Saturday, March 1, 2014
Remember the exuberance and excitement you had when you first got saved? Everything looked brand new; it seemed as if you never really noticed the beauty of creation all around you. You just knew that if people only understood the truth that Jesus as Lord God had died to set them free from sin & bondage, they would all come running. Who wouldn't want to be free? Who wouldn't want to be delivered? Who wouldn't want to be loved and accepted in the Beloved? Apparently a lot of folks.
A number of believers mistakenly believe that if they tell people Truth, then the people will turn to Christ. They are then unprepared for the rejection and contempt which often comes their way when they do. They do not understand that most people really do not want Christ at all; they want their own way. They want to do what they want to do...without anyone saying anything about it.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." John 3:16-21
The old man hates Christ and prefers darkness. Why? Because darkness hides his dirty deeds; it keeps his sin from being revealed and reproved. Most people just want a cover for sin.
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin." John 15:22
for a season" (Luke 4:13). Satan will sift, trying to see if we will accept anything else in place of Christ.
How much do you really want that spouse, that job, that money, that house, etc.? Are you willing to lie for it? Steal for it? Fornicate for it? Or maybe you don't commit some overt sin, but you just decide to take matters into your own hands instead of waiting on the Lord. Even a good deed done in the flesh apart from God is sin (Romans 14:23).
What idols are there in our souls which compete for our attention, time, devotion? Until Jesus becomes our heart's sole desire, then we will be double-minded and unstable. Unless we love Jesus above all else - including ourselves - then we don't love Him at all.
Scriptures indicate that we can walk with Jesus for a while, but then come to a point were we turn back from Him and walk with Him no more (John 6:66). Such doesn't mean necessarily that we disavow Christ publicly, but we can deceive ourselves, pretending that religious fervor makes up for us seeking our own ways vs. God's ways. We will engage in a lot of church activity as a substitute for obedience to God's word. Yet God is not fooled or mocked and calls such persons "workers of iniquity" (Matthew 7:23)
Is there within "the brethren" an "evil heart of unbelief" leading us to depart from God (Hebrews 3:12) or will we be of those who continue on in the faith "unto the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:39)? Will we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind (Mark 12:30) or will our love grow cold causing us to leave our first love (Matthew 24:12; Revelation 2:4)?
Understanding that not everyone wants Christ - and even that people may want Him today, but not tomorrow - shows you why we should never strive about the Gospel (II Timothy 2:24). It removes all effort on our part to make people receive Truth. We are simply witnesses. We are called to proclaim the Truth. However, it is God's Spirit which will open the person's eyes to truth...based on the condition of their heart. Are they really seeking after righteousness? Then they shall find it (Matthew 5:6). Do they just want to continue in sin? Then they will remain blind to truth until they repent (Ephesians 4:17-20; II Peter 1:9).
The truths of God are not too hard, ambiguous, or irrelevant. It just boils down to whether a person is through with sin or not. When I first got saved, I used to spend a lot of time trying to get people to understand the truth. You point something out in God's word that is plainly stated, and they still claim not to perceive it. How is it, for example, that Scripture can repeatedly say that a bishop/overseer/elder MUST be the husband of one wife, and yet someone still defend female pastors? The answer is sin.
It is by the perfect design of God Almighty that only those who want to be freed from sin can walk in His truth. As long as there is any part of your soul that still wants to do things your way, then you will not see Truth. Knowing this cuts down on the need for a whole lot of talking with folks...even though those still in covenant with sin will want to argue to the death about it.
"And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." Matthew 13:10-15
"To them it is not given" to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Some people God will not permit to know His truths.
But wait a minute! Doesn't God want everyone to be saved? Absolutely! However, there are conditions which must be met for salvation. This is why "Repent!" is the first word of the Gospel. We must love light more than darkness. We must want freedom from sin instead of a cover for sin.
To whom is it not given? To those who cater to their fattened hearts (full of their own lusts) by closing their eyes to God's words so that they will not be converted. Choose to indulge your own lusts instead of receiving God's word, and you will not only be blind to God's truth, but any understanding you currently have will eventually be taken away.
When you go out to proclaim the good news, know that not everyone wants Jesus...and as you go, examine yourself to ensure that He is all you want.