearly. Nor did it come via a Bishop acting as an Evangelist delivering a sermon before a meeting of mixed believers and “lost.”
Salvation came through the daily living witness of the pentecostal church of Jesus Christ.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deut 4:2)
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Col 2:8)
Let me clarify something that has been long forgotten in many circles of fellowship. The Holy Spirit does not comfort us in our carnal mind. He is the great Comforter that partners only with the Mind of Christ. He cannot partner with death. The Word makes it very clear He resists those who contend with His Word. The Kingdom is within the body of Christ. Every one of us is called to stand before the fire of His presence. Have we swapped that indescribable privilege of communion restored… with religion?
We are righteous, holy, without blame, spotless, sanctified and loved fully. (2 Cor 5:21, Col 1:19-22, 2 Cor 5:17, Eph 1:6, Heb 10:10)
It is time for the Bride to live relationally
a walk that reflects what the torture of the cross gave us positionally.
We are righteous in His eyes already. Do we live this way? We are blameless before Him. Do we think this way? We are holy in His eyes. Do we walk this way? We are living beneath who we truly are. We cannot accomplish this without deep union.
This is not about “works.” Works leads to more dead religion.
This is about outflow.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Prov 4:23)
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,” (Luke 6:45)
This is about forsaking the convenience of dead religion and seeking to know Him and Him alone. Everything has a cost. Everything grown comes from seeds. Planting seeds takes work both for His kingdom and anything… not.. of His kingdom realm. We work at it every day. We say we want to hear His voice. We want to visit His throne-room. We desire to be used of Him.
But… what are we really sowing to? How many of us, if we are really honest, are quite comfortable with the confines and structure of born-again religion? In what areas are we really submitting to the traditions of man and not the life of Christ?
It’s not hard to agree to pray for those to come to accept Christ on Sunday. That is pretty darn easy, isn’t it? Yes.. it is. How difficult is it to lay hands on a stranger the day after Easter while gassing up on your way to work?
Now the question to ask ourselves is… Why is this so?
When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John… So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)
Peter and John were not on their way to Revival. Nor were they on there way to heal this man. They were on their way to meeting. This stranger got in their way. We can only freely give what churns violently inside us. What areas of the Lord are we moving in more than last month? Last year? 5 years ago? I am not talking about theology. These Christians didn’t even have a bible yet. They had Jesus Christ. They lived Jesus Christ. They gave the life of the Resurrection everywhere they went. It was freely flowing.
We have replaced the life of Christ with theology and doctrines, memorization, and a checklist to make ourselves feel respected by others and in our own eyes.
Father-God is calling us home. He is calling us to Him. Live the resurrection. Find out who lives inside you. You will not get closer to God going to Church. The scriptures tell us that fellowship was meant to cultivate the gifts within every one of us and to minister to one another. The Corinthian church was a wonderful and dreadful example of this for us. Gifts do not equate to maturity. Hearing a sermon does not mature us. Intimacy in Christ does this. Prayer time does this. Denying the desires of the dead man and living for the Lord and for what is on His heart… This is how we draw closer to His heart and go deeper into His kingdom.
The scriptures tell us in the last days a great falling away will occur.
It’s already upon us in this nation
and we have not even entered into persecution yet.
The Word also tells us the Love of many will grow cold. Here is a gentle wake-up call: only those who have Christ have true Love… this is a prophetic word spoken by Jesus about the church that will be fulfilled… but to what degree, will depend on us.
Disciples of theology… or disciples of Christ?
Imitators of religion… or imitators of Christ?
Theology is not a relationship. Theology is the word of God rightly divided that provides a stable platform from which we draw to the realm of the spirit in order to live, breath and have our being In Christ alone.
Please hear His heart. I am not saying to stop enjoying a tradition. But how we live day by day is what our Savior died for and is interested in. He is longing for us to enter into such intimacy and union that the result is we cannot but release the kingdom upon all those around us. Afraid of being “weird”? Was Jesus weird? Did it look weird when Peter healed the beggar?
Bottom line: if we are looking to a day to win souls… the church has drifted from the faith and the Power of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is not a day. It’s a relationship we seek and walk out.
Religion breeds weirdness. Relationship breeds Christ. Please… Let us stop confusing the two.
He is calling us. He is waiting. His lost are waiting. They cannot wait another year to hear the gospel. The world needs to see it in power through us every day. As always, first things first…
Seek His face. Seek His Love. Seek Him alone.
“No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.” (Jer 31:34 & Heb 8:11)
Happy belated Easter all…. let us live it every second as we learn to draw into Him every moment of our lives.