11. SOME REFUSE GOOD FOOD, AND ABUSE ITS SERVERS
Down through the ages, God has shown us that some will refuse to hear the Word of the Lord. In the days of Zechariah, we read:
"But they refused to hearken and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore, come a great wrath from the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, it is come to pass, that as he cried they would not hear, saith the Lord of Hosts."
It is not 'attitude' that makes one speak of this problem, it is God speaking though His Word, and some will hear His call, some will preach about it, and others may ignore, or attack those who speak out about it.
They killed Zechariah as he walked into the Temple. Where that murder happened was a place where only the priesthood was allowed, so one of the priests killed Zechariah. Today, the so called religious ones do not like messages like Zechariah gave. Today they resort to false accusations, twisted ideas, false charges, mocking, and. Well, all one has to do is find where this message is being preached and see the attacks that come because of it.
Some people in Christianity today have made their minds as a hard stone, shutting out the Word of the Lord. The message of the teachers in the Bible has been ignored, not heard, or rejected by those to whom it is given. People today hear so much, and so much of what they listen to is trash. This thread is designed to point out bluntly that those who spend long hours in magazines, video games, sports pages and the like, but have no time for Scripture, or want all their sermons as long as a fortune cookie fortune, have a problem, a spiritual problem. That is not 'condescension, that is fact, supported by Scripture.
Their minds are "waxed gross", i.e. "made fat" with these avocations, these distractions from God's Word, the debates on meaningless topics, these attacks on anyone who preaches a messages that ends with 'repent'.
When the truth is spoken by the Lord, through the Word, or through the ministers of God, or through the Spirit, the voice is not heard. How do I know?
"And He said, God and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and be healed."
Jesus agreed with Isaiah, and validated this message given from Isaiah. Jesus quoted it and applied it to the people of His day.
"Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because they - seeing, see not, and hearing - hear not. Neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, who 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 (Greek = pachuno = make fat, stupid, insensible), 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."
Isaiah said it, Jesus repeated it, this thread is likewise repeating it... and some, no many here, are saying 'amen' to it... There are many who are not denying that we need to get into the meat of the Word, let the Spirit teach some vital lessons from the Book He authored, before the rapture removes us from where we are to be doing God's work.
The disciples were warned often that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to be betrayed, crucified, and would then rise again the third day. Yet, they could not understand what the Lord was telling them. They heard the message, but did not perceive what was being told to them. Their minds were too full of the false expectations of a Messiah. They wanted Christ to overthrow the Romans and begin a new kingdom with Him as King.
Today, we often find ears that cannot hear. This is very hard on those with the ministry of teaching. It frustrates and needs to be recognized as not the fault of the teacher, nor of their message, but it is the fault of the hearers.
When Jesus preached that they would "destroy this temple, and He would raise it up in three days...", they heard His message, but thought He meant the earthly Temple structure in Jerusalem. They did not understand that He meant His body. Many were not into the meat of the Word, not having ears to hear, not having a mind capable of understanding those deeper truths...
When Jesus told them that He was the "manna" sent from heaven, and if they wanted eternal life, they must eat of Him, they took Him literally, and many of His disciples left, and never followed Him again. Those thousands who ate of the broken bread and fishes the day before, left... because they could not understand a deeper message from Jesus. They did not truly "hear" Him.
Jesus, Moses, and Elijah spoke on the mount of transfiguration about what was about to happen in Jerusalem. Peter, James, and John were there, hearing part of the discussion, but Peter did not truly hear, for he wanted to stay there, build three temples, and let everyone come up there to worship Jesus. Why could he not comprehend the message being spoken? He had his ears too full of other things, too tired to pay attention.
Do not worry about what others think. Do not look to me to be the one to tell you the meat things God wants you to learn. I am only here to wake up a few to the fact that the Holy Spirit has a school that is designed to give each of us lessons beyond the pablum level, and lessons that we will need in these last days.
Time is short before Jesus comes. The devils are in the midst of working out the details they think will give them victory. This is a spiritual battle, we have One Leader, in Jesus, but some are not even paying attention. But many of you are... and that is great !
In preaching the meat of the Word of God, there will be attackers, for they do not like the message.
Have you ever been criticized? falsely accused? verbally attacked?
Those are silly questions, for most all have been. Yes, probably all of us have been. Sometimes, other people believe the attackers. Some believed the attackers of Jesus. Some believed the attackers of prophets, preachers, witnesses of the Bible times.
Revelation 2:10 (KJV)
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
James 1:12 (KJV)
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
The hearers can become very adamant against the message that is spiritual meat.
Joseph preached what he was shown in dreams, and was sold into slavery by his brothers.
Moses was accused of bringing the people out into the desert to die.
Stephen was stoned.
Paul was shunned, refused to be heard by the church in Jerusalem.
Job was told to curse God and die by his wife.
The attacks against those who speak forth a meat message are still numerous.
There is a story about a young boy, who after the church service, told the preacher of the church: "When I grow up, I am going to give you some money.’ The preacher asked, ‘Why?’ The boy answered: ‘My daddy says you are the poorest preacher we have ever had.’
The comments from others do hurt, do sting.
One can do their best, and still there will be harsh, hurtful comments.
Jesus was the epitome of a preacher. Yet, they misquoted His sermons, they lied about Him, questioned every decision He made. One criticism that seems to some to be valid, is Jesus’ preaching to Judas. Three years Judas heard Jesus’ preaching, and it did not change him. Judas was an apostle, ordained to preach, ordained to heal, baptized others, had eternal life. (Mark 3:13-19, John 4:1-2, 17:2-12)
Jesus even knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him.
John 6:64 (KJV)
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
This friend of Jesus was there to be preached to, there with Jesus knowing what his failure would be.
How could the preaching of Jesus not bring a change to Judas? Were the sermons of Jesus ineffective? Of course the sermons of Jesus were better than anyone else’s ever. But, the best of sermons, with the gift of discernment, word of wisdom, etc active in them, still God allows mankind to resist the rhema words.
Judas failed in spite of the sermons, not because of them.
We find many who will criticize a sermon for lack of results.
Jesus’ sermons to Judas had lack of good results. Yet, it was not Jesus that was to blame. Many preachers, pray, study, and preach up a storm, and still feel like they failed, and are criticized as though they failed.
Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands always before eating. Did not Jesus preach to them of the customs. Were His sermons lacking? They attacked Jesus for the manners of the disciples. Most of us today wash our hands before meals. We consider it proper. Jesus’ sermons, His preaching, did not discipline the disciples to all that society thought proper. His hearers were not perfect. The critics attacked Him for that.
Jesus’ disciples picked grains along the pathway to eat, on the Sabbath. The Lord dismissed that as inconsequential, for He said, ‘the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’ The law was not to punish the hungry, the purpose of the Sabbath was to illustrate the spiritual rest to be found in Jesus. Jesus went by the real intent of the law, not man’s interpretation. Jesus saw the high principle of that rule, and the pictorial use of it.
Many listen to sermons and criticize poorly chosen words, bad grammar, too short, too long, too loud, too soft. The message gets rejected for reasons other than for heresy, or for true errors.
The critics are predictable. They have an agenda, i.e. to find fault. It is their goal, their hope, their chosen profession. They gain a feeling of import, a feeling of superiority when they can criticize the sermon.
A preacher was trying hard to make his sermon comprehendible, and said,
‘That should have been as plain as A B C.’ ‘ Yes’, replied another, ‘but your hearers are D E F.’
And yes, some refuse any message of 'meat' and prefer a poison message... they are 'D E F' to many messages.