Spoiled For Anything Else 6th July
Spoiled For Anything Else 6th July
After preaching last week – I have found myself thinking about this spiritual battle we live fighting and the whole thing of truth – the belt of truth girding our waist as the first and most important weapon in our armory. But remember when Jesus was before Pilate :--
Jn 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
What is truth? Pilate’s question is very challenging because he was implying that the Jews also believed they were telling the truth – so how could he possibly know? Pilate was ignorant of the truth Jesus was speaking of, it is spiritually discerned. Just like the Apostle Paul – a zealous and religious man, extremely well educated and trained in all Jewish tradition and the law - enforcing the truth he believed – then he met Jesus and True Truth broke the scales from His eyes.
2 Co 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
I have begun to see that in our Pentecostalism we have somehow allowed scales to form upon the eyes of our hearts. – You know Paul was a very clever and learned man – but in all his learning and knowledge of Judaism he was blinded to the very truth he was searching to find – his religion, fervour and zeal did not give him truth – he had all the practice of the most pious Jew yet he was still lost and dying in his sin – thinking he had the truth -- until the truth broke him down.
I think we can be like this in our longing for the Holy Spirit – we have knowledge and teaching, we have some experience and we have a lot of examples portrayed to us on TV, ministries, meetings and conferences – but are we being transformed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord and what does that really mean? Our glory? the glory of Christ? Some sort of glory in the church? What if what we have seen as an example is more about the glory of man than the Truth of Christ?
Our understanding of Christianity has become more humanistic and man centred than it is God and Christ centred and therefore our very seeking after the Holy Spirit is for us, for our sakes and our ministry and comfort and power and somehow now even our entertainment!! Though we KNOW the Holy Spirit is God – we don’t think of Him as we think of God – though He is the Spirit of Christ we don’t think of Him in those terms – so the truth we gird our waists with is a very thin belt!
Please bear with me a little as I try to share with you what I am desperate to know and live myself. Don’t you think there has to be more than this to Christianity? More than what we live and experience? – I don’t mean power, manifestations and gifts - I mean zeal and faith and a belief so compelling and captivating that we express it just by getting up in the mornings! I mean a belief in God that declares He is!! That declares Christ is alive and real, not outwardly but in our hearts!
I want to be captivated and motivated and eaten up with zeal for My Father’s House! I want to be so enamoured with God, with His Majesty and Glory, His Holiness and Sovereign Uncreated Being that I will not even think of rugby or sport or recreation – not because of what I might get from God but simply because He is God! – Oh church I really hate this life sometimes – I find myself weeping often as I look at this society around us – I seem to live on the verge of emotion ---
Emotion over the strangest things – and I have found myself asking God what is this for? Why am I moved over this --- and I realize that my emotion is not for the worlds sin, not even their pain –
though that tears at my heart – But my emotion seems to be more about my own lack of gratitude to the God who called me out of darkness – sometimes I am so ashamed at my own apathy and self righteousness – looking at the brokenness of humanity I have times of being overwhelmed with a sense of His Magnificence, His Glory – God is! And He is all seeing and All knowing – and then I think why am I not living a life dedicated to Him every moment? It doesn’t make sense.?
What else is there of any value in this whole existence when compared to what we know about God? What can possibly be more important or significant or deserving of my adoration and worship than this only God of all Creation who has revealed Himself to me? God the One God who fills all and is in all – who has revealed Himself to me by Grace – and I somehow seem to think I am important – I feel so ashamed – not condemned – but ungrateful and shallow I think?
I don’t mean this to sound negative and depressed it isn’t – but something is searching out my heart! For years I have prayed to be holy, to be used of God, to be empowered, anointed and all manner of things – I have prayed that Jesus would truly be central in my life, and then when God said lay everything down I did not doubt – but it has been different to what I maybe expected and yet today I know this is God’s way – we must decrease so that Jesus is increased. (So opposite)
Is 44:6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.
Mal 3:6“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Ro 11:36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Is 48:11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.
God is God alone – only God, uncreated, glorious and altogether indescribably from everlasting God. There is no other being like God, all other things are created and lesser than God. Everything that was made, that IS made is for God and by God and to God – in fact everything that is, is about God and an expression of God – everything is so that Creation might see and know His Glory – which is the essence of who He is – all things are for His own sake!
Man is a created being – this whole creation does not have man at its centre – God is the centre of all things and His glory, His own only God-ness, is the single most important and significant thing to God because it is the only uncreated perfection. There is nothing that is more important to God than His own glory. He will not, He cannot, share this glory with another because every other thing is created and cannot contain His glory.
Even as I try to preach this I know I will fail because God is not a man and I am and I can’t convey God! God is above and we are beneath, God is Holy and holiness is not sinlessness, it is the very character of God uncreated – so our quest for holiness is a quest to be transformed from glory to glory into the image of Christ – for us that means repenting from sin, turning away – but God IS Holy – it is not sinlessness because God has never sinned nor can He sin He is God.
