20. INSISTING AND PROTESTING THE RIGHT MESSAGE
It is a shame that some so called 'saints' ... ain't... This thread is like 'pablum' for the babes in Christ... however, some are not even 'babes', and cannot swallow milk or pablum.
When pablum is too chewy to be edible for some, what are they to be fed? They cannot be fed...
The disciples were fed meat and found that hard to digest. 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. The meat of the crucifixion was meat... and they were only up to pablum... so the meat was un-chewable...
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. The 'meat' offered to them was too tough to chew, they needed 'pablum'.
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. They did not truly "hear" Him. The false doctrines, the wrong expectations, and the misconceptions, had made the 'meat' too hard to eat, and they were kept on the feeding of pablum.
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 needed a sermon of pablum, for the meat in the sermon there on the mountain was too tough to chew...
Well, we are on the other side of those events, they have happened, and we have chewed their truths, and learned from them... hopefully!
What of the ones who cannot even now understand the truths of the way of salvation, the desire of God for us to be sanctified, the plan of God to redeem a church that is without spot nor wrinkle??? What do we do, when even pablum lessons now cannot be comprehended, are rejected upon first bit, and spit up as though it were vomit? What do we do about those?
We intercede for mercy!
Paul says that ‘in the Lord, I insist and protest...’
As we see some who are not on meat, and who even choke on pablum, we too want to 'insist and protest'. It is not popular when we do.
How often do ministers today, in the Lord, insist and protest?
There are some who do insist ‘in greed’ and insist that some send them a large offering, and they claim to be doing it ‘in the Lord’. Their jet planes, three mansions or more, multiple luxury cars are testimony too often to their ‘laying up treasures on earth’, which does not sound like the Lord’s direction given in the Word of God.
In our day, many 'insist and protest' the ungodly living is all right, claiming it does not matter any more if we are righteous, holy, pure, and Christ-like.
Paul was 'insisting and protesting' that opposite.
There are many who suggest, encourage, and offer advice, but Paul, guided by the Spirit of God here, is INSISTING, and PROTESTING.
Ephesians 4:17-19 (MOFF)
17 Now in the Lord I insist and protest that you must give up living like pagans; for their purposes are futile,
18 their intelligence is darkened, they are estranged from the life of God by the ignorance which their dullness of heart has produced in them
19 men who have recklessly abandoned themselves to sensuality, with a lust for the business of impurity in every shape and form.
Some Christian circles are living like "pagans", their "intelligence is darkened", and they are 'estranged from God.'
The ‘pagan’ influence in that time was very great. The society had instilled in many now Christian, a culture of futility, of depravity, and of evil.
Today, we live in society of perverseness and evil also.
Story lines on the cinemas are proclaiming that homosexuality is moral, that abortion is wise, that sexual license is holiness, that perverseness and iniquity are normal.
Simon magus preached the same immorality, sexual license, and called it holiness.
What is the result? Their ‘intelligence is darkened’, they are ‘estranged from the life of God’ and they are ‘ignorant’ due to the ‘dullness of heart’ that the devil’s crowd has produced in them.
Note the King James translation of that passage:
Ephesians 4:17-32 (KJV)
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
The ‘vanity’ or ‘worthlessness’ of the mind in many today is evident. The thoughts and concerns of people today is too much on things not Godly. They worry over the stock market, they fret their sports team record, they are concerned the lawn service may miss getting the June bugs. The souls of their loved ones may hang in precarious jeopardy, the church may be not seeing any revival or move of the Holy Spirit, the political decisions are based on economics and not on morals and ethics. Their minds may be filled with pornography, their mouths may be condoning abortion and perversions, instead of the Word of God.
This ‘vanity of their mind’ has brought about a ‘darkened’ view of life, and they are blind to what God wants them to know and to do. They cannot even feed on pablum, their are unfeedable, headed to judgment from God, and are totally unaware of their decadent state.
The ‘blindness of their heart’ is a major problem in our day, as it was in Paul’s. They are blind to the fact that they are not 'Christ-like' in any way. They are blind to their spiritual starvation, for they cannot swallow milk, pablum, or meat.
Like Paul, I will INSIST AND PROTEST...
The pablum should not be our forever diet and menu, we need to mature to a 'meat' level.
How do we do this???
Acts 2:42-43 (KJV)
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
When the early church began to minister to this world, they preached, and signs and wonders followed. The result was ‘fear’ came upon all. Why would a rousing sermon, a miracle or ten, make people fear? We do not see that reaction now very often, and perhaps the church has been giving spiritual tranquilizers, or sedatives to the world to remove the ‘fear’ that the gospel message is supposed to arouse.
We need to see if we are spreading the gospel correctly, for the people need the miracles, the salvations, the finding of Jesus at least as much now as then.
As we do preach the gospel, continue in what the Word of God instructs of us, we do grow in holy reverent fear of an awesome God we learn to know personally.
Note here what brought about the ‘fear’ in all of the people.
1. It says that they ‘continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine’. Apostolic teaching, the simple salvation through Jesus is necessary to our mission.
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Certainly, we see many who are strayed from that message. There are many trite, mundane, superficial, politically correct, back patting, messages being preached, that do not cause or engender a ‘fear’.
2. They had a fellowship amidst the church. Often, today, churches are arranged so that one can come and go, and never be very noticed. A handshake at the door has replaced other fellowships. Only the desirable patrons are encouraged to enter in to the other areas of the church. Therefore the needy, the down and out, the hardened and crusty, and the worldly looking ones are ignored, looked down upon, and seldom feel welcome at any times of church fellowship.
1 John 1:2-3 (KJV)
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
The message of Jesus that we are to preach is to end with their ‘fellowship’ with Jesus, and with ‘us’. Yet, many churches have lost this true idea of Christian fellowship.
3. The ‘breaking of bread’ spoken of in that passage, refers to what we often call communion.
Acts 20:7 (KJV)
7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
They ‘broke bread’, took from the cup of communion, remembering Jesus’ death on the cross for us. The whole ‘body of Christ’ (the church) was to examine themselves, and make sure they were right with Christ, and the other members of the body. Then, as we see in Acts 20:7, there was a sermon. In that case it was a long sermon. That kind of worship and gatherings happened on Sunday, and most of us still worship on Sunday. Unfortunately, the communion times have become shallow traditions, lacking any real meaning, sometimes subjugated to a chosen few, and seldom bringing any real heart-searching examinations. With the watered down services of today, many churches are not inspiring any ‘fear’ amidst themselves or the community.
One part of our growing to be able to handle the deeper aspects of Christian living, is the proper use of 'breaking bread', i.e. communion.