Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On This Rock- Part 1

There is a desire that we have: to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. There are many teachings and doctrines in churches around the country, and around the world. But that knowledge puffs us up many times, and it causes us to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. It is not what we know. It is what we do. It’s really an hour that we’re coming in to, as we’ve been studying, where we need to look around and identify the true body of Christ: those who are our brothers and sisters in the Lord, universal, whether they are on another continent or here in our country. We’ve shared that understanding very clearly. Not everybody who names the name of Jesus is a brother or is a believer. We’ve talked about a very, very strong spirit in the age we’re looking at, and we called it "antinomianism." They are people who oppose the law of God. Another way to look at it is that they oppose the authority of God. God and His Word are one; amen? This is not only the truth of God [holds up Bible]; it’s the authority of God. The Word of God is alive, and it’s powerful. It’s a judge. It discerns between the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. We know that it does not only have the power to infuse and illuminate the soul; the power of salvation comes through the gospel. Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

We know to have an audience with God, and to take His Word into our hearts is to be infused with faith. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). We know that it’s a lamp unto our feet. We shared in a teaching not too long ago, that much of the church has the wrong perception of the law of God. We realize that the law of God is holy, and it’s just, and it’s good; amen? The only ones who really don’t like law are the lawless, because the law has come to be good for us. It holds anarchy at bay. The law of God brings about justice. People look at it, and they perceive it to be different than it really is. How many of you have heard people refer to the Old Testament, especially to Judaism, and they talk about how hard a religion it is. It is an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. That’s not hard. That’s mercy. Do you know that Israel and the Middle East are not practicing "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" right now? They didn’t practice "a little scud missile, and shoot a little scud missile back." They went and "kicked their tails"; amen? God is saying, "Don’t knock a guy’s head off, but there is just recompense."

I’m sharing those things to share that it’s tragic in this day. The Word of God is the mirror that we hold up to determine whether or not we are Christlike. It is the lamp that sets the course for us and illuminates our path. It is the revealed justice of God, and it has been set aside for what secularists call "existentialism." As Pastor Tony taught a couple of sessions ago, it is what Christians begin to call "conscience." I want to tell you something. Nothing that originates in man can exalt itself against the revelation of God’s Word. Let God be true and every man a liar. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Now, we say, "Amen! We believe that." And we all do believe that as doctrine. It is the same Word of God that we carry. It is the truth of God, and it is the mind of God. It is not only the will of God as it relates to His creatures, but it is the will of God as it relates to His bride, His church, and the manifestation of His kingdom on earth. We’re supposed to pray as believers. What is the first prayer that most Christians learn? It is: "...Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. [Say it with me.] Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9-10). We pray that, and we should believe that. The problem is that we have a lot of trouble reconciling it. Because, if we pray, "Thy will be done in earth [that includes America], as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10), we’re going to have trouble merging democracy and totalitarianism. Jesus is Lord; amen? That is true, whether you vote for Him or not. Jesus is Lord, whether you recognize His lordship or not. In the final day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father; amen?

Do you see? We seem to think our opinion matters. As it relates to the Word of God, to the lordship of Jesus, and to the expression of the will of God in His kingdom and in His church, your opinion doesn’t matter. What you think doesn’t matter. We asked a question in the session the other night. Some of you may remember it: how many rights does a slave have? Are we or are we not the servants, the slaves, of the Most High? Is Jesus Lord? Yes! In His lordship, aren’t you thankful that He’s called us friends, heirs, and joint heirs, and that He’s made us His bride and His beloved? He calls us His body, and all of us members in particular. He placed us in the body as it pleases Him, and it is orchestrated by His headship. Yet many of us think we have the luxury of interpreting the mind of God from our position as a member rather than His revelation as head. I’ll say that again, because we didn’t get that. Somehow, we seem to think, as a finger, a little toe, or whatever we might be, that we know. We begin to operate outside the sphere of our responsibility. This great mystery called the church and the body of Christ is being orchestrated by the Head, the lordship of Jesus, and the order He’s established for His church: gifts that Ephesians speaks of in Chapter 4. We’re going to look at it in just a moment. These are used to orchestrate. They are the representatives of His lordship. They are not equal with those that are under or subordinate, but they are representation of the Head, the Chief Shepherd. They are not figureheads, politicians, or psychologists. They are, in fact, to be under-shepherds, and the revelation and representation of the lordship of Jesus. "Those who have heard you have heard Me," Jesus said to those whom He sent in His name. Jesus said, "If they reject you, they reject Me." We know it another way in the thirteenth chapter of Romans, and we realize the powers that be are ordained of God. If you resist the power, you resist the ordinance of God.

Remain blessed

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