See we have made man the centre of Gods universe – but God must be the centre because it is from Him and to Him all things exist. If only we could grasp the God-ness and Majesty of God Uncreated and Holy – church He is so glorious and marvellous and God! – Every morning when you wake up God is! and He fills all and all – every night when you go to bed He remains the same, unchanging God – and our God is a consuming fire!
Please hear this – the ONLY thing – the ONLY thing that stops God from consuming us is His Grace without this Grace we would be dead and dying in our sins.
Is 53:3-5 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Is 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
You know even this, the most precious of all things known to man – the Cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God we place man in the centre of – we take “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” and we twist it so that we become the centre of Gods plan – that this is about man and Gods need for us. – But we didn’t put Christ to the Cross, it was not us who killed Him – it was not the Romans or the Jews – it was God, it was for Gods glory – Jesus was smitten by God!
1 Jn 4:9-10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- \\ Col 1:19-20* For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Mankind did not ask for a Saviour, we didn’t even cry out to God – lost in our sin and plummeting towards death we basked in depravity not even knowing what it was. Can you see, that mankind lost in his sinful and wicked ways, with every imagination of His heart only wicked continually didn’t even know about Christ – ignorant and perverted by every manner of idolatry and lust, mankind rushed towards eternal damnation – but it Pleased God – it Pleased the Father to bruise Him! –
God for His own sake and the sake of His glory, gave His only Son – it was God who gave Him, God who sent Him, God who crushed Him for His own glory – that we might know His glory – Church can you see and understand this – the Cross is not a sign or symbol of the great value and worth of mankind to God – think about this, we are created beings, fallen and broken and totally self absorbed – we did not seek for God and we didn’t even know we needed Him – but God is LOVE,
And in His Love, and for His love, and for His own Name and glories sake, God sent His only Son and it pleased God to crush Him – to smite Him for us! – Can you see that the Cross is not a sign of the great value of man – it is a sign of our great depravity – it is a sign of our ever present residing evil – the Cross is a sign that we are so evil the only way God could offer us salvation was by crushing His Son with the full force of the wrath that was due to me – and you!! This is Gods glory!
Is 64:6-7 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities.
I truly do not believe we understand the enormity of our sinfulness – the total depravity of mankind without God – in fact even in Christ that nature remains – if it were not for Christ, for the fact that God smote Him for us – if it were not that Jesus took the wrath we deserved and deserve still! Isn’t it an amazing thing – an ability of our minds that we can think because God has smitten Christ for us and that He has become our righteousness that we are somehow no longer sinners!
Do you know we need that cross everyday of our lives – we are just as dependent upon Jesus Christ now as we have ever been. You know Jesus died for all who will come to Him – He died for the unsaved and wretched souls of the lost – the only difference between them and us is GRACE – all our righteousness is as filthy rags – unclean and deserving to be outside the camp! All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – there is not one who hasn’t and doesn’t!
But you see that is His Glory – Gods glory is not some shadow, some material thing that we can claim to see like gold dust or jewels – Gods glory is His indescribably magnificent grace to us in Jesus Christ – the expression of His Character is His Glory -- we didn’t even ask for it or cry out or call Him – He chose us! Gods ways are not our ways , His thoughts are not our thoughts – but if we could see it, the very giving of Christ is an expression of who God is!!
Jn 16:13-14 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
1 Pe 4:14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
This is the Holy Spirit we are seeking to know and follow and be filled with – He is an exact and absolute expression of the Glory of God from before everlasting – He is the Spirit of Glory who will glorify Christ.!! He is wonderful and Very God of Very God – How we must grieve Him simply by our lack of reverence and understanding (that’s my fault for not preaching etc.) –
Gods glory was in His giving the Cross – without our asking or seeking or crying out – His Glory thought the Cross, prepared the Cross, Gave His Son, No COST to you or me – Jesus sweat great drops of the blood of His anguish in the Garden because Gods glory demanded such perfect sacrifice, in fact the only thing that would be sufficient to appease the righteous wrath of the Only God had to be as glorious as He is – nothing else would do!
This is Our God – one day we are going to meet Him face to face – you know we even think of heaven in humanistic ways – our reward, our crown, our place, mansions and streets of gold, meeting various people – in fact one of those blasphemies that talks about meeting and talking with the Apostle Paul in his cabin – but God is in heaven – God is there – this God of all glory and honour that no one has seen and lived – God is in heaven! Nothing else will matter will it??
Re 4:9-11 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Can you see that this God is so Holy, so Glorious, so indescribably Majestic that the very crown of life, the crown of our joy, the crown of our reward is nothing! It is empty and without VALUE in the light of the glory of The Most High God – and we will cast it down before Him seeing that it cannot compare. The reward is God Himself and His uncovered GLORY – then we will know Christ and understand the magnificence of His Sacrifice – this is what He gave up for you and me –
Jn 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.